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Preface

The Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC) proposed an ambitious goal to ensure universal access to modern energy services by 2030. Lack of access to sustainable, affordable, reliable energy has been recognised as a key constraint in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This, combined with the urgent need to reduce GHG emissions globally, provides the impetus for prioritising the use of low-carbon energy technologies alongside energy efficiency measures.

Modern bioenergy has the potential to make an important contribution to rural development and poverty alleviation. It can do so by increasing access to safe and sustainable energy in poorly served areas while opening up new employment and business opportunities that may change lives for the better. Bioenergy can be a particularly potent tool for developing countries seeking to develop along a low-carbon growth path with increased energy security.

Bioenergy currently makes up some 14% of global energy supply, and the production of modern bioenergy for heat, electricity and transport is growing rapidly worldwide, not least due to an increasing number of governments implementing supportive policies and measures. However, as any energy source, bioenergy comes with a number of environmental and social risks that need to be addressed, for example those related to biodiversity, water, food secu-rity and land tenure. To ensure that potential benefits from bioenergy development materialize and potential risks are minimized, government authorities and decision-makers at national, regional and local levels need to make choices, both in bioenergy strategy development and decisions on promotion and licensing of investment options. These choices should be made based on science and with the aim of using resources efficiently. Meeting all policy

objectives equally may not be possible, and trade-offs for different objectives might be necessary.

We are pleased to present this new Bioenergy Decision Support Tool. UN-Energy aims to assist countries in creat-ing responsible decision-making processes that manage risks and challenges in a transparent and effective manner. The Tool proposes step-wise guidance for both the strategy formulation and the investment decision-making processes, and offers a repository of technical resources and links to existing tools, guidelines and information resources.

Putting into place clear frameworks helps create a more sustainable bioenergy sector, stable investment climates, and ultimately helping achieve the goal of energy access from sustainable and low carbon sources.

Kandeh Yumkella,

Director General UNIDO and Chair UN Energy

Jacques Diouf Director General FAO

Achim Steiner Executive Director UNEP

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