RENFORUS Initiative - Renewable Energy Futures for UNESCO Sites

Energy is at the heart of human, social, economic, and sustainable development issues. Decisions taken on the use of energy sources and on the technologies to use have a major influence on opportunities for development, as well as on the wellbeing of human beings and ecosystems. Energy and environment issues cannot be dissociated with development concerns and they are linked to other physical resources like forest and agriculture, water, land, air, in fact the entire biosphere.

Energy is also at the core of the climate mitigation agenda. As energy demand continues to grow, the ability to address energy issues, including energy access, efficiency, and renewable energy sources, will be paramount in enabling development and climate change priorities to be met in a mutually reinforcing way.  In the phase following the 18th Climate Change Conference - COP18, and as identified by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development - RIO+20, there is a need to address energy as the main and critical driver of sustainable development and the new global Climate Change deal.

In this context, renewable energy has become a cornerstone of the UN strategy. The aim is to anticipate the solutions to avoid events that mortgage our common future over time. Access to basic, clean and affordable energy services is essential for sustainable development and poverty eradication and can provide major benefits in the areas of health, non-delocalized job creation, socio economic empowerment and equity.

Addressing the challenge of a new sustainable energy system involves an increased use of renewable energy sources. Renewable sources of energy offer win-win solutions by increasing the access to energy while reducing environmental impacts and mitigating climate change. This requires local competencies as well as endogenous scientific capacity as a foundation for an enhanced knowledge of the different related technologies and their adaptation to different contexts and needs.

Objective

© Fuerteventura biosphere reserve

The objective of the RENFORUS initiative is to provide the international community with global climate change field observatory sites involving the sustainable use of environmentally sound renewable energy sources in UNESCO Sites (Biosphere reserves and World Heritage Sites). While addressing climate change mitigation, this initiative will also aim to demonstrate the benefit of harnessing the locally available renewable energy sources and their potential impacts on the environmental and ecological preservation of UNESCO sites.

It will also act as a component for strengthening capacities by facilitating access to information and the exchange of experiences between local and regional energy actors in UNESCO sites. RENFORUS will promote good practice case studies, namely projects that have demonstrated positive results in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency and have the potential to be replicated.

Contact

For general information about UNESCO's renewable energy activities, please contact the Responsible Officer, Mr Osman Benchikh: o.benchikh(at)unesco.org

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