Division of Technology, Industry and Economics ∑ Energy and OzonAction Unit

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Fast and Flexible Support to Sustainable Energy Opportunities

As concern grows about the consequences of today's global patterns of energy use, governments, NGOs, and the private sector are rethinking their energy strategies. The term Sustainable Energy is increasingly used to describe energy systems that are compatible with the broader concepts of sustainable development.

Change - never easy - is made more complicated by rapidly shifting financial, economic, and political environments in developing countries. Outside assistance is sometimes critical, and a small, targeted intervention at just the right time can mean the difference between success and failure. UNEP's Sustainable Energy Advisory Facility - or SEAF - is designed to make that difference with swift and flexible assistance that spurs the development and application of sustainable energy policies, strategies, and technologies.

Inform, Strengthen, and Assist

Funded by the Danish International Development Assistance (Danida) as a pilot effort in 10 developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, SEAF will provide information and technical support for sustainable energy activities. SEAF will strengthen the capability of institutions to analyse and implement sustainable energy approaches, and assist organisations and institutions to quantify and disseminate the results of their sustainable energy activities. As a contribution to CSD-9, SEAF hopes to demonstrate that the transition to sustainable energy systems does not require complex mechanisms or approaches. SEAF gives UNEP the ability to meet very specific country needs regarding a broad range of sustainable energy topics, and to do so in a manner that draws on other work and catalyzes other resources.

Specific Services Offered

SEAF can help organisations and institutions:

Integrate energy sector programmes into overall sustainable development strategies

To avoid the pitfalls of poorly integrated sustainable development policies, SEAF will help partners focus on the basic principles of sustainable development. SEAF provides partners with targeted interventions that:

Provide support to implement sustainable development strategies

SEAF helps policymakers establish the criteria and measurements they need to evaluate alternative choices and test how those choices affect critical social, economic and environmental issues. SEAF can help partners test whether their policies or plans are likely to lead to sustainable energy development.

Promote synergies among sustainable energy projects and programmes

SEAF helps partners develop linkages between sustainable energy projects by harnessing timely opportunities to exchange information, gather and analyse feedback, and build consensus on policy frameworks.

Strengthen local capabilities to assess and select environmentally sound technologies

SEAF helps partners fill 'knowledge gaps' with the most current and relevant information. SEAF also helps partners assess and choose the best technology for their projects or applications.

Support both the completion and continuity of sustainable energy projects

Even the best planned projects sometimes encounter unforeseen problems that require additional support. With quick and timely assistance, SEAF can help partners overcome inflexible institutional procedures that may delay or kill projects. SEAF can plug unforeseen gaps and take advantage of 'leveraging' opportunities unanticipated when a specific project was formulated.

SEAF also helps partners continue sustainable energy projects after they are officially completed or the external support is finished. In this area, SEAF provides support for the transition of projects to local institutions and facilitates links to international development agencies.

SEAF Links to CSD-9

SEAF will enable partners in developing countries to better prepare for CSD-9 in two ways. First, the Facility can help channel input from developing countries to the CSD-9 preparation process. Second, depending on the level of involvement by individual countries, SEAF can help ensure that issues coming up in the CSD-9 preparations are communicated to relevant institutions in developing countries.

Institutional Structure

SEAF is implemented jointly by the UNEP Collaborating Centre on Energy and Environment (UCCEE) and the UNEP Energy Programme. After the official launch in March 2000, partners in the identified pilot countries will begin to identify national priorities. Other interested countries, national and international institutions are welcome to contact SEAF for information and possible support.

SEAF Services

SEAF provides timely access to information and data sources on sustainable energy as well as technical, economic and financial expert support provided by UNEP/UCCEE staff or regional/international consultants. Technical assistance is available for:

  • sector and national planning studies
  • climate change mitigation studies, such as GEF and CDM project development
  • technology assessment and selection
  • individual project assessment involving renewable energy technologies or conventional technologies with reduced environmental impacts
  • establishing links to financing institutions such as the World Bank, Global Environmental Facility, regional and national development banks, and other sources of project finance.

SEAF will also provide technical and financial support for national or regional workshops or related training.

SEAF Contacts:

Mark Radka
Energy Programme Co-ordinator
Tel: +33 1 4437 1427
Fax: +33 1 4437 1474
E-mail: mark.radka@unep.fr
John M. Christensen
Head of Centre
Tel: +45 46 32 22 88
Fax: +45 46 32 19 99
E-mail: joch@dtu.dk