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Launch of the “Developing Effective Off-Grid Lighting Policy – Guidance note for governments in Africa”

Creating favourable conditions for modern solar lighting markets can provide a low-cost solution to reducing carbon emissions, indoor air pollution and health risks, while bringing electricity to an estimated 600 million people in Africa who lack access to the power grid, .

Developing Effective Off-Grid Lighting Policy - Guidance Note for Governments in Africa , recommends best practices and smart policies enabling the market uptake of off-grid lighting solutions. It was unveiled today at the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) annual forum, which convenes private sector, governments, energy access practitioners, off-grid lighting experts, civil society and international donors to achieve the target of universal energy access by 2030.

The publication was jointly launched by UNEP, the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), and the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE).

Click here to download the publication.

Regional Workshop on Transforming Building and Transport Sectors through Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA), 5-7 May, Manila

Hosted by the Climate Change Commission of the Philippines, UNEP is organizing a three-day regional workshop on Transforming Building and Transport Sectors through Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA). This workshop will bring together more than 70 participants consisting of high-level policy makers from the energy-building and transport sectors, private sector, and selected international NAMA experts in Manila on 5-7 May 2015. This workshop aims to: (a) discuss and share potential opportunities for the transformation of the building and transport sectors in the ASEAN region, (b) share project information and respective country experiences; and (c) better understand the needs for successful development and implementation of NAMAs in the region.

This workshop is coordinated by UNEP in partnership with GIZ through the following key projects: NAMAs development for the building sector in Asia. the Southeast Asia Network of Climate Change offices, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Mitigation in the Land Transport Sector in the ASEAN Region and Towards Climate-friendly Transport Technologies and Measures.

Download UNEP's brochure on Driving Green and Energy Efficiency Buildings through NAMA Development

Ahead of Paris Climate Talks, European Cities Embrace UNEP's District Energy Initiative

Tallinn, 30 April 2015 - Eight months after governments and civil society united to catalyse global climate action at the Climate Summit 2014 in New York, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announces the regional launch of the Global District Energy in Cities Initiative to a positive reception by local and national governments, and the private sector. The capital cities of Serbia and Poland: Belgrade and Warsaw, as well as the city of Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina, signed up to the Initiative. These cities were joined by countries including Croatia.The launch of the Initiative saw the kick-off of collaboration between the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, and UNEP in the area of district energy.

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Click here to download UNEP's presentation at the 37th Euroheat & Power Congress in Tallinn, Estonia.

EU Conference on Heating and Cooling

Ligia Noronha, Director of the UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, gave a an address on 26 February 2015 at the high level opening of the EU Conference on Heating and Cooling in the EU Transition, alongside Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy. She highlighted the fact that we cannot address environmental issues if we do not address economic and financial issues. Energy efficiency, an important area of work of UNEP, should be addressed through three main entry points, namely the energy sector, the issue of competitiveness and the reduction of carbon emissions. She pleaded for policies whereby, as is the case in the EU, the supranational policy framework is linked to the national but also the local policies (triangular relationship) - something UNEP is pursuing for instance through the district energy report. UNEP and the UN looks to Europe to enhance the political will to increase and accelerate energy efficiency, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as resulting in multiple benefits. This will concretely contribute to both the post-2015 agendas, the climate and the development ones.

Southern African Utilities Adopt an Ambitious Roadmap to Switch the Region to Efficient Lighting, Appliances and Equipment

Southern Africa could reduce electricity consumption by more than 35 TWh by transforming its markets to efficient lighting, appliances and equipment, equivalent to saving 5,000 MW in power capacity.

Under the leadership of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), the Department of Energy of South Africa (DoE) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Southern African utilities, government representatives and private sector (ABB, DEFY, ICA, Osram and Philips Lighting), met on 19 and 20 February 2015 in Johannesburg at the premises of the South African utility Eskom to develop a roadmap to achieve a permanent and sustainable transition to efficient lighting, appliances and equipment in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). A number of priority actions have been identified, which, once implemented, will generate significant climate, environmental and economic benefits for the region.

