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Dr Sam Williamson and Peter Thomas attend Energy for Displaced People conference in Berlin

31 January 2018

Over 120 delegates including Dr Sam Williamson and Peter Thomas from the University of Bristol and representatives from governments, UN agencies, academia, and the private, humanitarian and financial sectors gathered in Berlin recently to develop a global plan of for energy in humanitarian relief.

Following a high-level opening and welcome, including a key note address from the Special Representative of UN Secretary General and CEO SEforALL, Rachel Kyte, participants divided into five strategic areas: planning and coordination; policy; innovative finance; capacity building; and monitoring. 

Each of strategic area was addressed in depth with the objective of identifying challenges, sharing knowledge, and brainstorming potential solutions. Following two days of discussion and workshops, several concrete actions were agreed including: 

  • Improving energy practice and policy in humanitarian settings. This will result in reduced energy and associated environmental pressures in host countries, and improved resilience of communities and host countries.
  • Involving displaced people and host communities in the new Global Plan of Action to reflect their priorities and needs. This will require coordinated strategies and effective communication across all stakeholders for long-term sustainable energy access.
  • Bolstering finance for sustainable infrastructure investments. This will include delivering innovative financing methods for the sector.
  • Utilising the skills and capacities of displaced people and ensure they have an active role for future energy interventions. This includes creating jobs where possible.
  • Harmonising and standardising high-quality, usable data and evidence across the sector for monitoring, learning and evaluation. 

Peter Thomas a PhD student at Bristol University said “the conference was a key step towards achieving the objectives of Sustainable Development Goal 7 which aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. 

Participants of the conference will now develop the global action plan in time for the next high-level political forum on sustainable development where progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals will be discussed.

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