The European Union vowed fresh funds Monday to help developing nations provide sustainable energy to 500 million people by 2030.
"Today, while one part of the planet lives in the digital era and in the times of digital communication, the other part has still no access to basic electricity, power or energy," said European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.
"Being in the dark every day is the tragic reality of 1.3 billion people in the world today."
Speaking at a sustainable energy summit attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Barroso pledged 50 million euros ($65 million) over two years for technical assistance and said EU nations would seek hundreds of millions of euros more to support investments in sustainable energy for developing countries.
"With today's strong pledge that we will assist developing countries in providing energy access for 500 million people by 2030, we are demonstrating our own commitment and hope that others will join us in making sure that by 2030, energy access is no longer a privilege but the right of all."
The UN chief welcomed what he described as "a very ambitious initiative" in the run-up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio in June.
The United Nations estimates that one in five people lives without access to electricity.