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A new report examining energy issues within humanitarian settings has been recently launched at the UN Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll) Humanitarian Energy Conference (HEC 2022). The State of the Humanitarian Energy Sector (SOHES) 2022 had been developed by academics based at the Refugee Studies Centre alongside researchers with the Global Platform for Action in Sustainable Energy in Displacement Settings (GPA), based at the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

A first-of-its-kind publication, the report explores the major challenges, progress, and issues associated with humanitarian energy and climate action in displacement contexts. The SOHES report aims to inspire and encourage humanitarian energy sector partners, the private sector, and donors to progress towards better funding, inclusive policy-making, enhanced data collection, and inclusive innovative delivery towards achieving global climate and renewable energy targets. It demonstrates the value of inclusive research and shares a variety of insights from sector leaders, champions: providing case study evidence and interview reflections from multiple humanitarian and development organisations, the private sector, academia and governments, and importantly displaced people themselves.

The report has been co-authored by two refugee fellows on the RSC-BIEA Fellowship within the Refugee-Led Research Hub (RLRH) at the University of Oxford. Joelle Hangi is a co-author for chapter 1 on energy needs, and David Kinzuzi is co-author for chapter 7 on climate action. Dr Sarah Rosenberg-Jansen, a research fellow at the RSC, is lead author for the report. Alongside the University of Oxford authors, the report has been developed by leading humanitarian energy institutions: UNITAR, Chatham House, IOM, SEforALL, GIZ, Practical Action, NORCAP, Mercy Corps, University of Oxford, MECS, UNDP, Imperial College London, Selco Foundation, International Lifeline Fund, and UNHCR. 

The report presents new data highlighting that:

  • The vast majority of the world’s displaced people do not have access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern sources of energy: an estimated 94% of displaced people in camps do not have access to electricity and 81% rely on firewood and charcoal for cooking.
  • Millions of displaced people live in the dark, surrounded by smoke and pollution, unable to access basic electricity services or sustainable cooking solutions.
  • The total energy and environmental investment funding requirements listed in current humanitarian response plans, covering 28% of global refugee populations, was estimated at US$300 million for 2021. Scaling this to all refugee populations would have cost over US$1 billion for 2021. To cover all refugee energy needs globally between 2022 and 2030 would require over US$10 billion.

Overwhelming, the report demonstrates that without substantial investment and political action, Sustainable Development Goal 7 on energy access is highly unlikely to be achieved in displacement contexts by 2030.

Further information and resources are available online here.