COP 26 Side Event: Goodbye to Dirty Diesel: Decarbonising Energy Infrastructures in the United Nations System/Humanitarian Operations

Date and Time: 02 November 2021; 14:45-15:30 (Glasgow Time)

Venue: SDG7 Pavilion, Zone D, Scottish Event Campus, Glasgow, Scotland & Virtual (hybrid event)

Mode: Virtual and in-person

The United Nations entities and other international/local organizations provide support in humanitarian, development, and peace activities around the world to support states and people affected by conflicts, disasters, and crises. The operations often involve serving in remote locations where electricity connectivity and other energy resources are limited. To smoothen daily work of these agencies, the use of fossil-fuel-powered generators is a common practice. It is estimated that in the humanitarian operations alone, more than 11,000 generators are operated worldwide. These generators emit large amounts of greenhouse gases which are harmful for environment, climate, and biodiversity.

With the adoption of “Strategy for Sustainability Management in the United Nations System 2020-2030”, the UN is making an effort to combat climate change from within. However, the progress in adopting sustainable solutions for decarbonizing its infrastructure has been slow, especially with the increase of crises and forced displacement situations. An estimate shows a sharp increase in the use of generators in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations of the UN over the last few years. Hence, it is time all the UN entities adopted sustainable solutions for their electricity consumption and replaced the diesel-powered generators by solar powered energy systems.

Besides UN, there are many other international and national NGOs and organizations working to provide support in humanitarian situations. These organizations all together operates a large vehicle fleet, many office buildings, large number of diesel powered generators, etc. There is a need for all these humanitarian operations to join forces and take action phase out the fossil fuel powered generators and adopt renewable energy sources.

The event brings UN entities and other organizations together to discuss advanced technologies and innovative financing models to accelerate sustainable energy transition within the UN system.



  • Andrew Harper, Special Advisor on Climate Action, UNHCR
  • Cecilia Ragazzi, Director of Energy Access, Mercy Corps,
  • Mads Uhlin Hansen, CEO of Kube Energy


  • Thomas Fohgrub, Head of the Coordination Unit of GPA, UNITAR
UNITAR - Project Image
UNITAR - Project Image
UNITAR - Project Image

Last updated: 24/11/2021

Give Feedback