Sustainable energy for the Arab states


Achieving energy efficiency is a matter both of technology and skills development. Cooperation between Arab states allows several countries to leverage investments in institutional infrastructure to the benefit of all.

  • Executing agency: UN/DESA Division for Sustainable Development
  • Senior advisor: Mr. Yehia Abu-Alam
  • Start date: 1 November 1996
  • End date: 28 March 2003
  • Total budget: USD 1,699,171

Based on concepts directed toward the sustainable use of energy resources, the project addresses increased energy efficiency, renewable energy supply, and the environment, and also promotes multi-sectoral themes with respect to management and administrative performance, technology transfer and institution-building. Successful technology transfer involves both individual training and upgrading of the corporate and institutional infrastructure to allow the training to be applied. Consequently, significant project resources are directed at human resource development in conjunction with the reinforcement of the associated institutions and organizational relationships. In addition to training and human resource development, the project also addresses the UN global themes of natural resource management, maintenance of environmental quality, technology for development and technical cooperation between developing countries.

Project activities promoting energy end-use efficiency include: low and no cost energy efficiency improvements in target sectors of at least five countries; promotion of and support to energy service companies (ESCOs) which provide energy efficiency services; assistance in development of incentives and financing and credit schemes to encourage adoption of energy efficiency measures; identification of a portfolio of bankable projects for future funding based on the completion of twenty energy audits in four end-use sectors of five target countries; and training to incorporate energy end-use technical standards into national appliance labeling programmes.

The project will also strengthen the capacity of electric utilities in participating countries to develop integrated resource planning (IRP) processes, through: training of core staff from selected utilities in at least five countries in IRP planning techniques, implementation of demand-side management programmes, and ways to support ESCOs and decentralized power supply; preparation of integrated resource plans for 2-3 electric utilities (in different countries); performance of a demonstration project of demand-side management measures in a selected electric utility.

In promoting renewable energy for rural development and poverty alleviation the project will undertake various capacity building initiatives, including: performance of a baseline study of rural energy use and development schemes in the region, permitting better definition of rural energy programmes; training of officials from government and NGOs in renewable energy policies and planning (including gender issues), promotion of entrepreneurial activity, and financing mechanisms; training of entrepreneurs in five countries in manufacture, supply and service activities related to renewable energy systems, as well as in gaining access to financing and credit mechanisms; strengthening of service and maintenance infrastructure and skills to ensure the sustainability of rural energy systems; and improving regional cooperation through joint promotional measures, adoption of normative guidelines for assessing local impacts and benefits, and standardization of equipment and engineering practices.

The project's institutional arrangements are interesting in that each of the project's three immediate objectives will have a working group of countries selected on the basis of their local energy situation vis-a-vis the particular immediate objective. Each working group will have a convenor country responsible for coordinating the activities and outputs related to that objective. Each participating country will nominate one of its professional energy experts as the national coordinator chosen by the government and will be responsible for promoting close interaction of the regional activities with related national programmes and institutions.