The Global Platform for Action (GPA) on Sustainable Energy in Displacement Settings is the global initiative to promote actions that enable sustainable energy access in displacement settings, as laid out in the Global Plan of Action Framework.

The GPA strives to remove barriers to energy access in humanitarian settings by providing a collaborative agenda for energy, development, and humanitarian partners to deliver concrete actions of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) in displacement contexts. It promotes and contributes to the humanitarian sector's transition to renewable energy, which will increase efficiency and reduce costs and carbon emissions. Hosted by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the GPA Coordination Unit facilitates collective action towards the realization of the GPA Framework.



Today, over 130 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance due to conflict, natural disasters, and other complex global challenges. For many of these people, access to energy sources is critical for survival, and how they access it impacts their health, livelihoods, safety, and well-being. Energy is critical for essential activities such as cooking meals, heating shelters, cooling vaccines, charging mobile phones, and powering humanitarian operations. Lack of access to safe and sustainable energy exposes displaced women and girls to heightened risks of sexual and gender-based violence as they travel long distances to collect firewood and navigate poorly lit communal spaces.

Energy access for displaced people is not prioritized in the global humanitarian system. Current energy practices in situations of displacement are often inefficient, polluting, unsafe for users, and harmful to the surrounding environment. Moreover, institutional humanitarian operations such as water pumping, community lighting, and health clinics rely heavily on unsustainable fossil fuels, costing hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Given the complex nature of humanitarian response and the challenges of integrating sustainable energy solutions into the humanitarian program cycle, there is not just one solution but a need for systemic actions to mobilise resources, build capacity and use the opportunity for energy solutions to enhance impact in sectors such as health, protection, food security, and WASH.


Displaced persons, host communities, and associated humanitarian response mechanisms have access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy services by 2030.


Delivering collective change on energy in displacement settings by providing supporting services to mainstream sustainable, affordable, and reliable energy access for crisis affected communities and those that serve them.

Guiding Principles

  • Ensure priority involvement of displaced people, host communities and host governments from planning to implementation
  • Develop context appropriate solutions, no ‘one size fits all approaches, as energy is not an end in itself, but a means to enable human development
  • Promote recovery and self-reliance
  • Integrate gender sensitive approaches
  • Focus on local solutions and financial sustainability
  • Adhere to the ‘do no harm’ principles


The GPA is categorized in five thematic working areas that address current challenges and barriers to achieving access to sustainable energy for displaced people. The thematic working areas are Planning and CoordinationPolicy, Advocacy and Host Community ResilienceInnovative Finance and FundingTechnical Expertise and Capacity Building; and Data, Research and Evidence. Working groups around each of these thematic areas are facilitated by experts of the GPA Steering Group.

GPA Support Structure

The GPA Framework is to be delivered by:

  • The Steering Group, which provides strategic leadership, direction to the GPA.
  • The Coordination Unit, which provides day-to-day support to the Steering Group, task forces, Clean Energy Challenge, Humanitarian Energy Exchange Network, and coordinates the activities of the GPA.
  • The Working Groups or Task Force, who develop and deliver, in their own capacity, the activities of the Work Plan across the five thematic Working Areas.
  • The Clean Energy Challenge, which is a key campaign for meeting SDG7 in displacement settings by 2030, co-led by UNHCR and UNITAR as the GPA Coordination Unit and contributing to achieve the goals set out in the GPA Framework document.
  • Humanitarian Energy Exchange Network, which integrated Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) Working Group into the GPA to allow coordination between humanitarian agencies working on energy projects in displacement settings.


Seeking partners with financial, political and technical support available to contribute to improving energy access for displaced and host communities.


The GPA is steered by a group of UN and international organizations consisting of the UNITARUNHCRIOMGIZWFPFAO, UNEPUNDP, Chatham HousePractical ActionClean Cooking AllianceMercy CorpsSustainable Energy for AllSNVLifeline Fund, and MECS. The GPA Coordination Unit is hosted by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and kindly supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, the NorwayNORCAP and MECS.

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