News Article | December 16, 2015
What can we do to help end poverty around the world? A crucial step for billions of people is access to energy. Every week, more than a million children are born into the world to feed, clothe and shelter. And the greatest growth in population comes from many of the least developed nations. Today, in this rapidly expanding world, 1.3 billion people still have no access to electricity, and nearly one in six people around the world lack access to clean and safe drinking water. More than 2.7 billion people still rely on biomass, like wood and dung, for cooking. Energy is crucial to lift people from a life of hardship and poverty. It powers schools, businesses, and hospitals, takes us to work, helps irrigate our crops, refrigerates our food, heats and cools our homes, manufactures the essential things we use every day, cleans our water, drives our economies. When we have energy, we tend to take it for granted. When we lose it for an hour, it’s an inconvenience, a day and it’s a big problem, a week and it’s chaos. When people don’t have access to energy to begin with, the challenge to move up from a life of poverty is all consuming. Traditionally, much of the resource, service provision, investment and technology to address energy poverty is driven by government policy / funding and corporate, institutional and financial sector investment. Initiatives following COP21 may over time help bring greater focus and funds at a national and regional scale to those in greatest need of access to energy. But as individuals we can each make our own contribution. Last year at this time I provided a list of non-profit and charitable organizations all helping end energy poverty at a variety of scales. Many of you contributed with funds and your own time and energy to these organizations and for that my thanks. I’ve updated the list for 2016 based on your suggestions. The list is certainly not all inclusive nor intended to be a specific endorsement but is a good and efficient starting point. I hope you find it useful and welcome your additions, critiques and ideas. Thanks in advance for your help. Acumen Borgen Project CARE Energy for All Engineers without Borders Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Grid Alternatives ImpactCarbon Innovation: Africa Light Foundation ONE Practical Action Pritzker Innovation Fund Rockefeller Foundation SolarAid Solar Electric Light Fund Solar Sister STG International UNICEF Unite to Light United Nations Foundation US Aid
News Article | December 19, 2016
The jury for the 2016 Zayed Future Energy Prize has selected the winners for the international renewable energy and sustainability awards, which will be formally announced at the awards ceremony on January 16th, 2017 during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. The Zayed Future Energy Prize awards are in five categories, which are Large Corporation, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), Non-Profit Organisation (NPO), Global High Schools, and a Lifetime Achievement Award, and the winners of this year’s awards were selected from among 30 finalists. For the Global High Schools category, one school from each of the regions of the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Oceania are selected, for a total of 9 awards for the Prize. “For nine years, the Zayed Future Energy Prize has been an influential platform for the much-needed action to resolve sustainability challenges facing our planet. Through the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the UAE has issued a call to action on a global scale. Today, we see that call has been answered by true industry pioneers, innovators and young people that are forging a path to sustainable prosperity.” – Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Chair of the Zayed Future Energy Prize Jury and Former President of the Republic of Iceland Although no finalist details were released for the Large Corporation and Lifetime Achievement Award categories, the finalists for the SME category were named as 1366 Technologies, sonnen, and 24M. 1366 Technologies is a silicon wafer manufacturer for the solar industry, and both sonnen and 24M are energy storage companies. For the NPO category, the finalists are Solar Sister, We Care Solar, and Practical Action. Practical Action “uses technology to challenge poverty in developing countries,” Solar Sister “eradicates energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity,” and We Care Solar promotes safe childbirth in developing countries with its Solar Suitcase devices. In the Global High Schools category, the finalists are: The Zayed Future Energy Prize awards a total of $4 million, with $1.5 million each going to the winners of the SME and NPO categories, $500,000 going to the Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and each of the five Global High Schools winners receiving $100,000. The Large Corporation award has no monetary value, and is a recognition award only. The fund comes from the government of Abu Dhabi as an honoring of the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the United Arab Emirates, and is managed by Masdar. “Our wise leadership established the Zayed Future Energy Prize to be a springboard for partnerships and innovations that will help solve global energy and sustainability challenges. Today, this mission has positively impacted the lives of more than 200 million people worldwide through an international community of