The United Nations (UN) deploys humanitarian and peacekeeping missions in fragile states, often places with low access to energy and high vulnerability to climate change. Powering Peace supports the UN and its partners transitioning to renewable energy in the field and bringing renewable energy to these communities.
Worldwide, humanitarian and peacekeeping field operations run by the UN and aid organizations spend roughly $1.6 billion annually on energy to operate in fragile states. That funds diesel generators in off-grid settings in some of the least-electrified countries, where fuel convoys are high-value targets and diesel markets are often rife with corruption. Generators left behind by exiting missions are expensive and sometimes useless for communities. Powering Peace recognizes both the need and the opportunity to change: to meet the international climate goals, modernize peace operations, increase access to energy and foster new clean energy investment. By encouraging institutional commitments to use renewable energy sources in individual field missions, Stimson and Energy Peace Partners are facilitating a shift toward clean energy throughout the UN system. Powering Peace leverages resources for field missions to increase use of renewable energy systems and improve security and safety, provide long-term cost savings, support efficiency and introduce new energy infrastructure to areas most in need.
Despite a booming global renewable energy market, little of this investment reaches fragile states. Roughly 27 countries are most affected by conflict, climate change, and low access to energy, primarily in Africa, the Middle East and Southern Asia, impacting over 850 million people. Many of these countries also host humanitarian aid and UN peace operations. In 2016 alone, the international community spent more than $35 billion on humanitarian aid and peace operations, with the largest UN peace operations deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Mali, the Central African Republic, Lebanon, and Darfur (Sudan). Making renewable energy an option for UN missions is a practical, cost-effective, and sustainable objective.
Powering Peace uses a combination of research, analysis, data-collection and advocacy to (1) identify incentives and disincentives to a clean energy transition within the UN system for its field missions, (2) conduct case studies in crisis regions that host international peace and humanitarian field operations to understand the local dynamics around energy practices and opportunities for transitioning to renewables; and (3) use this data to identify ways to shift to more energy options for UN missions in fragile states. The project engages key partners in the UN and outside to outline the current system of energy provision, articulate the benefits and challenges of a transition, and propose ways to shift how energy is provided to missions.
Our goal is to help the UN incorporate resilient, sustainable energy technologies in its operations, capitalize on the commitment member states have made to address climate change, and introduce new climate solutions to fragile settings. Building on decades of experience and expertise, the project team will work with experts and decision-makers from the UN, member states, non-governmental organizations and the commercial sector to better understand the institutional realities and use country-specific analysis to see how field operations will be affected.