Clean Energy Challenge

Renewable energy & natural resource management

Clean Energy Challenge

15 December 2020
Clean Energy Challenge - solar panels

Pump Operator Abdelaziz Ibrahim, a refugee, cleans the photovoltaic cells every day in Um Gargour Camp, East Sudan

The Clean Energy Challenge (CEC) is an effort by individuals, businesses and organizations from all over the world to bring systemic change to displacement settings by replacing unsustainable energy with clean, modern energy sources that can be used for households, community services and humanitarian operations. Launched at the Global Refugee Forum with a 10-year ambition to deliver sustainable change, the Challenge has attracted 250 stakeholders in its first year and has already seen a number of its pledges fulfilled. 

Read more to discover how the Clean Energy Challenge is building momentum towards a greener future for refugees.

  • Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, the CEC was able to host four virtual Marketplace events where dozens of clean energy projects were presented for support to the multi-stakeholder group, including investors, businesses and practitioners.
  • Private sector partners Deloitte and Borealis have invested significant resources, while Schneider Electric and Victron Energy have, among others, contributed expertise to help develop prospects for clean energy access in displacement settings. 
Clean Energy Challenge - members graphic
  • Norway continued its role as an instrumental driver of the CEC, providing political, technical, operational and financial support. Norway also fulfilled its GRF pledge to support innovation for the greening of humanitarian responses by contributing 29 million NOK out of a total of 52 million to this end through its Humanitarian Innovation Programme and is continuing to finance NORCAP deployments of energy experts to humanitarian operations.
  • During a Norwegian state visit to Jordan in February 2020, Norway, in cooperation with the Norwegian Refugee Council, UNHCR and UNDP, organised a hackathon. The hackathon brought together refugees, humanitarian organizations, youth, start-ups, “tech geeks”, and Jordanian and Norwegian private sector organizations to find innovative solutions to humanitarian and development challenges within the energy sector. Meet the refugees behind one of the winning projects here
Clean Energy Challenge - Jordan 2
  • Canada has also achieved its goal to update their humanitarian assistance funding application guidelines for 2021 onwards to clean energy options in line with UNHCR’s sustainable energy strategy and the Clean Energy Challenge.
  • Germany is fulfilling its pledge to the GRF through financial and technical resources provided in the multi-year Energy Solutions for Displacement Settings programme in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, delivering on the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.
  • Uganda is progressing on its pledge to promote inclusive and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems. The country is integrating refugee settlements into both their national Sustainable Energy Response plan and their Water and Environment Sector Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities.
  • UNITAR, in its role as the Coordination Unit of the Global Plan of Action for Sustainable Energy in Displacement Settings, is fulfilling its GRF pledge to manage inter-agency processes seeking to decarbonize humanitarian energy infrastructure. It is also working to streamline the way energy data is reported across agencies -  seven knowledge-sharing webinars were hosted in 2020 despite challenges presented by the global pandemic. 

We continue to invite pledging entities to submit updates on pledge implementation. Please visit this page to submit a new update.


The following updates are not comprehensive but offer a snapshot of progress on pledge implementation. For further information, visit the Pledges and Contributions dashboard.

One year on from the Global Refugee Forum