Green & Equitable Recovery: Call to Action

Together with development finance, global energy, and multilateral agencies we commit to accelerate electrification as the cornerstone of an equitable, global economic recovery.

Even amid an era of unprecedented crises—including the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic which has caused incalculable damage around the world in just months —we have a remarkable opportunity to empower the world’s most vulnerable people.

As the world embarks on a historic recovery to a devastating pandemic, we join together today to call on people, communities, nations, international institutions, and the private sector to harness the power that can lead to a more equitable world. Our goal is both ambitious and achievable: to bring reliable and sustainable electricity, powered by renewable technologies, to a billion people by decade’s end. Our success will empower the world’s most vulnerable people with the opportunity to thrive in the 21st-century economy and rise out of poverty.

It is no exaggeration to say that humanity is at a crucial moment. The pandemic has already killed more than 1 million people, but that is only its most visible and tragic outcome. The devastation wrought by Covid-19 has pushed an additional 400 million people into poverty and made hundreds of millions of others more vulnerable to the next crisis.

By working together across countries, continents, and sectors, we the undersigned believe we can not only recover from this devastating pandemic but also make the world better, more sustainable, and more equitable than it was before Covid-19. All of us—whether we live in nations fragile or resilient, relatively poor or wealthy—have a responsibility to ensure this recovery addresses economic inequality.

At the center of our challenge is a stark fact: one in ten of the world’s people—around 800 million people—lack basic access to electricity, including half the population of Sub-Saharan Africa. And at least another billion people lack access to electricity that is reliable enough for farmers and entrepreneurs to secure their livelihoods.  These people are literally powerless to join the modern economy. Without reliable electricity, communities cannot provide healthcare, education, jobs, or safety for their residents; and without access to power, small and large businesses, communities, and entire nations cannot fulfill their economic and human potential.

Today, as the world begins a massively funded recovery to the pandemic, we commit to bringing reliable electricity with sustainable, environmentally-friendly technology to a billion of the world’s most under-served people by 2030.

To meet our goal, we must unleash the full potential of distributed renewable energy (DRE) systems, including technologies such as mini-grids, grid-connected local generation and storage, renewable power solutions for industrial and commercial clusters, and stand-alone commercial appliances. Over the past decade, fundamental breakthroughs have made these technologies more affordable, faster to deploy, and more impactful than ever before. Yet their potential is too often overlooked by governments, investors, and the international community.

By harnessing an unprecedented level of global capital and cooperation to advance these solutions—and spurring investment that builds the smart grid of the future—we have the potential to give hundreds of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people the opportunity to rise out of poverty.

  • Launch a global partnership to end energy poverty, bringing together local, national, regional, and international leaders, and institutions from the public and private sectors to unleash the full potential of DRE to improve the livelihoods of a billion people
  • Mobilize and coordinate concrete DRE roadmaps to unlock public and private capital flows into DRE technologies that will create local jobs, promote sustainable livelihoods, and build an environmentally–smart, resilient electricity grid of the future
  • Identify and support appropriate regulatory, policy, and financial regimes in partnership with national leadership that will build capacity and create an environment to increase renewable energy technology investments and associated economic development partnerships
  • Collaborate to enhance project development and new financing instruments to catalyze billions of dollars of additional annual investment in DRE projects in underserved markets

Today’s crises have made our world a far darker place than it was a year ago. But in that darkness, we see opportunities. By ensuring access to reliable, clean electricity to hundreds of millions of people, we can empower them to become far healthier, more resilient to future crises, and more prosperous. And when today’s crises become part of history, the future will not only be brighter, it will be more equitable.

  • Report

    Powering an Inclusive Covid-19 Recovery

    Learn more about The Rockefeller Foundation's perspective on a green and equitable recovery.
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