Hivos and its partner organisations campaign at national and international level to reduce climate change and alleviate poverty by opting for 100% renewable energy. We scrutinise policy and funding schemes of international institutions such as the European Union and the World Bank and donor and recipient countries to influence them to support decentralised, renewable energy access that suit the poor.
Nice wording, disappointing practices
Globally, billions of people do not have access to (clean) energy. Donors, governments and international institutions often support energy access as a development tool, but in practice they mainly invest in large-scale fossil-fuel plants and centralised energy grids. Yet people living in poverty in remote, rural areas and on islands will never beconnected to these grids and so will remain deprived of one of the basic conditions of a modern society: access to energy.
Decentralised, renewable solutions
Hivos and its partner organisations aim to change this practice. Our advocacy strategy is twofold: we urge donor countries, the European Union and the World Bank to support decentralised, renewable energy solutions that suit the poor. But we alsosupport NGOs in developing countries to increase the demand for (renewable) energy access in remote locations. In East Africa for example, Hivos and its partners bring together civil society organisations working on energy access. They develop joint strategies to influence governments and donors, identify problems and come up with policies and activities to scale up existing renewable energy successes.
In the past few years we have seen some promising opportunities. At the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012, several countries made pledges to achieve the 'energy access for all' goals. Now Hivos and its partners work to ensure that funds pledged will be spent on renewable energy projects that benefit mainly the (rural) poor.
Renewable energy campaign in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands,Hivos encourages governments, businesses and citizens to fight climate change and organise a rapid transition to renewable energy sources. Together with our Dutch and European partners, such as Climate Action Network, we call on the government to stop subsidising fossil fuels and put renewable energy at the forefront of its policies. Hivos engages in debates about climate change and poverty alleviation with opinion leaders, publishes reports, blogs and articles, talks with policy-making officials and organises public conferences.
Hivos also urges businesses to assume their responsibility for the global climate through a special Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme. After research we commissioned found that data centres consume huge amounts of energy and contribute enormously to Dutch CO2 emissions, welobbied the ICT sector to switch to renewable energy sources in our Green ICT campaign. As a result both energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources are on the agenda of commercial data centres, e.g. in the Amsterdam Region, which is the focal point for commercial data centres in the Netherlands.
Just like citizens, businesses can directly support people in developing countries by financing the renewable energy projects run byHivos' partner organisations, for example through the Hivos Climate Fund. This consists of funds from private individuals and businesses in the Netherlands, which are allocated to sustainable energy projects in Asia, Africa and Central America.
Citizens can - and are often willing to - contribute to a healthier climate by switching to renewable energy sources. Hivos persuades them, to come up with innovative ways to save energy and to use green energy. For that same reason we involve people directly by asking them to support the Sumba initiative, for example through the exciting 'Expedition Sumba: Island of the Future' project. We were able to take a much wider audience along with the expedition team that travelled to Sumba, showing people in the Netherlands what it means to live without access to (clean) energy. Through free publicity and social media, Hivos reached more than 2 million people in the Netherlands. The campaign not only created awareness but also stimulated people to come into action and donate for Sumba.