This article presents an assessment of the effectiveness of national and international energy policies directed toward the objectives of sustainable development contained in Agenda 21. Following a brief overview of energy and transport sector trends over the past ten years, the article discusses whether and to what extent energy policies for sustainable development have impacted on poverty reduction, energy security, equitable access to energy, and transition to a more efficient and environmentally sound energy system.
The impact of policies is assessed considering that such a transition involves appropriate combinations of energy efficient technologies and usage patterns, wider use of renewable energy, and gradual induction of advanced energy technologies. The article then examines the extent to which such policies have been based on integrated assessments of the needs and priorities in economic growth, social development and environmental protection and identifies some of the main constraints and barriers hampering the implementation of energy for sustainable development. The article also examines whether decision-making processes ensure multi-stakeholder participation in policy development and support a fair sharing of commitments, responsibilities and benefits among the participating stakeholders in policy implementation. Selected case studies of policies that have made a tangible difference in promoting energy for sustainable development are outlined.
Finally the article discusses the challenges facing energy for sustainable development and discusses various options to accelerate the implementation of its goals.