17 December 2019

COP 25 in Madrid: our concrete cations to ensure universal access to energy and climate protection

As announced last September during the “Climate Week” in New York, Electriciens sans frontières was invited to take part to COP 25 in Madrid, notably to be awarded the UN award for Climate Action for actions carried out in the Dominica.

For an organisation like ours, dedicated to carrying out concrete actions to enable poor people on our planet to access clean and sustainable energy, COP is a key venue to engage into discussions with the main players who fight against climate change. It is most of all an opportunity for us to demonstrate the efficiency of off-grid solar solutions deployed in rural isolated areas or in case of emergency.

While negotiations between countries have so far led to unsatisfactory results and given the urgency and the importance of the problem, Electriciens sans frontières together with other players involved keeps on deploying solutions that are fit for purpose on the field.

Thus, an Electriciens sans frontières delegation exchanged intensively with institutional players, notably with the French Minister of Energy Transition and other organisations from civil society to business. Our NGO organised within the Pavillon France an event dedicated to energy transition on islands, with participants from the AFD, EDF, the ADEME and Schneider Electric. It also organised a session to present innovative actions in the frame of the “Action Hub” of the United Nations for Climate Change. It finally participated to two roundtables dedicated to projects that received UN awards.

Concrete actions with view to universal access to energy and climate protection

During these various occasions, Electriciens sans frontières put forward concrete and recent exemples of projects on three continents, both in emergency and long term situations.

Most part of our interventions were on our project in Dominica, awarded by the UN. After hurricane Maria in September 2017, we secured the energy supply of medical centres, while improving their resilience to extreme weather conditions and contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions of the island.
We also presented our project “Light for the Rohingyas“, carried out this year in Bangladesh, with the objective of providing educational background to refuges to install, repair and maintain solar installations (lamps, kits, lamp posts). This project enabled reinforcing people’s safety, in particular women’s and children’s, and their autonomy, as the traineeship encompassed the basics of entrepreneurship, in order for technicians to create their own business.
The “Café Lumière“, project, in its final stages in Madagascar, was also honoured: in this long term project, Electriciens sans frontières deploys shops associated to solar power plants and micro electric networks, in order to propose isolated people services based on clean and sustainable energy.

These three examples of concrete actions show quite well that the main objective of the 1300 Electriciens sans frontières volunteers is to enable the poorest people on Earth to access clean and sustainable energy, thereby facilitating human and economic development, while safeguarding the environment, and notably the climate. If the political result of COP 25 is disappointing, it should not obscure neither the massive and growing engagement of civil society, nor the many actions carried out on the field!

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