Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat and the UN’s top climate change official, visited the secretariat’s award-winning project Liter of Light in the Philippines today. During her visit, Ms. Figueres met volunteers of the open source network in Manila to raise awareness for climate action in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December (COP 21).

Liter of Light is a zero-carbon solar lighting project implemented by the MyShelter Foundation under its founder Illac Diaz in different cities around the Philippines. The project has been recognised by the UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change Initiative, in addition to winning the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize Non-Profit Organisation category.

Ms. Figueres visited Liter of Light facilities in Manila as part of a state visit to the Philippines by the French President Francois Hollande to highlight partnerships to tackle climate change. The UNFCCC Executive Secretary toured areas of Guiun – recently devastated by Typhoon Haiyan – and Manila where Ms. Figueres worked with volunteers to assemble solar lanterns made out of recycled soda bottles, bleach and LED bulbs.

“Witnessing the devastation, loss and suffering wrought by Typhoon Haiyan, which has claimed the lives of thousands and left millions without homes, the impact of climate change is truly undeniable,” said Figueres. “Liter of Light is part of bringing hope back into the homes of these people, providing them with safe sustainable lighting as well as a real set of skills to provide their families and the community with a brighter future.”

Typhoon Haiyan also known as Typhoon Yolanda was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, devastating parts of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, in early-November 2013. It is the deadliest typhoon recorded in modern history, killing at least 6,300 people in the Philippines alone.

“The world is in need of innovative, scalable and replicable solutions like the solar lanterns created by the MyShelter Foundation. They are deserving winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change Initiative, which calls upon innovators around the world to drive solutions to global challenges of climate change,” said Ms. Figueres.

Since the typhoon hit areas the eastern coast in November, the Liter of Light project has installed more than 5,000 home lighting solutions in parts of Tacloban, Cebu, and Iloilo with the help of 96 volunteers. The open-source network has trained 76 local partners to make and install the solar lanterns in an effort to reach communities affected by heavy flooding and landslides. According to UN officials, around 11 million people have been affected. Many have been left homeless, orphaned and impoverished.

“We still have so much work to do, but we remain hopeful as we see the positive impact we are having on these people and communities through our work,” said Illac Diaz, Founder of MyShelter Foundation. “The support and recognition from the Zayed Future Energy Prize and the UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change have been invaluable to the MyShelter Foundation’s success and growth. We encourage other organisations and innovators to come forward with their solutions to climate change as every idea, initiative and invention counts towards a sustainable future.”

Liter of Light redesigns solar lighting for the developing world. The simple, two-step solution creates jobs, teaches green skills and empowers local communities. Beginning with a daylight solution using recycled plastic bottles, water, and bleach, the Liter of Light project provides zero-carbon solar light that cuts household electricity bills in half. From these savings, they can upgrade to a lighting solution for night that is community built through training and readily available parts.

Since the Liter of Light began in San Pedro, Laguna, in April 2011, more than 150,000 solar bottle lights have been installed in 72 Philippine cities, preventing carbon emissions of 200 kilos per solar bottle light.

In 2011, the Liter of Light project was recognised by the UNFCCC Secretariat’s Momentum for Change Initiative at its inaugural award ceremony in Durban, South Africa. In January 2015, Liter of Light was honoured as the winning entry in the Zayed Future Energy Prize Non-Profit Organisation category, which recognizes innovators around the world for their impact, innovation, leadership, and long-term vision.

The call for applications for Momentum for Change is now open. For further information visit: http://momentum.unfccc.int

Submissions and nominations for the eighth edition of the US$4 million dollar Zayed Future Energy Prize are also open. For further information visit: http://www.ZayedFutureEnergyPrize.com.

Story via UNFCCC Newsroom