UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Thursday outlined plans at the Rio+20 summit to provide universal access to energy by 2030, with tens of billion of dollars in funding from business and investors.
The initiative aims to ensure universal access to clean and efficient energy for 1.3 billion people in more than 50 developing countries from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Small Island developing states.
It also seeks to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
"Achieving sustainable energy for all is not only possible, but necessary," Ban said. "It is the golden thread that connects development, social inclusion and environmental protection."
Kandeh Yumkella, head of UNIDO, the UN agency that promotes industrial development, told a briefing at the Rio+20 summit on sustainability, that this would mean possibly "zero instead of two million deaths every year, most of them women and children because they inhale smoke indoor air pollution."
"It means we are going to liberate women who spend 20 hours a week collecting firewood or water, come back home, cook and poison themselves," said Yumkella, who is also co-chair the UN's High-Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All.
He added that corporations and investors have committed over $50 billion dollars to fund the scheme.
The UN said said Washington plans to commit $2 billion in grants, while Brazil has pledged to invest $4.3 billion to achieve universal energy access in Brazil by 2014.
Funding to the tune of more than $30 billion is also coming from multilateral development banks such as the African Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the world body said.
Explore further: Fueled by oil, agriculture sector welcomes low diesel prices