UN-Energy was initiated as a mechanism to promote coherence within the United Nations family of organizations in the energy field and to develop increased collective engagement between the United Nations and other key external stakeholders. Its envisaged role was to increase the sharing of information, encourage and facilitate joint programming and develop action-oriented approaches to coordination. It was hoped that it would develop into a systemwide network open to all and a mechanism by which a range of organizational actors could work with the United Nations to ensure a more coherent approach to addressing energy issues.
In August 2007, Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General, United Nations Development Organization (UNIDO) was elected Chair and Olav Kjorven, Assistant Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Vice Chair. Secretariat services are provided by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).