HL Deb 20 October 1981 vol 424 cc747-8WA
Lord Brockway

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What were the conclusions of the United Nations Conference on new sources of energy, held in Nairobi in August; how many nations attended; and what contribution to the discussions was made by the British delegation.

Lord Skelmersdale

The Nairobi Conference agreed, by consensus, to adopt a programme of action to foster the use of new and renewable sources of energy. In this context it agreed that:

  • —countries must adapt to a transition away from the current major dependence on oil towards other sources of energy:
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  • —new and renewable sources of energy should make a significant contribution, although that should not be overstated in the short term; developing countries would still need access to conventional sources:
  • —national programmes, drawn up by Governments, for developing new and renewable sources of energy were of primary importance; also important was the role of the private sector:
  • —the objectives of the programme should be to strengthen international co-operation for the promotion of research and development and the transfer of technology: and
  • —a programme should be implemented calling for action in five priority areas: energy assessment and planning; information flows; research, development and demonstration; the transfer, adaptation and application of routine technology; and education and training.
Official delegates from 125 member states attended the conference, as well as representatives from a large number of international organisations and nongovernmental bodies. The United Kingdom made a number of specific contributions to the conference. A national paper was prepared, setting out our approach to the use of renewables in the United Kingdom; a directory of United Kingdom expertise in the field was produced and distributed; and an exhibition was mounted, showing the United Kingdom's experience in new and renewable energy, with special reference to the needs of developing countries. In the conference itself, the British delegation played a prominent part in the discussions leading up to the adoption of the programme of action, and Mr. David Howell made a speech on behalf of the United Kingdom and, by virtue of our presidency, on behalf of the Community as a whole, in which he announced that £2 million of the United Kingdom's aid funds had been earmarked for energy planning and resource assessment in developing countries.