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New $US 1 million UN Grant for leadership and innovation in sustainable energy is now accepting applications
1 Feb 2015 - A new programme that will offer $US 1 million to institutions or individuals that have demonstrated leadership and innovation in energy for sustainable development has been launched by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, with funding support from the China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC), a Hong Kong-based NGO.

The new grant programme "Powering the Future We Want" Recognizing Leadership and Innovative Practices in Energy for Sustainable Development,” will provide $US 1 million to grant recipients every year. Potential recipients will be expected to apply the funds to capacity building that will replicate and scale up their successful experiences.

"We expect the recipient to identify lessons learned and underlying factors of best practices, and share these lessons with decision-makers and practitioners from other countries, through capacity building activities," said Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.

Grant applicants will have to outline their proposed capacity-building activities, illustrate their existing sustainable energy projects and demonstrate how their project has contributed to leadership, vision and commitment in promoting sustainable energy and improving living standards. Applicants will also need to demonstrate that their project has promoted international cooperation in energy and capacity building and furthered the integration of energy for sustainable development strategies.

Today some 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity and some 2.7 billion people rely on biomass for cooking and heating. At the same time, energy-related greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change, as much as 80 per cent of emissions in many economies. The ‘Powering the Future We Want’ initiative seeks to help promote universal access to modern energy services while reducing energy-related emissions.

'Powering the Future' We Want is a follow-up initiative to the 2012 Rio+20 Conference, at which Member States had called for increased dissemination of success stories and capacity building to replicate and scale up best practices in sustainable development, in collaboration with Governments, business, civil society and other stakeholders.

The grant seeks to encourage scientific and technological innovations in energy. It aims to foster leadership initiatives and innovative actions that improve access to modern energy services, increase efficient use of energy, and enhance availability of new, renewable and advanced energy technologies, while addressing economic, social and environmental sustainability.

The grant recipient will be identified through a competitive review and selection process involving an Advisory Council and a High Level Steering Committee, with participation from relevant UN system organizations.

"The well-being of our people and economy, and the health of our environment, all depend on safe, clean, secure, sustainable and affordable energy," said Mr Wu at the first meeting of the Advisory Council of the grant. This cross-cutting nature of the global energy challenge reflects the broader theme for the year 2015, a year of global action in which the world seeks to adopt a new sustainable development agenda and to reach a global agreement on climate change, recognizing these issues as two sides of the same coin.

Applications must be submitted in English by 31 March 2015.