On Wednesday 25 February at the SAPP Meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe, the SAPP Management Committee adopted this roadmap, which builds on the integrated policy approach developed under the UNEP-GEF (Global Environment Facility) en.lighten initiative and that is being successfully implemented in over 30 countries. It expands the activities from lighting to appliances and equipment to quickly and effectively reduce power demand, to address the extremely constrained and vulnerable power systems causing frequent black-outs and slowing down economic and social development.

To implement the roadmap in the SADC countries, participants requested UNEP and UNDP to support the region in catalyzing technical and financial resources. Participants also encouraged all SADC countries to engage and share leadership in this initiative through their Ministries of Energy and Environment, and to identify sources of finance.

This initiative is part of the Global Partnership on Appliances and Equipment, an effort led by UNEP with the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), to leapfrog global markets to high efficiency and affordable products. Along with its international partners, including UNDP, ICA, CLASP, NRDC and various key players from private sector, this public-private partnership is a contribution to the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

India's Leadership Role in Upcoming Climate Change Negotiations Highlighted during UNEP Energy Meeting with India's Minister of Environment

The Government of India and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) agreed to strengthen energy efficiency, and emphasized India's leadership role in global efforts for an ambitious, comprehensive and equitable agreement in Paris in 2015, during meetings between India's Minister of Environment, Prakash Javadekar, and United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner on Friday 06 February 2015.

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UNEP-Coordinated Coalition Aims to Support Climate Change Fight through Measuring Emission Reductions from Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy Projects

A coalition launched today at the climate talks in Lima aims to boost efforts to save billions of dollars and billions of tonnes of CO2 emissions each year by measuring and reporting reductions of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from projects and programmes that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in developing countries.The 1 Gigaton Coalition, coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with the support of the Government of Norway, has been formed in light of the understanding that many countries have a wide range of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and initiatives in place.

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Click here to download the 1 Gigaton Coalition flyer

Energy Efficiency - key to closing the emissions gap

This article published in Climate Action and authored by Mark Radka Chief, Energy Branch, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, and John Christensen, Director, DTU Partnership, United Nations Environment Progamme (UNEP); describes why energy efficiency is key to closing the emissions gap.

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From international Climate Change negotiations to national implementation: the value of regional networks of Climate Change Offices

Moderated by Jason Spensley, CTCN, this event showcased the value of climate change knowledge networks, specifically the SEAN-CC, and the Regional Gateway for Technology Transfer and Climate Change Action in Latin America and the Caribbean (REGATTA).

Click here to read the side event coverage

Click here to download he side event concept note

Global Efficient Lighting Forum Convened to Address Accelerated Transition to Advanced Lighting Technologies

Governments, lighting experts and international donors meeting in Beijing this week have agreed to accelerate the phase-in of advanced lighting technologies to order to save energy, reduce CO2 emissions, and improve the lives and livelihoods of millions of people who currently lack access to clean, reliable lighting.

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ARGeo - C5 Promotes Geothermal in East Africa, Launches Regional Database

East African countries assembled for the Fifth African Rift Valley Geothermal Conference (ARGeo - C5), sharing their experiences in geothermal development, from reservoir engineering, drilling and geographical information systems to business development and financing. During the conference, the African Rift Geothermal Inventory Database (AGID) was launched to serve as an information repository for ongoing geothermal projects in the region.

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H.E. President Kenyatta of Kenya and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Witness Adoption of New Plan to Set in Motion Africa Sustainable Transport Transition

President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon witnessed Thursday the adoption of a new historic framework that will set in motion Africa's sustainable transport transition, benefiting health, the environment and overall sustainable development across the continent. Over 42 African countries, represented by ministers of transport, environment and other senior officials, participated in the Africa Sustainable Transport Forum (ASTF), organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank and UN-Habitat, in partnership with the Sub-Saharan Africa Transport Policy Program . The meeting, which is hosted by the Government of Kenya, aims to implement concrete actions to integrate sustainable transport into the region's development and planning processes.

