New million dollar UN DESA Grant to promote sustainable energy

Secretary-General tours Shams Solar Power Plant.“The well-being of our people and economy, and the health of our environment, all depend on safe, clean, secure, sustainable and affordable energy,” said Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, at the first meeting of the Advisory Council for a newly created UN DESA Grant to promote sustainable energy.

During the Rio+20 Conference, Member States realized that there had been success stories in advancing sustainable development, but that the international community is not doing enough to replicate and scale up best practices and lessons learned from successful experiences. They encouraged the UN system to do more to identify and publicize best practices and lessons learned, in collaboration with Governments, business, civil society and other stakeholders.

As a response, UN DESA, with funding support from the China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC), a Hong Kong-based NGO in consultative status with ECOSOC, has launched the project “Powering the Future We Want – Recognizing Innovative Practices in Energy for Sustainable Development”. This initiative seeks to replicate and scale up best practices and lessons learned from successful sustainable energy experiences.

“At the Rio+20 Conference, Member States recognized the critical importance of access to sustainable, modern energy services for poverty eradication, public health and in meeting basic human needs” said Mr Wu. “They also recognized that improving energy efficiency, increasing the share of renewable energy and cleaner and energy-efficient technologies are critical for addressing climate change,” he continued.

The ‘Powering the Future We Want’ initiative therefore offers an annual one million US dollar Grant to institutions or individuals that have demonstrated leadership and innovation in promoting sustainable energy. The award does not simply recognize past achievement, but the recipients of the Grant are expected to apply the funds to furthering their best practices and to building capacity in developing countries, thus furthering sustainable energy.

The first meeting of the Advisory Council for the Grant took place on 5 December at UN Headquarters in New York. The Council discussed selection criteria and modalities for the Grant, which are expected to be published before the end of the year. An important selection criteria will be for recipients of the grant to outline how they will use the award to further best practices and capacity building.

Applicants will also need to demonstrate that they have achieved, through leadership and innovative initiatives, tangible results and impacts at the local, national, regional or global levels in advancing energy for sustainable development.

The Advisory Council for the Grant consists of 12 members from UN entities, academic institutions, business and civil society groups. Membership is for one year, renewable annually. Each year, the Advisory Council will review and rank the applications and submit the top three candidates to the High-level Steering Committee, for Grant consideration and decision. The High-level Steering Committee consists of the President of the General Assembly, the President of the Economic and Social Council, the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, the Executive Directive of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Secretary-General of China Energy Fund Committee and further UN entities.

For more information: Powering the future we want