Energy use is a crisis issue in many refugee camps. The need for fuel is becoming a source of conflict between increasingly large refugee populations and local communities in many countries in the developing world. It is also a driver of deforestation and has well-documented impacts on women and children who are disproportionately exposed to indoor air pollution.
A conference hosted by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit ) in Berlin in mid-January sought to develop an action plan that involves NGO’s, the UN system, academia and the private sector on how to ensure that every person affected by conflict or natural disasters has access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy services by 2030.
Learn more about the conference Energy for Displaced People: A Global Plan of Action for Sustainable Energy Solutions in Situations of Displacement.
A part of SDG 7
The global action plan on clean and sustainable energy for displaced people is designed to help deliver on Sustainable Development Goal 7: Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” and improve both health and quality of life in refugee camps as part of the campaign to ‘leave no one behind’.
It is particularly women who suffer from the energy crisis in refugee camps. In some locations, they walk as far as 20km in search of wood, and often bear the brunt of the hostility from local communities, becoming walking targets for violence.
What is UNEP DTU doing?
In support of the Global Plan of Action, UNEP DTU is providing research-based advisory services to UNHCR and its humanitarian partners, with a particular focus on Africa. To date, our field work and analysis in Tanzania and Uganda has aimed to understand the policy, technology and investment options for shifting to a more sustainable energy use in and around specific refugee settlements.
A focus on evidence-based and bottom-up solutions, appropriate to the needs and conditions of each community, is fundamental to achieving the desired outcomes. Part of this work is to raise awareness about the relationship between energy and development, in situations where the majority of refugees have been living in camps or settlements for at least 5 years.
120 people attended the Berlin conference and were divided in 5 working groups. UNEP DTU contributed to 3 groups: Innovative Finance, Technical Expertise, Capacity Building and Training and Data, Evidence, Monitoring and Reporting. In the coming months, UNEP DTU hopes to secure significant new funding to scale up this work, where there’s now a clearer political and practical mandate to operate in support of the Global Plan of Action.