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District Energy Hits the Headlines at UN Climate Summit

At the UN Climate Summit in September 2014, UNEP announced a major milestone in the company’s ongoing work with Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), a global initiative to promote access to modern energy, energy efficiency and renewable energy. As co-chair of the District Energy Accelerator launched under the Global Energy Efficiency Accelerator Platform of SE4ALL, UNEP will co-lead efforts together with Danfoss, ICLEI and UN-Habitat to support cities in developing, retrofitting or scaling up district energy systems.

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New Global Alliance for Energy-Efficient Appliances and Equipment Launched

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced a new initiative to accelerate the transition to more efficient appliances and equipment to reduce global energy demand, mitigate climate change and improve access to energy.A worldwide shift to energy-efficient appliances and equipment - including lighting, air conditioners, refrigerators, electric motors, ceiling fans and distribution transformers - would reduce global electricity consumption by more than 10 per cent, saving US$350 billion annually in electricity bills and reducing global CO2 emissions by 1.25 billion tonnes per year.

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We Have the Power Exhibition Supports Climate Summit

Bus rapid transit systems in Addis Ababa, efficient brick kilns in Cuzco, these are just few of the images of clean energy that were captured through the lens of Magnum Photographers. These images are on display during the Climate Summit on the fences of UN Headquarter.

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Climate Finance and Investment Forum in Eastern & Southern Africa

The Climate Finance and Investment Forum in Eastern & Southern Africa will be held on Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 September, 2014 at the Protea Hotel in Kampala. Its objective is to inform representatives of the financial sector in Eastern and Southern Africa of the latest developments and achievements in climate finance to facilitate and enhance the finance of climate change mitigation projects in the region by both public and private financial institutions. 60 representatives of banking institutions in the region are expected to participate.

The Forum is organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) under the implementation of the ACAD programme part of the International Climate Initiative supported by the German federal Ministry for the Environment. The Forum has received the joint sponsorship of the East African Development Bank (EADB), the Regional Collaboration Centre of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Kampala, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Click here to download the agenda.

For more information on ACAD, please visit:

ABB and UNEP join hands to accelerate the shift towards energy efficient products

ABB, one of the worlds’ leading companies in power and automation technologies, is joining hands with UNEP to support the Global Efficient Appliances and Equipment Partnership Programme, a new UNEP flagship initiative that will accelerate the transition to energy efficient products such as electric motors, distribution transformers, domestic refrigerators, air conditioners and information technology in developing countries and emerging economies.

Building on the company’s longstanding experience in developing energy efficient technologies, ABB will offer technical support to the Global Partnership Programme on energy efficient motors and transformers and their operation. The involvement of private sector expertise will be key to provide tailored assistance to developing countries and emerging economies in establishing policies such as minimum energy performance standards that will prompt the permanent move to efficient products, and ultimately reduce electricity demand, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Global Efficient Appliances and Equipment Partnership Programme is a key contribution to the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative and one of the flagship projects to be presented today at the UN Climate Summit that has a strong potential to catalyse global action for tackling climate change, including from private sector. Partners to this new UNEP initiative also include Global Environment Facility, UNDP, CLASP, the International Copper Association, the Natural Resources Defense Council. Dr. Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB, is announcing the collaboration today at the UN Climate Summit in New York, where he is invited to speak along with other business leaders on how the private sector can make a tangible and ambitious contribution to international climate change mitigation efforts.

For more information on the Global Efficient Appliances and Equipment Partnership Programme, please contact:

Read our IISD Guest Article:

ABB press release:

UNEP and EDP join forces to improve access to clean energy in Mozambique

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Energias de Portugal (EDP), the Portuguese utility, are collaborating to bring clean energy to remote areas in Mozambique. The objective is to help communities in these areas to access energy from local renewable energy resources at an affordable rate. These new clean energy mini-grids will thereby support the country’s efforts towards low carbon development.

The project will be implemented in two steps. Firstly, target sites will be identified and business plans developed to show that such mini-grids can be commercially viable. This will be followed by building the actual mini-grid to demonstrate cost-effective operation under location conditions. The first phase has just been kicked-off in Mozambique with the identification of target sites.