prize-winners.” – His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Director General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize The jury for the Prize is chaired by Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, vice-chaired by former PM of the Republic of Korea Dr. Han Seung-Soo, and includes His Excellency Felipe Calderón, former President of Mexico; Her Excellency Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, President of the Federal National Council; Adnan Z. Amin, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency; Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the UN Foundation; His Excellency Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Chairman of Global Marketplace, Abu Dhabi; Ratan Tata GBE, Chairman of Tata Trusts; and Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group. More information can be found at the Zayed Future Energy Prize website. Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store! Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
News Article | December 22, 2016
One of the greatest gifts we can give is to help end poverty around the world: a challenge of overwhelming dimensions. But a crucial step is access to energy. I’ve provided links below to 25 organizations which are working to end energy poverty now. They can all benefit from your help and generosity. Imagine life without electricity, heat, refrigeration, adequate lighting and cooking facilities, air conditioning, modern transportation and health care, clean and safe water. When we are faced with these conditions for even a few days or a week following a natural disaster it creates a crisis we speak of for years. Yet this is the life billions live every day. When people don’t have access to energy to begin with the challenge to move up from a life of poverty is all consuming. More than 1.3 billion people still have no access to electricity. And almost three billion people still rely on biomass, wood, charcoal and dung for cooking, with disastrous health consequences. One in six people lack access to clean drinking water. What can we do to help end poverty around the world? Access to energy is essential. Traditionally, much of the resource, service provision, investment and technology to address energy poverty is driven by government policy / funding and corporate, institutional and financial sector investment. Large-scale global initiatives are essential and may indeed over time help bring greater focus and funds at a national and regional scale to those in greatest need of access to energy. But as individuals we can each make our own contribution, now. Last year at this time I provided the Second Annual List of non-profit and charitable organizations all helping end energy poverty at a variety of scales. Many of you contributed with funds and your own time and energy to these organizations and for that my thanks. Once again, I’ve updated the list for the coming year based on your suggestions. The list is certainly not all inclusive nor intended to be a specific endorsement but is a good and efficient starting point. I hope you find it useful and welcome your additions and ideas – simply adding your favorite organization as a comment to this blog would be the best way to get information into the hands of people who want to help. Thanks in advance for your consideration. Select Non-Profit Organizations, Foundations, Funds and Institutions Helping to End Energy Poverty Acumen Borgen Project CARE Energy for All Engineers without Borders Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Grid Alternatives ImpactCarbon Innovation: Africa Light Foundation ONE Practical Action Pritzker Innovation Fund Rockefeller Foundation SolarAid Solar Electric Light Fund Solar Sister STG International UNICEF Unite to Light United Nations Foundation US Aid New This Year: WaterAid America AidFor Africa OXFAM The Breakthrough Institute And One For the Families and Children of Aleppo UNICEF Aleppo
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: KBBE.2010.4-02 | Award Amount: 603.56K | Year: 2011
Much agricultural research is carried out in isolation from the realities of small-scale farmers in the South and has not recognised their local knowledge and creativity. INSARD partners regard agricultural research and development (ARD) as a process of innovation involving different participants making complementary inputs to produce research results that contribute to development. In this process, farmers do not merely receive new knowledge from research; they are involved in generating it. Smallholders and NGOs are already doing applied and adaptive research to answer questions to which formal research is not giving enough attention, e.g. how to improve local marketing systems. In bridging the gap and bringing smallholders and researchers into joint research on questions central to smallholders concerns, civil-society organisations (CSOs) in the South and the North can play a vital role. The main aim of INSARD is to ensure the informed participation of a broad range of European and African CSOs in formulating and implementing ARD. It will do so by: 1) Designing a structure for coordination and communication between European and African CSOs involved in ARD and in influencing ARD policy and practice 2) Identifying CSOs research priorities and a strategy to communicate these to other actors in ARD 3) Facilitating joint definition of specific research examples by CSOs and researchers, based on the smallholders priorities 4) Engaging in policy dialogue with key African and European research organisations and donors. The project will build up a more transparent system for CSOs to provide well-founded inputs and positions in the ARD agenda and its implementation, so that smallholders are central to publicly funded ARD. It will help make research more relevant for small-scale family farmers, including livestock-keepers. It will seek to achieve its aim by building on existing initiatives and networks in Europe and Africa that involve CSOs promoting smallholder-centred ARD.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: ENV.2011.5.1.0-1 | Award Amount: 1.27M | Year: 2011
