Humanitarian Energy at #COP27

The UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP27) convened at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt between 6-19 November 2022. As UNITAR contributes to the implementation of the SDGs, a delegation participated at the COP27 to organize side events, workshops, and bi-lateral meetings and brought the attention on the ‘leave no one behind’ principles in climate action and sustainable energy. The impact of climate change on displaced populations is rarely brought up in climate negotiation agenda. Therefore, UNITAR’s Global Platform for Action on Sustainable Energy in Displacement Settings (GPA) made efforts to raise awareness of humanitarian energy in the climate action discussions. This included ensuring that the displaced people were physically present at the conversations and their voices were heard. Through active participation of the GPA and displaced communities, UNITAR invited the governments to include displaced people into the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Policies (NAPs), and energy policies.

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The GPA and its partners co-hosted five side events during the two weeks of the COP27. In collaboration with the UNITAR Green Development and Climate Change Programme Unit, the GPA hosted the “Climate Classroom: Climate Action and Humanitarian Energy”. This session provided attendees with the opportunity to learn more about the effects of climate change on displaced communities. The participants learned about the humanitarian energy sector, including its core challenges, possibilities, and approaches to addressing these concerns. Finally, the class invited a member of the displaced community to share the perspectives and experiences of living in a camp. An interactive question and answer session brought out critical thinking opportunities for the attendees.To bring a focus on the 103 million displaced people, the GPA invited the government delegates to a workshop session to discuss how it would be possible to integrate displaced populations into NDCs and why it essential. The workshop aimed at initiating a  discussion for countries hosting large populations of refugees and/or IDPs to offer a systematic means to design and finance targeted climate action projects for the benefit of displaced populations and their surrounding host communities.

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A side event on “From Humanitarian Relief-to-Climate Resilience: Realizing a Critical shift in Humanitarian Energy Access” invited representatives of displaced communities and organizations working on universal access to sustainable energy to share their perspectives and recommendations for a systemic change. The session looked at the need for data, innovative finance, and a systematic change in humanitarian energy. The panellists highlighted the context of displacement communities; how to ensure they are considered and prioritized, and how the inclusion of affected communities in humanitarian energy activities promotes the ‘leave-no-one-behind’ principles.

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UNITAR advocates for youth participation in every action on policy and social change to achieve SDGs. Hence, the GPA gathered a group of migrant/displaced youth with varied experiences and expertise to voice their perspective on climate action through access to clean energy and let the world know how climate change affects them. They emphasized the role of the displaced youth and their host community in energy access by looking at the problems they face as well as the solutions that they could deliver themselves. This included panellists presenting their research works on biodiversity, showcasing their solutions for clean cook appliances in refugee camps, and displaced youth-led businesses.

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While we gather government support on climate action to reduce carbon emissions, the United Nations also needs to take care of its own carbon emissions. In 2020, the UN System emitted approximately 1.5 million tonnes of CO2eq through its operations around the world. The GPA organized a session on “Achieving Carbon Neutrality: UN Action Decarbonization and Energy Efficiency” to introduce a Multi-Partner Trust Fund, which received seed funding to the value of USD 20 million from the German government. The fund will be led by UNITAR, UNDP, and NORCAP and will support the decarbonization activities of the UN in Sahel region. The session brought together major UN entities and their partners to discuss fossil fuel dependency and energy efficiency. The discussions highlighted how private sector investments in UN energy infrastructure are needed to achieve sector goals and the need to expand the services to the displaced and host communities.

The GPA supported seven representatives from displaced and their host communities to attend COP27 in-person and made sure that at least one displaced person participated in each of the GPA sessions. It is crucial to engage the displaced people and allow them to contribute directly to the policy and advocacy activities in the humanitarian energy. By bringing the voices of the communities enriched the conversation and showed the importance of meaningful participation.

The GPA coordination unit at the UNITAR will continue to work with governments and other stakeholders to ensure that the displaced people and its host communities are included in the climate action and universal energy access agendas. To join this movement, please reach out to us at and to learn more about the GPA, visit our website.


The activities were funded with UK aid from the UK government via the Transforming Energy Access programme.

Last updated: 10/07/2023

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