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The Biopact aims to use the potential for the production of bioenergy in the developing world, and most notably in sub-Saharan Africa, as a lever to create a new development paradigm in which access to energy, energy security and sustainability play key roles.
For too long, energy has been marginalised by development agencies from the North and by states in the South. It is however rapidly becoming one of the most crucial topics in discussions on development, because rising energy prices prove to be a heavy burden on the economies of the least developed countries. Moreover, climate change will affect these societies in an even stronger way, which is why efforts to mitigate global warming must be sped up.
Investing in bioenergy precisely offers a chance for the developing world to tackle both issues at once: it allows them to leapfrog beyond the climate damaging fossil fuel-based development parcours, and into a secure, sustainable and oil-independent future based on the exploitation of local biomass resources.
But a number of high barriers exist that make it difficult for developing countries to initiate such an energy transition. This is why we think the European Union must play a key role in this process. The Biopact therefor tries to make a case for a joint initiative on renewable energy, in which the EU couples its own development, economic and energy policies to those of sub-Saharan Africa, with bioenergy forming the core. Investing in bioenergy production can be a catalyst for speeding up much needed investments in basic (energy and transport) infrastructure, agriculture and industrial development.
It would be idealistic to expect this vision to be realised anywhere soon. But a large number of existing initiatives already go in the same direction. It is a matter of tilting them slightly towards a more coherent set of policies.
The Biopact aims to contribute to this process by:
2006, Biopact, all rights reserved
"Traditional industrial development pathways, that did not take into explicit consideration the issue of energy technologies to be utilized, now imperil development prospects around the world. As oil supplies approach their peak globally, and energy security becomes a major issue, so developing countries have everything to lose by simply following fossil-fuel based industrialization, and everything to gain by recasting their development strategies around the prospects for renewable energies and biofuels."
A Biofuels Manifesto