This public-private partnership is part of a broader initiative by UNEP to demonstrate market-based, clean-energy applications in a range of isolated communities of developing countries worldwide. The aim is to attract private sector investment for clean energy mini-grids, which are a key element to bringing affordable clean energy solutions to the 1.4 billion people around the world who are still lacking access to electricity.

"We Have the Power" photo exhibition in Brussels Midi Station from 23 June to 29 June

In 2013, Magnum Photos and the United Nations Environment Programme teamed up to showcase solutions already being implemented by UNEP and its partners to achieve the three objectives of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

The resulting photo exhibition We Have the Power: efficient, renewable, affordable will open at Brussels Midi Station on June 23 as the train station’s newest special exhibition. Harnessing the talents of five photographers to portray the clean energy revolution taking place, We Have the Power will be on view until June 29, 2014.

UNEP Energy Branch celebrating World Environment Day 2014 on SIDS

Today to celebrate World Environment Day on Small Islands and Developing States (SIDS), UNEP Energy Branch is launching a new video and photo-essay called: FIT FOR CHANGE!

Discover how Trinidad and Tobago, a Small Island Developing State, is taking action towards renewable energy. Although contributing less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, SIDS have decided to take steps to switch to renewable energy, reducing their dependence on fossil fuels. Trinidad and Tobago, the leading Caribbean producer of oil and natural gas, is demonstrating vision and political ambition through several decisions and projects on clean energy. The country is legislating to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, and is considering measures such as feed-in-tariffs (FITs).

To watch the video, please go to:

Climate Finance & Investment Forum highlighting the potential of West Africa as destination of climate investment

West Africa could soon become the new destination of climate finance and investment. This was reflected during the "Climate Finance & Investment Forum in West Africa" organized in Lomé, which saw great interest from public and private financial institutions. Investors and projects developers from the region gathered for the first time last week to consider opportunities arising from the combination of renewable energy and energy efficient projects as well as new and upcoming concepts of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions, New Market Mechanisms and national carbon markets. The Forum, co-organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement (BOAD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UNEP Risoe Centre, involved more than a 100 participants.

Speaking on the first day, Togo’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Ouro Koura Agadazi, stressed the essential role of climate finance in combating climate change and keeping average global temperatures at or near the internationally agreed 2 degree limit.“The forum has demonstrated that funding opportunities are available and can be mobilized,” said BOAD Vice-President Bassary Toure. “I am confident the presence of BOAD, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development and now the UNFCCC Regional Collaboration Centre of Lomé; will help West Africa meet its full potential with regards to development and climate finance.” “The Regional Collaborating Centre work plan for 2014 aims to strengthen activities tailored to reduce some of the barriers and uncertainties that the Clean Development Mechanism project developers are facing. The centre, together with other agencies, can help unlocking climate finance and better leverage the private sector,” said Luca Brusa of the UNFCCC.

“While $US 214.4 billion was invested in renewables this year, West Africa still represents a small portion of these investments. Securing the necessary financing still remains a challenge in the region”, said Françoise d’Estais from the United Nations Environment Programme. “’However, creative solutions are beginning to emerge. Listening to the 20 project developers coming from 10 different countries demonstrated that numerous endeavours are already taking place all over West Africa, in areas such as energy-efficient cookstoves, small-scale and larger-scale solar technologies, waste management to energy, and afforestation/reforestation.”

Renewable Energy Institute opens in Fukushima, Japan

The Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute, AIST (FREA) has two basic missions: the promotion of R&D into renewable energy, which is open to the world; and to make a contribution to industrial clusters and reconstruction. The institute is located in Koriyama, 60 kilometres west of the stricken nuclear plant, and has been established by the Tsukuba-based National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) to promote R&D into renewable energy So far, it has attracted interest from electronics companies such as Panasonic and Sharp, and foreign collaborations are also in the pipeline, including one with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg, Germany. Inside, about 100 researchers will work across areas including solar, hydrogen, wind and geothermal power.

For more information:

UNEP Energy organising a side event at the World Urban Forum in Medellin, Colombia

Already back in 2011, when the Wall Street Journal discussed “How to Build a Greener City,” district energy was touted as the first solution on the paper‘s list of priority actions to address the energy and environmental challenges facing growing cities.

