UN stimulates energy efficiency investment in Asia-Pacific and Europe

File Photo- Hamilton, Canada - Gas emissions at the largest steel manufacturing complex in Hamilton, Ontario. Photo Credit:Kibae Park/Sipa Press

From reducing energy use in schools in Kazakhstan, to improving manufacturing processes in the industry sector in China, energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and enhance energy security, but financing is still a major hurdle for many developing countries.

Recognizing this challenge, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), held a workshop in Bangkok this week, as part of a global project aimed at improving the capacity of countries in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe to attract investment in energy efficiency projects.

The key objectives of the project: ‘Promoting Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation and Sustainable Development,’ are to help project developers prepare financially sound and bankable project proposals in order to secure funding from financial institutions, and to promote policies that will support investment in energy efficiency projects.

“While generally the current situation in developing countries and countries with economies in transition does not favour private investments in energy efficiency, projects like this offer an opportunity to improve the situation by making energy efficiency attractive for investments,” said ESCAP’s Energy Security and Water Resources Section Chief Mr. Hongpeng Liu, in his closing remarks.

To date, significant progress has been made in attaining funding for project proposals developed through the global energy efficiency investment project. The workshop found that of the 27 investment projects from Asia-Pacific and Europe being considered under the capacity development project, eight had secured financing from various sources (equity, commercial loans, soft loans, grants, government funding, international financing institutions and mezzanine financing) and 19 projects were in various stages of applying for financing for implementation.

The ‘Promoting Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation and Sustainable Development’ project has been implemented by all United Nations Regional Commissions since 2012 in order to strengthen the capacity of their Member States to attract investments in this critical area.