United Nations has called on
businesses, governments, and
civil society to achieve Sustainable
Energy for All by 2030
Richenda’s Message – December 2015
I have just returned from Paris, where world leaders gathered at COP21 and finalized a new global climate agreement. It was an extraordinary moment where nearly 200 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change for the first time submitted their own plans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in a binding (at least in part) agreement. It particularly showcased the value of bottom-up action in terms of country plans developed and submitted, to help build engagement at the global level. While not yet getting the world to the 2°C above pre-industrial level or better that is needed to help reduce the worst effects of climate change, it sets out a framework from which parties build or “ratchet” action further in the coming years, and report back on their plans.
While in Paris, we held an official side event in front of a packed venue together with colleagues from the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and other partners, on the nexus between energy access and health, which was keynoted by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland. The conversation ranged from black carbon emission reductions from improved cooking and lighting solutions that also improve indoor air pollution and have a multitude of health benefits especially related to respiratory care, to the need to ensure that health facilities in developing countries have the sustainable power they need to deliver health care services effectively to their communities.
The following day, as part of #EarthtoParis at UNESCO during COP21, we launched the “billion dollar clean energy access investment opportunity” shining a spotlight on the work of many members in the network and your financing needs in the latest UN Foundation Energy Access Practitioner Network publication, Investing for Energy Access: 2015 Directory of Funding and Investment Opportunities. We were joined by executives from Off Grid Electric and SELCO India, and later in the week from Mobisol, as well as other members in the network at these launches.
The “investment directory” highlights – for the first time for this sector – more than $1.3 billion of existing financing opportunity in decentralized energy solutions for the developing world, particularly focusing on equity and debt, as well as concessional and grant financing needed. It profiles over 200 commercial companies, social enterprises as well as non-profits from within the Practitioner Network’s membership. Special thanks to the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and Mott Foundation for their support for this work.
Both the directory and the associated online portal which can be accessed via www.energyaccess.org showcase a range of a start-ups and mature companies, mostly but not exclusively focused on some time of solar solution, and are intended as tools for investors to introduce current opportunities to them and to serve as a starting point from which they can begin their own due diligence process, as well as for donors, entrepreneurs and market analysts, and of course as an advocacy tool for bringing more finance into the sector, at the right time, with the right terms and structured in the right way to support your work.
I would like to thank all our Practitioner Network members and partners who made this possible, and on behalf of the energy access team here at UN Foundation, I wish you all a happy, bright and energizing holiday season.
Richenda Van Leeuwen
Executive Director, Energy Access, United Nations Foundation