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Sustainable Energy for Displaced People
 Q2 2020

UNDP has worked with the women and youth to develop micro-grid businesses to help electrify their communities one home and business at a time. Photo: UNDP Yemen

UNDP Yemen wins acclaimed international Ashden Awards for Humanitarian Energy

A United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Yemen project won the Humanitarian Energy Ashden Award for addressing solar power needs and providing solutions and hope for three frontline conflict communities in Yemen. The Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen (ERRY) Project addresses two major issues for the communities of Hajjah and Lahj: access to affordable and sustainable energy and providing sustainable income to Yemen's most vulnerable population, women and youth. Cutting the cost of energy by 65 per cent, UNDP has worked with the women and youth to train, develop and manage micro-grid businesses to help electrify their communities one home and business at a time. The project has helped 2,100 people gain access to disposable income and 10,000 people with access to sustainable energy.

To learn more about the project, watch the Ashden Award video announcement and find the press release online here.

Photo credit: UNDP Yemen


$1.40 to $1.70

Improved access to energy creates positive long-term effects that can significantly outweigh the spend on energy itself. Every potential dollar spent on greater energy access represents a value of $1.40 to $1.70 from employment, improved health, productivity, time saving and, through replacing diesel generators with solar energy, environmental benefits. Full report here.
Spotlight on our partners

RVO and DCHI: Launch of the 2020 Humanitarian Accelerator Programme (HAP)

The Access to Modern Energy programme of RVO and DCHI provides the perfect means to get into action around Humanitarian Energy. In support of SDG7, universal access to energy, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and Dutch Coalition for Humanitarian Innovation enable innovation and collaboration for humanitarian organisations. At a global level these issues raise high on the programming agenda with the Global Plan of Action for Sustainable Energy Solutions in Situations of Displacement (GPA) and the Clean Energy Challenge launched by UNHCR at the first Global Refugee Forum in December 2019.

The 2020 programme aims to outline opportunities for impact and find new ways to collaborate with private and development partners for access to modern energy and to support the energy transition in fragile contexts. The 2020 programme is now open to all humanitarian organisations with an office located in The Netherlands. Discover more details here and email for more information.

NORCAP and Boston Consulting Group (BCG): Upcoming Virtual Report Launch Event
On September 1st, NORCAP will be launching the report “EmPowering Africa's Most Vulnerable”, in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
The report is the main result of a series of interviews conducted with stakeholders across the humanitarian, development, peace and energy sectors, including governments, donors, international organisations, NGOs, the private sector. It assesses the impact of clean energy on displaced and host communities in Africa; presents a potential deployment scenario of clean energy solutions; and identifies recommendations for stakeholders to accelerate clean energy deployment.
The report will go live with a 2-hour presentation and talkshow. Participants will have also the opportunity to exchange opinions and ask questions during an interactive working group discussion. For more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to Rebeca Solis.

Clean Energy Challenge Update
In December 2019, UNHCR launched it as a multi-stakeholder challenge for humanitarian, development and energy sectors to come together and work toward universal energy access for the people living in a displacement settings by 2030. Three key workstreams around data collection, finance and project pipeline development have been identified to structure Challenge activities in 2020. In order to connect the group, the Challenge Marketplace was set up and is open for project developers and resource providers to connect around concrete project opportunities. Reach out to us to learn more about the Marketplace by contacting Aimee Jenks.

Follow our update on the progress in 2020 and how to get involved in the challenge and learn more about the UNHCR Global Sustainable Energy Strategy and the Clean Energy Challenge, on the blog online here

News from the GPA Partnership
COVID-19 update
The COVID-19 situation has become a huge threat to the vulnerable populations such as refugees, migrants, and internally displaced people (IDPs). Crowded conditions, severely limited healthcare, lack of access to information, and depleted humanitarian budgets all raise the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Read the news from Clean Cooking Alliance.

Access a variety of resources on Energy sphere related to COVID-19 situation developed by the Smart Communities Coalition (SCC). The GPA briefing note on COVID-19 is available here. If you require support on issues related to energy, please feel free to reach-out to us.
GPA Webinars - Sharing Lessons Learned

Our latest GPA webinars focused on sharing lessons learned from sustainable energy projects for humanitarian health systems and WASH programming. In addition, colleagues from UNHCR, IOM, OCHA and WFP shared their experiences from clean cooking programmes in Bangladesh, Burundi and Sudan

Stay tuned for our next webinar on 12 September where we will hear from UNDP, Nuru Energy, and ICRC about micro and mini-grid implementation in conflict affected communities. Registration will be posted online here shortly. 

We aim to host future webinars as demanded by the GPA Community. Please feel free to share with us any requests for future webinars by filling out this form.
Data Alignment Workshops

To support the build-up of energy data within the humanitarian sector, the Global Plan of Action Coordination Unit (GPA) and Chatham House have been working with humanitarian sector partners to outline the types of energy indicators that can lay the ground for a harmonised data collection and analysis in forced displacement settings.

The team (led by Chatham House, GPA CU and UNITAR, UNHCR) mapped the core indicators for global data and project-level data. A series of one-to-one consultations with GPA partners, Working Group members and other relevant stakeholders took place to gather initial feedback on the proposed indicators, shaping the outputs which were then presented and discussed during workshops 1a (Indicators for Measuring Energy Access on Global Level) and 1b (Key Indicators and Data for Energy Programme Design).

