Energy – April 8th, 2019
On Friday 5th of April DCHI facilitated a roundtable session for The Netherlands Enterprise Agency’s (RVO) national sector event on the barriers and future potential of Renewable Energy in developing countries. The event was organised to officially launch the subsidy programme ‘SDG7 Results’. This scheme offers businesses, NGO’s or financial institutions the opportunity to have their projects subsidised, based on the number of people who have gained renewable energy sources thanks to the innovative intervention.
A key message that the event portrayed was that the renewable energy sector is indeed accelerating, but not fast enough given the potential when working together for further sustainable progress. DCHI’s roundtable, organised together with RVO, aimed to facilitate a session that would highlight this potential value in alternative perspectives on responding to humanitarian energy needs: ‘Creating Access to Modern Energy in Humanitarian settings – what role can the private sector play?’. During the session, Marcel Raats (RVO) and Roza Freriks (DCHI) encouraged the participants to identify opportunities for collaboration based on two concrete humanitarian cases, which were kindly presented by Barbara Feres from UNICEF Nederland and Joost Möhlmann, from The Netherlands Red Cross.
Barbara highlighted the need to address problems regarding poor air quality in Mongolia, while Joost explained the challenges they are experiencing regarding electrification in the Gaza Strip. During the discsussion that followed, they received feedback from different sectors on their perception of the described problem and any possible solutions for these two cases. From the varying organisational context of the participants, the comments made offered a useful insight into the value of an alternative perspective when it comes to these dilemmas in Humanitarian Aid. The session thus created opportunities for collaboration between the humanitarian organisations, knowledge institutes, government representatives and entrepreneurs present.
The focus of our roundtable linked well to a primary message made by the keynote speakers; collaboration as a theme was strongly encouraged for the future progress of Access to Renewable energy, particularly across the private and public sector. The keynote speech made by Riccardo Puliti from the World Bank Group made the strong case that the acceleration within renewable energy can only be done through the transferring of knowledge. “The power of the private sector”, he explained, is one that that the public sector needs and should use as “we should never work alone. (…) When working together I am confident we can accelerate progress”.
Access to Modern Energy is increasingly recognized as an area of humanitarian concern. If communities affected by crises go without proper access to energy, it becomes impossible for them to meet the basic needs of life. In fact, if humanitarian organisations do not adequately address access to energy in their programmes, they risk contributing to the very same problems they aim to solve.