The main aim of the AfriCAN Climate project is the development, operation and promotion of a web-based Knowledge Platform for efficient dissemination of climate change research results and good practices, to encourage users for uptake of success stories and research knowledge in new projects. Thereby, the project will contribute to mitigate climate change impacts on African regions and help communities to adapt to the changing climatic conditions. Emphasis will be placed on a variety of innovative and creative web functionalities (e-tools) when developing the interactive, multimedia, pan-continental, multi-lingual and interdisciplinary AfriCAN Climate Platform. The new platform visitors, the already registered users and the members of the online communities will be facilitated by the editorial team to actively participate in knowledge exchange and uptake of research results. The high profile consortium includes a large variety of experienced EU and African organizations, corresponding to the diversity of target audience addressed by the call. The experts in the consortium achieve full thematic, linguistic and geographical coverage to serve the African continents climate change knowledge needs. They will jointly build and continuously update a knowledgebase to feed the platform. Country fact sheets on climate change impacts will be developed for all 54 African countries. Strategic networking meetings with information multipliers and FP7 National Contact Points will be held on a regular base to encourage them to become active on the Platform by building climate change interest communities, or joining existing communities. On a yearly base, large promotional events will be organized, hosting the AfriCAN Climate Music/Art and Good Practice Award. Technical tours to good practice sites and workshops on uptake of lessons learn in good practice projects and financing will complement the networking activities and improve South-South Cooperation amongst African regions.
News Article | November 9, 2015
Power for All is a non-profit that is working to bring much more energy access to people in Africa. William Brent is the Director of Communications, Media & Content for the organization. He generously answered some questions about its work in Africa. Britain’s International Development Minister Grant Shapps announced new UK support to Power for All, what does this support look like in the most practical, concrete terms? Power for All is working closely with the UK’s Energy Africa program, which has set a goal of getting a dozen African countries to support the accelerated deployment of off-grid solar. Nigeria and Sierra Leone are already on board. Our funding is for mobilizing the private sector and civil society in those 12 markets, and in doing so helping to create the policy and financing environment needed to achieve energy access for the 620 million Africans without it. Specifically, we will engage key decision-makers to remove market barriers. No two markets are alike, and the campaign has created specific action plans for each. What are some specific clean energy successes your organization has been connected with? The fact that Power for All exists is already a huge success. It signifies that the market for off-grid renewable energy has gone mainstream, and now has a seat at the table in determining how the world develops a modern energy infrastructure that is equitable and sustainable. Distributed technology is ready to scale, and the financial world has finally woken up to the huge market potential for distributed solar, wind, biomass, micro-hydro and mini-grids. As a collective industry voice for this $500 billion opportunity, our main job (and metric of success) will be to highlight the successes of the entrepreneurs, companies and countries blazing a new path to democratized energy. What are some of your goals for the next three to five years? 2016 will be a watershed year for distributed renewables in emerging markets. Our immediate goal is to elevate the profile and collective influence of the sector globally and in key markets such as Sub-Saharan Africa and India. Additionally, we will recruit champions to carry the Power for All message at the highest-levels of energy policy and finance. That message is that energy access doesn’t have to wait until 2030 and cost $700 billion. It can happen by 2025 and cost 1/10th of the amount by scaling off-grid renewables. More than that, off-grid renewables are an engine for economic and job growth, and a magnet for investment. How many partners does your organization have? Power for All requires the action of many. We have committed to sign up at least 100 partners over the next year, including private businesses, multinationals, investors, industry groups, NGOs and even national governments. We expect to easily exceed that goal given the momentum of the off-grid renewable sector