Field: Carbon footprint, Dissemination of information, Resource monitoring, Sustainable living
Global Technical function: Sharing information
Technical Function Unit: Combining activities, Networking, Providing support (advise/consultancy), Raising awareness, Sharing expertise, Skills sharing, Sustainability criteria
Geographic Area: Denmark
Type of actors: Market players, NGOs, Policy makers, Technical centers & experts

GNESD: Global network on Energy for Sustainable Development

In order to help achieve the United Nations’ Milleniums Goals[1], the Member Centres of the UNEP[2] facilitated the GNESD[3] with carrying out an analysis and producing policy advice on energy related issues, thereby increasing access to clean and affordable energy.

The challenge

Target 7 of the Milleniums Development Goals is the assurance of environmental sustainability, particularly in less developed countries. Here, one of the main problems is that the access to cleaner energy services is limited.[4] Reducing the carbon footprint requires the joint effort and creativity of essential market players and policy makersProviding support, creating and supporting networks, as well as skills sharing by technical centres & experts, are also challenges linked to this enormous task. Combining activities shall hence improve the lives of those living in rural areas in developing countries, while also complying with sustainability criteria.


The network

At the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, the GNESD was launched as a result of UNEP’s collaborative work with a number of different organisations world-wide.[5] GNESD acts as a knowledge network of Member Centres of Excellence and network partners worldwide. Approximately 10 Member Centres and Associates carry out content-oriented projects, including sharing information, analytical studies and providing support for policy. The single body is comprised of local market players, NGOs and policy makers. It initiates ad-hoc working groups on topics such as the appropriate communication infrastructure to promote energy for sustainable energy and sustainable living.


The benefits

Joining GNESD means supporting its main objective: the analysis and production of policy advice on energy related issues with the aim of reaching the Millennium Development Goals. The GNESD Energy Access Knowledge Base is an ongoing collection of energy access cases in Africa, Asia and Latin America.[6] It includes policies, projects and programmes which have led to increased access to energy services for households, communities and small scale businesses. The results of the GNESD’s work are published in various articles and in-depth publications.[7] They focus, like the work itself, on particular topics such as biofuel, bio energy, and energy security. Member Centres and Associates coordinate joint activities within the fields shown above, organise the exchange and dissemination of information, carry out analytical studies such as resource monitoring and supplying policy support. The GNESD thereby makes it easier for each Member Centre to provide environmentally sound policy advice in relation to energy, in turn supporting sustainable development.[8]


Further deployment

The GNESD concept is ready for full scale implementation, qualifying for an estimated level 5 on the generic maturity scale GML.[9] Although the headquarters are based in Denmark, its Member Centres can be foundworld-wide. The GNESDs activities are financed by donations, public programmes, and activities which include strengthening the impact of GNESD members in the political sphere. In addition to its theme-driven workshops, the network organises policy dialogue panels which help sharing expertise and networking amongst this particular stakeholder group[10]. New Member Centres are welcome to join the effort towards raising awareness and increasing access to clean and affordable energy.

The eight milleniums goals:


[2] United Nations Environmental Programme,

[3] Global Network on Energy for Sustainable Development ,





[9] Generic Maturity Level: indicator for readiness of transfer of a certain process; following the scale of technology readiness ( The given value was estimated by the authors.