UNEP ICLEI and UN Habitat have recently joined forces in an effort to support energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies in cities. In the research undertaken for the UNEP REsilient Cities Project, district energy emerged as a high impact opportunity leveraged by cities leading in sustainable energy. As an outcome, a district energy teaser has been developed which looks at emerging innovations, success factors and best practices in the deployment of district energy.

When: April 9, 16:30-18:15
Where: UN One Room
What: Don't Waste the Waste - the Economic Opportunity to Harness Waste Streams, Reject Heat & Integrate Local Energy Sources


This year, the UN has dedicated World Water Day 2014 to Water and Energy to draw attention to the fact that: more than 1.3 billion people live without electricity; 768 million people lack access to potable water; and 2.8 billion live in areas of high water stress. Water and energy have critical impacts on eliminating poverty and boosting shared prosperity.

Workshop on bioenergy and water: developing strategic priorities for sustainable outcomes

This workshop was organized by IEA Bioenergy Task 43, IINAS, UNEP and Winrock International. It was the 5th event arranged in collaboration with different organizations exploring the interlinkages between bioenergy and water and ways to address related risks and harness opportunities, and builds on the workshop "Spotlight on Energy and Water" organized by the Tasktogether with Oeko Institut and UNEP in July 2010.

Since the 2010 workshop, several organisations have undertaken related work and some gaps identified at the first workshop have been closed, but others remain. The 2014 workshop was organized to develop a co-ordinated and common approach to addressing and communicating water-related issues for bioenergy. The common vision derived at the workshop is goodmanagement of resources - benefiting from complementarity of different systems -can provide food, bioenergy and biomaterials AND improve the state of water. Theworkshop specifically explored how integration of bioenergy systems into forest and agricultural landscapes can deliver positive outcomes for environment and socio-economy.

The workshop drilled deeper into assessment, policy and implementation issues, as well as data gaps. The participants identified strategic priorities to enable the benefits of bioenergy to be captured and delivered. A set of common goals was agreed and possible contributions from the represented organizations were identified. Based on this, a work plan and a group communication strategy will be developed.

Hybridizing Diesel Mini-Grids for Decentralized Energy – Public-Private Investment Opportunities

In 21 January adjacent to the WFES, UNEP, IRENA and Siemens organized a workshop to discuss the market potential for clean energy mini-grids in developing countries. The workshop included a presentation of the preliminary results of an ongoing assessment to demonstrate the commercially viable operation of such mini-grids and so reduce the risks for future investors.

UNEP contributing to Sustainable Energy for All

UNEP, in collaboration with the Magnum Photo Agency, launched on 27 November 2013, a new media campaign entitled ‘We Have The Power: Efficient, Renewable, Affordable. A UNEP Contribution to Sustainable Energy for All’, showcasing:

  • Market Transformation for Energy Efficient Lighting, Chile (reflecting the work of UNEP’s en.lighten initiative) by Moises Saman
  • "Nafa Naana” (guaranteed savings), Burkina Faso (reflecting the work of UNEP’s Africa Carbon Asset Development Facility) by Dominic Nahr
  • Bus Rapid Transit Improvements in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (reflecting the work of UNEP’s Transport Unit) by Jerome Sessini

We Have The Power: Efficient, Renewable, Affordable photo exhibition was opened on 26 November by the Secretary-General. Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, joined the Secretary-General at the opening.

The media campaign illustrates solutions already being implemented by UNEP and its partners to support the three objectives of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

For more information, please visit:

UNEP Launches the Guidebook for the Development of a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) Strategy on Efficient Lighting

A new guide that shows countries how to turn country-wide efficient lighting programmes into key tools to combat climate change has been launched at the international climate negotiations in Warsaw.

The Guidebook for the Development of a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Strategy on Efficient Lighting, released at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP19) in Warsaw, by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), emphasizes the role of energy efficient lighting and its investment potential for rapidly reducing carbon emissions and delivering economic and environmental benefits through Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs).