The Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) of the World Bank launched an Energy Subsidy Reform and Delivery Technical Assistance Facility to support countries as they design and implement energy subsidy reform programs. Involving close collaboration with key stakeholders such as government ministries, think tanks, and civil society organizations, this multi-year initiative offers countries financing for comprehensive technical assistance on issues related to subsidy reform, including:
• Analysis of the poverty, social, fiscal, macroeconomic, political economy, and climate change aspects of subsidy reform
• Assessment of distributional impacts of subsidies at the household and macroeconomic levels
• Support for policy dialogue, consultations, communications strategies, and consensus building
• Support for improving the targeting and delivery of subsidies, including through technology-enhanced approaches
• Design and implementation of subsidy reform approaches, energy pricing frameworks, transition plans, energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions, and suitable social protection and other mitigation mechanisms
The Facility also supports knowledge exchange, encouraging peer learning on both diagnostics and solutions among client countries and at the international level.
During the 2014 Knowledge Exchange Forum held in Copenhagen, Denmark, ESMAP organized “Strategies in Energy Subsidy Reform: Learning from Global Experiences.” This is the first global conference as part of the knowledge sharing efforts of the Facility. The objective of this one day event was to foster engagement among countries on challenges and lessons learned from past reforms.
The effort geared towards helping country practitioners identify: (i) priority actions; (ii) key operational challenges; and (iii) capacity gaps. The event also explored ways the Facility can help World Bank client countries, in terms of knowledge resources and potential collaboration opportunities among donors and countries.
Sessions included panel discussions on: (i) energy pricing strategies; (ii) social protection strategies; and (iii) political economy and communication strategies. A networking session allowed for an informal dialogue among participants on challenges faced, solutions available and support needed by countries. During the final brainstorming session, the audience was encouraged to raise critical challenges that their countries are facing in designing or implementing reforms. A panel of experts responded to the challenges raised in an interactive dialogue moderated by the facilitator.