Too high a price for the poor and climate? The World Bank’s energy access programme in Myanmar

Currently at 44 percent, Myanmar has the lowest rate of access to electricity in Southeast Asia and is on the list of 20 countries with the highest energy deficits in the world. Although some progress has been made in recent years, more than 35 million people still have no access to electricity in Myanmar. The same poor communities that desperately need access to energy are also the most vulnerable to climate change impacts. For the well-being of poor communities, energy access goals and climate goals are inextricably linked.

With this in mind, the government of Myanmar and the World Bank Group (WBG) are both committed to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal 7 (or SDG7), which includes universal access to affordable, sustainable energy and substantially increasing the share of renewables in the final global energy mix by 2030. In addition, both Myanmar and the WBG are committed to the goals of the UN Paris Climate Agreement (December 2015), which include to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5°C and to make financial flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas (GHG) development.

The following paper reviews the adequacy of WBG contributions towards assisting Myanmar to achieve universal sustainable energy access by 2030 and the Paris Agreement climate goals.

This paper is published by Bank Information Center Europe, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Hivos, and SaNaR (Save the Natural Resource).