LI Yong, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), says, “UNIDO sees its role in the climate change field as a catalyst for scaling up investments in clean energy solutions, strengthening policy frameworks to create an enabling environment and to secure funding for increased market penetration of renewable energy, energy efficient and low carbon technologies”
One way that UNIDO mobilizes funds for climate action is through its partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF). UNIDO became a full implementing agency for the GEF in 2006 and, since then, has received GEF funds to work on issues related to climate change mitigation (renewable energy and energy efficiency), as well as international waters and chemicals (persistent organic pollutants, mercury and e-waste).
The primary energy supply for industry is provided by the combustion of fossil fuel. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, industry accounts for around 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Recognizing the role of industry for global climate action, UNIDO and the GEF have developed their cooperation around the cross-cutting areas of SDG7 on sustainable energy, SDG9 on industrial development, infrastructure and innovation, and SDG13 on climate action.
Climate action involves both mitigation, preventing further impacts of climate change, and adaptation, helping communities adapt their livelihoods to unavoidable changes.
UNIDO’s long-term partnership with the GEF has allowed it to mobilize GEF grants with a multitude of cooperating partners, from governments to the private sector and financial institutions. Over the course of the five year period, 2012-2016, UNIDO gained approvals of $278.4 million in GEF project grants. In 2016, UNIDO was implementing 81 GEF-funded projects within the GEF’s thematic focal areas of climate change.
With support from the GEF, UNIDO designs and implements energy and climate change projects to increase energy efficiency and access to renewable energy for productive uses, building low-carbon industrial value chains. Besides curbing GHG emissions, these measures also reduce operational costs and make industries more competitive.
Renewable energy for productive uses
GEF-backed UNIDO projects to reduce carbon emissions include the development of policies and regulatory frameworks that facilitate renewable energy installations, generate technical innovation and foster the dissemination of technology and know-how.
In Tanzania, for example, a GEF-4 project stimulates sustainable industrial productivity with a two-fold approach based on new small hydropower installations and building local technical capacity. UNIDO is providing clean electricity for productive purposes, while also developing an associated local workforce in the manufacturing and technology development of hydro turbines.
As a result of the project, one 10 kW, two 50 kW and one 80 kW locally manufactured cross-flow turbines are already operating in Tanzania. Another eight small hydropower plants with a cumulative capacity of 5 MW using different business models are at various stages of execution. The first facility alone directly prevents emissions of 6,300 tCO2e each year.