Global Plan of Action

Sustainable Energy Solutions for Situations of Displacement

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Upcoming Events

September 25th: The UN Foundation will hold a Webinar to explain the Global Plan of Action Framework and Work Plan, and answer any questions on the GPA; Link to register:

October 2018 and Onward: Each of the five working groups will hold regular conference calls to consult on the GPA Work Plan and take collective action on the Work Plan activities. If you or your organization would like to be involved, please indicate your interest in one or more of the five thematic working areas (Planning, Policy, Innovative Finance, Technical Expertise & Capacity Building, and Data):

GPA Framework Launch

For the first time, how to provide clean energy in humanitarian settings was part of the UN High Level Political Forum deliberations in New York.

On July 11th, 2018, the Global Plan of Action Framework was launched alongside the 2018 Global review of the Sustainable Development Goal 7 at the High Level Political Forum. The event highlighted the need for leaving no one behind and how the Global Plan of Action movement can be a tool for accelerating progress on sustainable energy solutions in situations of displacement. The Global Plan of Action Video further explains the initiative purpose and call for partners.

After the GPA Framework launch, the steering group and secretariat are working hard to convene partners and turn the GPA Framework into tangible action. The steering group sends an open call for new partners to join the movement. If you are interested in taking steps to improve sustainable energy solutions in displacement settings, please email to commit political or financial support, or join a working group on one of the five area: planning and coordination, policy and advocacy, innovative finance and funding, technical expertise and capacity building, or data/evidence and monitoring/reporting. 

Global Plan of Action Documents

Join and Take Action

If you would like to pledge political or financial support, become a partner through joining a working group or endorse the Global Plan of Action Framework through a public statement, please email with your level of support. The Declaration and Call for Support provides further background on how to become involved in the Global Plan of Action. 

Global Plan of Action Framework - Call for Support and Declaration

Join a working group or receive updates: click here to register 


The UN estimates that over 135 million people need humanitarian assistance, 68.5 million of which are displaced from their home by conflict. In addition, disasters displace three times more people than conflicts: an average of 26.4 million people per year have been displaced since 2008. This record amount of human displacement combined with underfunded humanitarian response underscores the critical need for well-coordinated humanitarian efforts that address root causes and empower vulnerable populations to become self-reliant.

Addressing energy needs of displaced people is one of the fundamental enablers that, when prioritized, enhances humanitarian assistance with ample positive social, economic and environmental benefits. Cookstoves and fuel are needed to cook meals, heat, light to avoid danger, and power to charge mobile phones that enable communications and contact with family members. Simply put, access to clean energy impacts food security, nutrition, health, protection, shelter, telecommunications, and other key sectors of the humanitarian cluster system.

However, energy access for displaced people is currently not prioritized in the humanitarian relief system. As a result, most displaced people do not have access to safe, reliable and clean energy. Of those living in camp settings, 90% live without electricity and 80% still rely on solid fuels such as firewood and charcoal for cooking. Current energy practices are often inefficient, polluting, unsafe for users and harmful to the surrounding environment. Moreover, institutional humanitarian operations (e.g for water pumping, community lighting, health stations, etc.) rely heavily on unsustainable fossil fuels.

In response, the Energy for Displaced People conference was held in January 2018 to initiate the Global Plan of Action for Sustainable Energy Solutions in Situations of Displacement (GPA). At the conference, UN agencies, donors, civil society groups and private sector representatives worked to lay the foundations of the Global Plan of Action. The conference summary is available here, to further understand the background and current status of the Global Plan of Action initiative. The initiative updates are additionally published to the Energypedia community, here: Global Plan of Action


Every person affected by conflict or natural disaster has access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy services by 2030. 


Strategic Objectives

Promote: Foster an open and strategic dialogue between global energy and humanitarian actors to enhance humanitarian response through access to sustainable energy solutions.  

Partner: Strengthen multi-stakeholder partnerships and mobilise sustainable and innovative approaches to finance energy solutions in situations of displacement.

Learn: Generate awareness of existing resources on this issue and share evidence-based best practices.

Activate: Create a collaborative and inclusive framework for unified, multi-stakeholder action to improve sustainable energy access in situations of displacement.

Guiding Principles

  • Displaced people, host communities and host governments must be involved from planning to implementation to ensure that their needs and priorities are reflected.
  • Energy solutions must be context-appropriate and based on a thorough understanding of beneficiaries’ age, gender, needs, culture, safety, different disaster scenarios and other factors. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ solution. It is important to choose financially and environmentally sustainable solutions, preferably cost-efficient renewable energy solutions.
  • Energy is not a goal in and of itself but a crucial enabler for humanitarian relief and development. It is intrinsically linked to, and has multiplier effects on, issues such as food security, shelter, protection, health, livelihoods, sustainable management of natural resources and resilience to climate change.
  • Where possible, energy solutions should promote recovery and self-reliance among beneficiaries, as well as be financially and environmentally sustainable.
  • Energy interventions and technical solutions should be sensitive to the unique needs and challenges of women and girls, who are disproportionately impacted by lack of energy access.
  • Energy solutions in this context should recognize existing market-based solutions and involve market actors, including existing local energy and technical-services providers within the affected and host communities.
  • Adhere to the ‘do no harm’ principles: those involved in humanitarian response take steps to avoid or minimise any adverse effects of their intervention, in particular the risk of exposing people to increased danger or abuse of their rights.

Working Groups

The following working groups were established to create the Global Plan of Action, and are currently open for stakeholders working in the energy and humanitarian space to join and contribute:

  1. Planning and Coordination
  2. Policy, Advocacy and Host Country Resilience, 
  3. Innovative Finance
  4. Technical Expertise, Capacity Building and Training
  5. Data, Monitoring, Evidence and Reporting

To express your interest in joining one of the working groups or receiving updates on the Global Plan of Action initiative, please contact, or indicate your interest here

Steering Committee

The Global Plan of Action initiative is jointly led by IOM, UNHCR, UNITAR, GIZ the Moving Energy Initiative, Practical Action, WFP, UNEP DTU, UNDP, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, FAO, and the UN Foundation. The Energy for Displaced People conference was generously supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany. 


Agenda, GPA Framework Launch - High Level Political Forum SDG7 Review, July 2018

Global Plan of Action, Roadmap to HLPFUPDATE, April 2018

Energy for Displaced People: A Global Plan of Action for Sustainable Energy Solutions in Situations of Displacement - Conference Summary, January 2018

Concept Note and Background Papers, Initiative Foundations, January 2018

Further Information


Images courtesy of Practical Action, Edoardo Santangelo