RENFORUS in action

© UNESCO/ Petit, Béatrice
Solar panel, Mafate (Reunion, France)

The RENFORUS Initiative strives to demonstrate the value added of UNESCO sites as privileged windows for developing sustainable energy projects based on the maximum use of renewable energy sources. This initiative aims to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy in a selected number of UNESCO sites that could serve as global climate change field observatories as well as models of Sustainable Energy Communities.

While addressing climate change mitigation, this initiative aims to demonstrate the benefit of harnessing the locally available renewable energy sources that could replace other energy sources with negative impact on the socio-ecological system of UNESCO sites. At the level of local communities and households, renewable energy can ensure access to basic energy services even in the most remote areas, including lighting and communications, transport, cooking, heating and cooling and pumping water. Thus, besides contributing to climate change mitigation, it will also help address local sustainable development.

The Initiative will include the following main actions:

  • Mobilize UNESCO sites for field learning on renewable energy solutions and commitment to the efficient use of energy;
  • Offering a platform for interconnection between multi-stakeholder actors working in the renewable energy field, identifying barriers and working to bridge existing gaps to increase the maximum deployment of renewable energy;
  • Disseminate opportunities, advantages, and practical applications of renewable energy technologies in UNESCO sites: photovoltaic, geothermal, biomass, wind, solar thermal, and small hydropower;
  • Develop a system of consultations with authorities and managers of each site  to identify opportunities, barriers and challenges related to  renewable energy uses/policies;
  • Identify the good practice case studies as projects that demonstrate a positive contribution to energy efficiency and the use of renewable and are suitable for replication by energy actors at local and regional level;
  • Promote capacity building and awareness-raising on the use and application of renewable energy systems targeting local communities, including an advanced web platform focusing on renewable resource potential in UNESCO sites;
  • Promote the use of renewable energy systems for the electrification of public and local community facilities in the selected sites;
  • Draw up a status report of renewable energies in UNESCO sites, which would include identifying good practices, the selection of priority-sites and the opportunities to replicate successful experiences;
  • Promote partnerships with leading public and private stakeholders, including international organizations, networks, renewable energy industry, NGOs and governments interested in supporting the Initiative.
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