The article has been re-posted from Energy Access Practitioner Network (EAPN). The original article can be found here.
Looking ahead to World Humanitarian Day on August 19 which serves to recognize aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and mobilize people to advocate for humanitarian action we wanted to take this opportunity to once again underline the crucial importance of providing energy access in humanitarian settings.
As you know, EAPN and more broadly, our Energy, Climate & Environment Department here at the UN Foundation serves as a Steering Committee member of the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) Humanitarian Working Group, a consortium of organizations co-chaired by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (the Alliance), another UN Foundation initiative. As the central global coordination mechanism for energy in humanitarian settings, the SAFE Working Group seeks to combine improved technologies, alternative fuels, and livelihood and environmental activities to ensure access to fuel and energy for cooking, heating, lighting, and powering among crisis-affected populations. In its role as co-chair, the Alliance coordinates the SAFE sector, commissions research, provides technical support, builds capacity, advocates, and mobilizes resources to make energy a fundamental part of humanitarian aid.
This year, in its continued role as a lighting and electrification focal point in the SAFE Working Group, EAPN provided thought leadership via a best practices webinar that featured SAFE Working Group members UNHCR and the Alliance, as well as Practitioner Network members Schneider Electric and Little Sun. The discussion focused on best practices in the nexus of energy access and humanitarian relief, specifically on the timely and appropriate distribution of decentralized energy solutions for lighting and power. Following the webinar, EAPN also penned a blog post in honor of World Refugee Day to share lessons from the discussion.
Meanwhile, the Alliance mobilized SAFE Working Group members to submit expert feedback on the incorporation of energy access in the SPHERE Handbook the mostly widely known set of minimum standards for humanitarian response. Collectively, the group proposed revisions that integrate energy and fuel considerations into chapters on food security, nutrition, health, WaSH, shelter, and household items. They also called for the addition of a cross-cutting section on energy access placing energy on par with other essential considerations such as gender and the environment. On World Refugee Day, the Alliance announced a Call for Concepts for its new grant facility the Humanitarian Clean Cooking Fund (HCCF), which will support the scale up of projects working to increase access to cleaner, more efficient fuels and cooking technologies for crisis-affected people.
Looking forward, the Energy & Climate team is excited to announce that our annual EAPN survey will be shared with all our members and partners shortly, and in consultation with colleagues at the Alliance and SAFE will once again feature specific questions for those of you working on the nexus of energy access and humanitarian relief to gauge your continued impact in this space, among other themes of interest.
Senior Director, Energy Access
United Nations Foundation
Senior Director, Gender and Humanitarian Programs
Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves