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Development Account Projects

Promoting renewable energy investments for climate change mitigation and sustainable development


Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix is one of the three objectives of the Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative. A global consensus has emerged that the deployment of renewable energy technologies is critical for three principal reasons, which are interlinked: (a) to mitigate climate change and protect the environment from the impacts of fossil fuel use; (b) to improve energy security; and (c) to encourage economic development, in particular associated with rural and agricultural sectors, or with innovation and high-technology manufacturing.

This is particularly relevant for developing regions, where a large percentage of the population lives in isolated rural communities that lack energy services and suffer poor socioeconomic conditions, and where renewable energy can play a major role in providing those energy services. Renewable energy can also contribute to energy security by diversifying the energy mix and achieving sustainable energy for all. Such projects also contribute to climate change mitigation efforts, which can benefit from available carbon funds. Accordingly, it is very important to promote policies for including energy produced from renewable energy sources in the energy mix in the countries members of ESCWA and other countries with a similar energy context.

Although the scale and scope of renewable electricity generation investments has increased rapidly in recent years, there are a number of barriers to investment that have been identified to explain why the scale of investment needed for the green economy has yet to be achieved. Cost-effective renewable energy improvements are self-financing in favourable economic and regulatory conditions in selected markets around the world today. However, developing countries and countries with economies in transition face serious challenges in attracting private investments in renewable energy for a number of reasons. Firstly, dedicated sources of financing are lacking and local banks are generally unfamiliar with such investments. Furthermore, the nature of the renewable energy projects and the size of the investments that are needed require the creation of opportunities for banks and commercial companies to invest in renewable energy projects through the development of dedicated public-private partnership investment funds. Secondly, local experts lack adequate knowledge and experience in identifying and formulating renewable energy investment project proposals. There is thus a need to develop skills in the private and public sectors at the local level to identify, formulate and implement renewable energy investment projects. Lastly, in the absence of policy and institutional support, private investors are not attracted to financing renewable energy projects. The provision of specific assistance to municipal authorities and national Governments is required to introduce reforms needed to support these investments.

Countries members of ESCWA recognize the importance of integrating water and energy resources management. Endorsed by the Commission’s twenty-seventh ministerial session, in May 2012, the ESCWA Committee on Water Resources issued a recommendation, welcomed by the ESCWA Committee on Energy to examine the water-energy nexus. In response, ESCWA organized the Intergovernmental Consultative Meeting on the Water and Energy Nexus in the ESCWA Region, held in Beirut on 27 and 28 June 2012, for members of the two intergovernmental committees to discuss their views and perceptions regarding the water and energy nexus within the regional context. The meeting resulted in the identification of seven priority areas. However, while priorities were identified, capacity needs to be built in order to foster integrated policy analysis, formulation and implementation at the interministerial and intraregional levels.

A number of countries worldwide have expressed their interest in adopting renewable energy in sectors with high carbon dioxide emissions levels. Both ESCWA and ECE, as partners in this project, would select pilot countries that are (a) considering renewable energy as a priority component of their national policies and services, and (b) seeking participation in developing renewable energy markets and products. Although the project includes activities concerning policy reform, the main target is capacity-building for the development of renewable energy investment projects. The two regional commissions will seek cooperation on this project, during the implementation phase, with the World Bank, UNEP, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the Global Environment Facility and other potential international stakeholders.


To strengthen the capacities of government officials, national financial institutions and national energy experts and project developers, which are involved in renewable energy in developing countries and countries with economies in transition in the Arab region and Europe, to attract investments in renewable energy projects as a means of sustainable development and climate change mitigation

Expected accomplishments:

  • Improved capacity of government officials, national financial institutions and national energy experts and project developers, to develop renewable energy investment projects in the private and public sectors
  • Improved capacity of Governments to adopt policies and measures to improve opportunities for banks and commercial companies to invest in renewable energy projects through the development of new financing mechanisms

Implementation status:

In progress.