Alliance Joins A Global Partnership To Increase Safe And Reliable Access to Energy For Crisis-Affected Families Around The World
- Working with global partners, the UNHCR Global Safe Access to Fuel and Energy – SAFE – strategy is moving forward to help protect health and personal safety, increase livelihood opportunities, and reduce impact on the environment for families displaced by humanitarian crises.
- The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves will directly support implementation of actions in three priority African countries and lead research, information-sharing and public-private cooperation to scale-up proven solutions.
Geneva, Switzerland (May 13, 2014) – Today, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves officially joined the global effort to better protect the health and safety of refugees and other vulnerable people. The global strategy, formulated and led by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), will address the risks associated with the collection, supply and use of biomass fuel, mainly firewood and charcoal, in emergencies. Such risks include increased vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence or assault during firewood collection, loss of livelihood and education opportunities, environmental degradation, and respiratory and other illnesses that cause premature deaths and child health problems.
“Today we mark the start of an innovative partnership that focuses on the pressing needs of some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Radha Muthiah, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, at a launch reception held by partners including UNHCR, the United Nations Foundation Board of Directors and the Alliance.
Girls and women often face the most serious personal security risks because they have to leave the relative safety of the camps to collect fuel.
“These issues have gone unnoticed for too long,” said Muthiah. “They are not well understood or documented – which is why this global strategy is critical to lasting progress.”
The UN Refugee Agency's Global Strategy for Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE), 2014 – 2018, aims to enable refugees and other persons of concern to meet their energy needs in a safe and sustainable way. The strategy provides a cross-sectoral approach to energy programming during emergencies – from lighting in camps to lessen personal security risks, to more equitable access to energy technologies and fuel among families, to healthier living conditions for cooking and lighting to reduce illness and injuries.
The Alliance will lead research, information-sharing and public-private collaboration to expand use of proven solutions over the life of the strategy.
“Working with UNHCR, the Alliance is committed to ensuring that the cooking and lighting energy needs of refugees and other vulnerable populations are met, and that these families have a better chance to lead productive, healthy lives,” said Muthiah.
The Alliance will support UNHCR in the following ways:
- Increase human resource capacity – The Alliance will organize and conduct trainings for UNHCR staff and other UN and NGO staff in order to build capacity to plan and deliver recommended interventions.
- Raise awareness and funds – The Alliance and UNHCR will spearhead efforts to raise awareness about the dangerous impacts of lack of energy access for refugees among donors, other UN agencies, policymakers, and governments.
- Conduct research to build evidence and understand most effective approaches – The Alliance will work with UNHCR to identify evidence gaps and co-fund research examining health, livelihood, gender, and environmental impacts of UNHCR SAFE projects.
- Broker innovative partnerships – The Alliance will help bridge the gap between the humanitarian and commercial cooking sector so that when applicable, UNHCR has access to the most cutting-edge technologies, research, methodologies, and tools that are used in the development context to implement cooking projects.
- Lead coordination of SAFE globally – The Alliance is committed to supporting the global coordination of the SAFE initiative, of which UNHCR is a critical and leading partner. The Alliance will launch a SAFE online hub which UNHCR staff can utilize to share best practices, highlight their work, connect with experts, and identifying funding opportunities.
“We are committed to being a catalyst for energy technology innovation, public-private collaboration, and culturally-appropriate solutions for better energy access,” she said.