To participate in the on-going consultation and share your feedback, please see and comment on this document or get in touch on Iwona Bisaga ( and Jonathan Archimi (


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What's new in humanitarian energy?
Solar Plant Implemented in Malakal Humanitarian Hub, South Sudan
A groundbreaking solar hybrid plant project was recently completed by Scatec Solar in Malakal, South Sudan to power the humanitarian hub run by the International Organisation for Migration. On top of supplying reliable and affordable energy, the plant cuts 80% of diesel use. Read more about the project, online here.
Smart Communities Coalition
For all things humanitarian energy in Kenya and Uganda, check out the latest 2020 Q1-Q2 newsletter published by the Smart Communities Coalition (SCC).

In order to accelerate the model of public-private co-design and co-implementation of programs in humanitarian contexts, the SCC and PowerAfrica have just announced the launch of the SCC Innovation Fund. The first funding window focuses on access to modern energy services, providing support to entrepreneurs, companies, social enterprises, microfinance institutions, NGOs and consortiums to expand their delivery chains and bring innovative solutions to displaced populations including refugee camps, settlements and host communities in refugee-hosting areas. Stay tuned for the call for proposals to be announced in September 2020. 

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to the SCC team at

GIZ - Tackling Solar E-Waste in Displacement Settings
Improving access to energy and increasing the use of renewable energy systems for electricity in displacement settings will lead to an increase in electronic waste (E-waste) in those surroundings where the disposal of growing waste volumes is already an issue. In order to mitigate this issue, the SUN-ESDS programme implemented by GIZ is launching a cross-organisational technical working group: Solar E-waste Reduction in Displacement Settings. Read more about the work online here, and for further information, contact: Natalie Rzehak.
New Report: Access to more: creating energy choices for Refugees
We are very pleased to share with you the final report “Access to more: creating energy choices for refugees” developed by Shell, Dalberg Advisors and Vivid Economics.
Providing energy choices for displaced people is far too complex a challenge for one country, community or company to solve. This report outlines how humanitarian agencies, governments and the private sector can collaborate to improve how refugees and their host communities access energy. The new insights in the report are complimented with practical ways to improve collaboration between ecosystem actors such that effective private sector engagement can be made possible.
Read the report online here: “Access to more: creating energy choices for refugees”
ILF’s new handbook
International Lifeline Fund (ILF) developed a quick guide for practitioners and funders, building from the collective learnings and experiences of Lifeline’s team throughout 15+ years of work in post-conflict, displacement, and emerging market settings in Uganda, Burundi, Haiti, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Darfur.  This guide is part of a series is intended to share practical tools for funders and implementers to identify risks, avoid common mistakes, and ultimately design and implement more impactful initiatives. Link to the guide and more from ILF can be found online here.
Energy for Micro-enterprises in displacement settings – Learning and Innovation project / EnDev & Practical Action
The project will highlight good practices and lessons learned with a focus on the various key issues such as access to finance, enabling environment and policies, sustainability of energy-based micro-enterprises, training, capacity building, job creation and economic empowerment. A core working group – constituted by 16 organizations – will gather the information and produce a knowledge product to serve as an ideal reference for any organizations to operate in this area. For updates and invitation to this activity, please contact 
Ensuring Refugee Camps In Rwanda Have Access To Sustainable Energy
As part of the Renewable Energy for Refugees (RE4R) project, funded by the IKEA Foundation, Practical Action used the Total Energy Access approach to assess levels of energy access in three refugee camps in Rwanda. The result and recommendations from this assessment are available in the report.
MSF Energy Efficiency Project
MSF and ICRC are implementing a project aims to reduce the environmental footprint and financial burden due to the waste of energy in their organisations premises. They foresee that such a move by two giants of the humanitarian sector could have a knock-on effect on other organizations as well. 

More specifically, the project aims to:  (1) Identify appropriate solutions to monitor energy consumption to obtain a better understanding on how energy is used by staff in organizations’ premises, and (2) Design approaches (taking into account high turn-over of staff) that can trigger real and persistent changes in staff behaviours in ICRC and MSF premises. Watch the video and learn more about the project online here, or contact Marpe Tanaka for more information.

Upcoming events and learning opportunities

VeraSol product database
VeraSol Launches New Website and Interactive Product Database The new brings quality assurance resources for solar energy kits, off-grid appliances, and productive uses on a single platform. The website features a new interactive, open-source Product Database containing the largest collection of independently-tested and certified solar energy kits, fans, TVs, refrigerators and solar water pumps.
HEED Conference
Change of Date. The Humanitarian Engineering and Energy for Displacement (HEED) conference scheduled for Wednesday 1st July 2020 will now be held on Wednesday 4th November 2020, Coventry University, Coventry, UK.  This free one day conference will share HEED’s findings on community co-design and planning tools for sustainable energy interventions in the displaced context as well as hearing from researchers and practitioners in the humanitarian energy sector. Tickets can be obtained here.
Victron Energy
Our partners at Victron Energy are offering online trainings facilitated by industry professionals focused on solar energy. Topics included are instillation of solar systems, sizing solar PV systems for off-grid clinics and health posts, and many more. Keep up to date for future trainings online through this link, and you can view past webinar training recordings by making an account online here
What is the
Global Plan Of Action?
The Global Plan of Action for Sustainable Energy in Situations of Displacement (GPA) strives to remove barriers to energy access in humanitarian settings. The GPA framework document provides a set of recommendations for concrete actions, aiming to ensure that all refugees and displaced people enjoy safe access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy services by 2030. It promotes and contributes to the humanitarian sector's transition to renewable energy, which will increase efficiency and reduce costs and carbon emissions. Hosted by UNITAR, the GPA Coordination Unit galvanises collective action towards the GPA's realization. Our work in 2020 is outlined through the partnership strategic workplan, available online here. 
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UNITAR · Chemin des Anémones 11-13 · Châtelaine 1219 · Switzerland

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