Global Plan of Action

Sustainable Energy Solutions for Situations of Displacement

                                                          Supported by:  


The UN estimates that over 135 million people need humanitarian assistance, 65.6 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. 



1. Raise awareness politically and institutionally for the importance of energy in humanitarian assistance.

2. Develop a working level roadmap to serve as the base for an effective, operational Global Plan of Action for sustainable energy solutions in situations of displacement.

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 


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

Further Information


Images courtesy of Practical Action, Edoardo Santangelo