Energy is at the forefront of the global agenda. It is central to the issues of development, global security, environmental protection and achieving the SDG. In light of this, most developing countries have introduced targets to scale up renewable energy and energy efficiency markets and climate change mitigation throughout the next decades. However, weak innovation and absorption capacities of the domestic sustainable energy manufacturing and servicing industry have become a major bottleneck for the further uptake and sustainability of sustainable energy markets in many countries.
The development of sustainable energy projects requires important investments, which often impedes the deployment of these technologies in many regions. Due to the lack of local capacities, the domestic value and job creation effects along the value chain of sustainable energy investments (manufacturing and distribution, project planning and development, construction and installation, operation and maintenance, decommissioning and recycling) remain often very limited. Equipment and services continue to be imported. This has further catalyzed by export-driven donor programs, which lack of business and sustainability models. In contrast to fossil fuel based solutions (e.g. diesel generators), the supply and logistical chains for sustainable energy solutions remain underdeveloped and products and services remain not available.
In line with its mandate to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID), UNIDO is assisting developing countries to strengthen sustainable energy entrepreneurship, innovation and industrial development. With this approach, UNIDO addresses a major growth barrier for sustainable energy markets, reduces negative environmental externalities (GHG, local pollution) and promotes value and job creation simultaneously. In many regions, the sustainable energy sector is considered as a future growth sector, which offers business and employment opportunities particularly for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). SMEs create jobs and are essential for the overall development of the economy, accounting for 99% of the number of businesses worldwide.
The side event gathers a heterogeneous group of experts of sub-regional promotion centers and networks. During the event, they will take stock of the existing situation of sustainable energy private sector in the various regions and discuss the potential role of sub-regional approaches and incubation networks to promote sustainable energy innovation, entrepreneurship and industrial development. Best practices and methodologies from the European Union and the US will be shared and their applicability in the context of Africa and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) will be discussed.
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