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Document Abstract
Published: 7 Feb 2012

What are the major barriers to increased use of modern energy services among the world’s poorest people and are interventions to overcome these effective?

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This systematic review was commissioned by Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK and published by the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE). It aims to answer the questions, as part of a drive for evidence-based policy making: (i) 'What are the major barriers to increased use of modern energy services among the world’s poorest people', and (ii) 'are interventions to overcome these effective?'

The report begins with a background to modern energy service access, such as electricity. The next two sections set out the research protocol used to collect, analyse and synthesise the available evidence from academic and grey literature focused on developing countries, including BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). The search protocol included five sets of search terms relating to modern energy services, modern energy technologies, barriers, interventions, and effectiveness measures. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted. Papers were reviewed and included in the study according to a detailed set of criteria related to relevance to the topic and the quality of evidence base and foundation for conclusions. Findings and analysis from the study are detailed in sections four, while section five discusses its limitations. The results show that despite a large body of work on modern energy services, there is a highly uneven spread of coverage, mainly focused on financial barriers, limited technologies and electricity services, as well as only taking into account a small number of countries. The researchers also found a significant lack of high quality research while noting that their methods used could exclude significant amounts of evidence from the practitioner literature. The final conclusions of the study are presented in section six and state that the weakest available evidence concerns political and cultural barriers and associated interventions. The report argues that analyses of barriers and implementation of interventions should be more systemic, breaking the observations down into potential implications for policy/management and implications for research. Sections seven to 10 of the report cover final aspects, such as providing a full list of references.

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Authors

J. Watson; R. Byrne; M. Morgan Jones

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