right now. Power for All started with a handful of partners, including Off Grid Electric, Nadji.bi, Sierra Club, d.light, GOGLA, Practical Action and Greenlight Planet. We’re seeing huge interest from the sector, and are adding new partners every week. What can individuals do to support clean energy development in Africa? Power for All believes that the market should do most of the work in supporting the scaling of off-grid renewables. That said, impact investing and social enterprises have a transitional role to play in priming the pump, and individuals can financially support those entities. You can also sign up at PowerforAll.org/take-action. We will be rolling out a series of actions in coming months that both organizations and individuals can participate in. Are you expecting that the coming clean energy explosion in Africa will birth a new generation of entrepreneurs? It already has. We estimate that 7,000 to 20,000 new businesses will need to be created to achieve universal energy access by 2030. Many great entrepreneurial ventures are already innovating new off-grid business models that are taking off, such as mobile pay-as-you-go solar and mini-grids. The level of talent that this sector is attracting is truly staggering. These are the people who will lead the next major revolution in energy services. We’re also seeing that this is much more of an inclusive movement, with women playing a much more significant role than the traditional energy industry. Which Africans most need clean, renewable sources of electricity? 2 of every 3 Africans – 620 million people – don’t have access to ANY meaningful sources of electricity. They all need it. Most of them live in rural areas that will never see grid extension. And by 2030 there will be another 450 million people in Africa under the age of 15. We need solutions that can reach people fast. And an often forgotten aspect of energy access is the multiplier effect it has in achieving many other development goals – poverty reduction, access to clean water, education, healthcare and climate action Will you focus on specific areas like electrifying remote village areas that are currently not near a grid, or that lack the funds for a grid connection? The off-grid solutions that Power for All is advancing are best suited for rural areas, especially as the technology costs continue their rapid decline. But we are also starting to see mini-grids gather steam, which have the potential to serve peri-urban communities. The grid in some urban centers is so unreliable and expensive that city dwellers are looking for other options as well, but our focus will be in remote areas that are likely to never see the grid reach them. Do you have any sense of the number of jobs that will be created in Africa as more and more clean electricity technology is installed and becomes operational? We’re collaborating with other organizations on more quantitative data to show the potential of the sector. Job creation is one key metric, and although comprehensive up-to-date data is still being pulled together, some strong indicators are already emerging about the huge potential. For example, a 2013 report from IRENA estimated 4.5 million jobs in the off-grid renewables-based electricity sector by 2030. Similarly, a UNEP study estimated that 15,000 new jobs have already been created in Africa due to off-grid solar lighting markets and that the sector could grow to half a million jobs in West African countries alone. Image Credit: Corrie Wingate, Solar Aid Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.” Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10. Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
Irfanullah H.M.,Practical Action
Bangladesh Journal of Plant Taxonomy | Year: 2013
Amid serious concerns over declining taxonomic research world-wide, Bangladesh showed positive trends over 1972-2002. Some important developments in the global arena over the last decade give a mixed view on the growth of taxonomic research. This demands revisiting Bangladesh's plant taxonomic research to identify major factors guiding its courses. Taxonomic papers published in three Bangladeshi journals and the Flora of Bangladesh (1972-2012) were analyzed using a scoring system. The present study reveals a four-fold increase in annual average of integrated taxonomic studies (those use knowledge of other branches of biology) over the last decade compared with the preceding decade. Conventional, inventory type taxonomic studies, on the other hand, has reduced by 15%. Studies on algae showed 42% increase in annual average, while studies on angiosperms remained unchanged. Although unpublished researches like Master's theses increased significantly in recent years, the number of published work has decreased. The possible reasons for such decline are no net increase in plant taxonomists over the last decade, taxonomists struggling to transform researches into publishable manuscripts, and enhanced reputation of Bangladeshi journals increasing the proportion of foreign papers (a situation termed as 'reputational backlash'). The paper envisages that classical taxonomic studies will dominate in Bangladesh in the coming decades given the enormous exploratory task awaiting the taxonomists. It concludes that to put taxonomy in the sustainable development discourse, taxonomists must change their perception towards their role in the society and proactively share their work with wider audience. © 2013 Bangladesh Association of Plant Taxonomists.
