Description/achievement of initiative
UNIDO in partnership with sub-regional economic communities (RECs) is establishing the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centers (GN-SEC), an innovative south-south and triangular multi-stakeholder partnership to accelerate the energy and climate transformation. Since 2010, UNIDO assists RECs in the establishment and operation of sub-regional sustainable energy centres. The expanding partnership comprises a sub-network of centers for the African and the Arab region (with the EAC, SADC, ECOWAS, and the Arab League) and a sub-network for Small Island Developing States (with SIDS DOCK, CARICOM, and SPC). Currently, the network is expanding to Central America, Central Asia and the Himalaya-Hindukush region.
By looking at the moderate growth rates of Sustainable Energy and Climate Technology (SECT) markets in many developing countries, it becomes obvious that SDG-7, SDG-9 and SDG-13 cannot be attained by 2030 in business-as-usual scenarios. There is need for economies of scale and speed. The regional sustainable energy centers aim to accelerate the energy and climate transformation by creating economies of scales, equal progress and spill-over effects between countries.
In partnership with Member States and other sub-regional players (e.g. power pools, utility organisations, regulatory authorities, regional banks), the centres work towards the creation of integrated regional markets for SECT products and services by setting targets, policies, standards and incentives, as well as de-risking of investments through the provision of reliable data, analytics, bundling of projects and convening power.
Some of the barriers for the development of SECT markets can be addressed more effectively and at lower cost at sub-regional level. The GN-SEC centers play an important role in setting domestic priorities, contribute to donor harmonisation and coordination, as well as ensuring the sustainability and availability of results and deliverables after project closure. The centres provide the RECs with the urgently needed technical capacities to coordinate and monitor the implementation of sub-regional energy and climate policies/regulations on national level.
Moreover, they serve as knowledge resource facility, and provide advice to Member States on how best to manage the transition towards sustainable energy. Through cross-border approaches and methodologies, the centres complement and accelerate national efforts in the areas of policy and regulation, capacity development, knowledge and data management, awareness raising, as well as the promotion of investment, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The GN-SEC is addressing an important missing link in international sustainable energy and climate cooperation. For several reasons, the sub-regional level is often ignored and not used systematically as a (cost-)effective tool to promote equal progress, coordination, economies of scales. Sub-regionally, the energy transformation tends to remain uncoordinated between countries and common barriers and opportunities are not addressed jointly for the benefit of all.
Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
Coordination mechanisms/governance structure
Therefore, GN-SEC means living empowerment. The centers are advocates for a New Deal giving particularly LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS a stronger voice in shaping climate and technology transfer processes. From the very beginning, the centres are in the ownership and under the leadership of the respective sub-regional organization and its Member States. The centres are well embedded in the sub-regional decision-making structure and report usually to the RECs and their Member States.
The GN-SEC is currently becoming a formalized global platform to advocate for SDG-7, SDG-9 and SDG-13 and joint interests in international policy processes. The platform is hosted by UNIDO in Vienna, Austria. It provides also a "virtual" maker-space for south-south cooperation activities and joint project proposals. For example, SIDS share similar challenges and opportunities when it comes to electric mobility and storage solutions. LDCs in Sub Sahara Africa share a common interest in renewable energy (hybrid) mini-grid development for rural electrification and productive uses. The platform provides also an interesting forum to exchange experiences and lessons learned on methodologies related to sub-regional cooperation and institution building.
Building on country leadership within existing sub-regional cooperation entities and placing UNIDO in the role of a specialized policy, business and technical service provider and honest broker, the network puts the key principles of aid and development effectiveness (as defined in the Accra, Paris and Busan Declarations) into practice: It respects country ownership of development priorities coupled with results-oriented partnerships, transparency and shared responsibility.
Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), Austria, Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM),
East African Community (EAC),
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD),
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC),
Southern African Development Community (SADC),
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), SIDS DOCK