UNHCR Uses Innovative Solar Projects in Kenya and Uganda to Promote the Renewable Energy Agenda

Posted on : Tuesday , 5th December 2023

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has commenced the implementation of solar installations in three of its office locations in Kenya and Uganda, benefiting a combined population of over 650,000 displaced individuals in Kakuma, Adjumani, and Yumbe. This initiative, part of the Green Financing Facility (GFF), represents a pioneering approach to financing renewable energy projects in fragile settings.

Launched in 2019 with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the GFF plays a crucial role in expediting UNHCR’s global transition to renewable energy across its extensive office network, which comprises more than 550 locations worldwide. The GFF facilitates private sector engagement by providing a financial guarantee against specific risks associated with projects in challenging environments.

Hans Baritt, UNHCR’s Controller and Director of the Division of Financial and Administrative Management emphasized the significance of these solar projects in aligning with UNHCR’s commitment to environmental sustainability while fulfilling its mission of aiding displaced populations, even in remote areas where reliable power supply is a challenge.

The solarisation of these sites marks the beginning of a broader initiative, with additional procurements for other UNHCR offices already in progress. The overall goal is to reduce UNHCR’s carbon emissions by at least 30 percent by 2030.

Ulf Källstig, Assistant Director General, Department for Africa, Sida, highlighted the multi-year collaboration between Sida and UNHCR, emphasizing the need to understand and address the barriers to adopting renewable energy solutions in humanitarian contexts. The collaboration resulted in the design and establishment of the GFF, with contributions not only from Sida but also from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the IKEA Foundation.

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