United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)


Membership Tier: Steering Committee (Co-Chair)

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect and assist refugees and other persons of concern. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees, ensuring that everyone has the right to seek asylum and safe refuge in another State.

In line with its mandate, UNHCR has been implementing energy interventions in its operations, including providing fuel-efficient stoves, solar lanterns and fuel for cooking and lighting. UNHCR, with the Women’s Refugee Commission and the World Food Programme, co-chaired the Task Force on Safe Access to Firewood and Alternative Energy in Humanitarian Settings established in 2007. Today, UNHCR is a member of the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) Humanitarian Working Group, which works to advocate for and find solutions to SAFE challenges globally.

In 2014, UNHCR launched its first Global Strategy for Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) 2014-2018. With the Strategy, UNHCR aims to reduce protection risks and enhance the well-being of refugees through improving access to energy. To achieve its objectives, the Strategy seeks to employ an integrated approach to energy in humanitarian settings, noting its links with sectors such as protection, nutrition, education, livelihoods, health and environment. The Strategy also emphasizes the need to work closely with partners, and the refugee and host communities, and explore technologies, renewable energy and different approaches to energy in order to achieve its vision.




Why UNHCR Joined the SAFE Humanitarian Working Group

UNHCR has been actively participating in the coordination of SAFE activities as a member of the SAFE Humanitarian Working Group since its inception. The current SAFE Steering Committee envisions a world in which all crisis-affected populations are able to satisfy their fuel and energy needs for cooking, heating, and lighting in a safe and sustainable manner, without fear or risk to their health, well-being, and personal security. This vision is in line with the UNHCR SAFE strategy. As a member of the SAFE Humanitarian Working Group UNHCR contributes to the six pillars of strategic engagement of the SAFE Steering Committee, enhances our knowledge and expertise, and expands our partnership to design and implement our energy and environment strategy.   


Christian Guillot | guillotc@unhcr.org

Julie Gassien | GASSIEN@unhcr.org