Irfanullah H.M.,Practical Action
Bangladesh Journal of Plant Taxonomy | Year: 2011
In the light of important developments in biodiversity conservation in the global and national arenas over the last decade (2001-2010), this paper appraises the progress in identifying threatened vascular plant species of Bangladesh as a primary step of species diversity conservation. It is argued that, as per the IUCN Red List categories and the Volume 1 of 'Red Data Book of Vascular Plants of Bangladesh' published in 2001, only four angiosperm species are threatened (1 Critically Endangered (CR), 1 Endangered (EN), 2 Vulnerable (VU)) in Bangladesh, not 106 vascular species. This account also records that, accordingly to the 'Encyclopedia of Flora and Fauna of Bangladesh' (2007-2009; Volumes 5-12), 36 pteridophyte species (all VU; 18.46% of 195 recorded species), 1 gymnosperm species (EN; 14.29% of 7 species), and 449 angiosperm species (30 CR, 126 EN, 293 VU; 12.43% of 3,611 recorded species) are threatened in the country. The paper discusses and explores the importance, limitations and opportunities for red listing of threatened plants of Bangladesh. This account further advocates for a well-planned initiative to effectively complete the Red List of threatened plant species of the country by considering appropriate, established, updated assessment methods; following collaborative approach; and capitalizing on the progress made so far. Such steps may subsequently contribute to the species diversity conservation endeavours in Bangladesh. © 2011 Bangladesh Association of Plant Taxonomists.
Thye Y.P.,Imperial College London |
Templeton M.R.,Imperial College London |
Ali M.,Practical Action
Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2011
Pit latrines are the most common forms of sanitation in urban slums and unplanned settlements in developing countries. Often, little consideration is given to how to deal with the pits once they fill up. The authors summarize pit emptying technologies that have been designed to date to overcome the problem of fecal sludge management in such settings and presents a framework to assist decision makers in identifying potential pit emptying methods based on local technical conditions. © 2011 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Irfanullah H.M.,Practical Action
International Journal of Environmental Studies | Year: 2012
Armed conflict affects the biological diversity and biological research regime of a country. This paper takes a low-intensity armed conflict in the biologically and ethnically diverse Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh, as an example, and assesses the response of biologists to this conflict. The study spans the last 50 years dividing it into three periods: pre-conflict (1961-1974), conflict (1975-1997) and post-conflict (1998-2011). Interactions with selected researchers and a literature survey showed that sporadic, intermittent biological research was conducted in this region even during the conflict. The number of research initiatives substantially increased and became more diverse over the last decade. Research opportunity has increased mainly because of improved security and accessibility. Nevertheless, despite the research capacity and a positive attitude among the researchers, some fundamental issues still limit long-term research in this area. The continuing volatile situation due to slow implementation of the 1997 Peace Accord and the tension between rebel factions and indigenous and settler communities in some areas continue to be serious concerns for studying and conserving the biodiversity of this region. Innovative research approaches and the full implementation of the peace agreement are vital to improving the situation for biological research in the CHT. The paper underlines the importance of a biologist's self-motivation to respond to low-intensity armed conflicts. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.