By: Mark Leon Goldberg on April 07, 2011 A new initiative is launched today that promises to give a boost to the cause of enabling sustainable energy solutions for the developing world. From our friends at the UN Foundation. The United Nations Foundation and the inter-agency coordinating group UN-Energy, together with several leading service providers and advocates, today championed a UN effort to raise awareness about the critical importance of extending modern energy services to the billions who still lack them. Worldwide some 2.7 billion people rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating, and 1.4 billion have no access to electricity, with one billion more having access only to unreliable electricity networks. More than a hundred business and investment leaders gathered today at a Bloomberg New Energy Finance roundtable on energy access and climate finance to discuss new ways to expand energy’s reach among the world’s poorest. The event is a critical forum to connect policy advocates and investors to outline the manner in which modern energy services can be provided, and the means needed to pay for them. The year’s designation was established in a December 2010 UN General Assembly resolution and was endorsed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a speech to the World Energy Forum in Dubai earlier this year. During the year, a number of events will be held around the world to demonstrate both the need for and benefits from increasing access to energy. Throughout 2012, member states, with assistance from UN agencies, will create National Coordinating Committees to raise awareness about the issue and available solutions, and chart a course for reaching universal access by 2030 – a goal set last year by the Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change. Without electricity and fuel to power machinery and lighting there is little hope of achieving the health, education and environmental improvements set forth in the Millennium Development Goals. Read the full release.