UNUnited Nations Economic Commission for Europe




The UNECE undertakes activities to assist countries in enhancing their energy efficiency, promoting the formation of an energy efficiency market in the countries so that cost-effective investments can provide a self-financing method of reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It also assists countries to address the financial, technical and policy barriers to energy efficiency and renewable energy investments.

For more information on UNECE work for energy efficiency see What UNECE does for you [issue No. 6, 6-27 November 2006]

Regional Analysis of Policy Reforms to Promote Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Investments:
Final Report (English)
Executive summary (English, Russian)

ECE Energy Series No. 37
Financing Global Climate Change Mitigation (English)

ECE Energy Series No. 32
Financing Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation Project
Investor Interest and Capacity Building Needs (English)
Заинтересованность инвесторов и потребности в наращивании потенциала (Russian)
Read more >



ENERGY EFFICIENCY 21 PROJECT (EE 21): www.ee-21.net


The Energy Efficiency 21 project is a region-wide project which aims to assist economies in transition to develop and promote sustainable energy policies, pursue energy efficiency strategies, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet international treaty obligations and enhance the security of energy supplies by producing the specific outputs from operational activities in the industry, housing and services, transport and energy sectors through national actions, bilaterally and multilaterally especially through the UNECE. EE21 project is an umbrella project under which the inter-regional, sub-regional and country-oriented projects are developed.


The project is guided and monitored by a Steering Committee composed of delegates from national participating ministries and institutions, international organizations and donor agencies. The Steering Committee determines the activities, results, work methods, participation, procedures, budget, calendar of events and timetable of the project, and secures cooperation from other interested parties.


Sub-regional projects:
Country-oriented project:
Inter-regional project:
Interdivisional cooperation activities:


The Sustainable Energy Division closely cooperates with other divisions, in particular the Environment, Housing and Land Management Division and Trade and Timber Division, to develop and implement projects of common interest on crosscutting issues that would assist governments in improving energy efficiency.

Sub-regional projects:

Financing Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Investments for Climate Change Mitigation (FEEI)
The project is to assist South-Eastern Europe (SEE) and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) countries to enhance their energy efficiency, diminish fuel poverty arising from economic transition and meet international environmental treaty obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The project will develop the skills of the private and public sectors at the local level to identify, develop and implement energy efficiency and renewable energy investment projects; provide assistance to municipal authorities and national governments to introduce economic, institutional and regulatory reforms needed to support these investments; and promote opportunities for banks and commercial companies to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through the development of new public private partnership investment fund.



FEEI Newsletter
FEEI Newsletter Issue 1
FEEI Newsletter Issue 2

The Regional Network for Efficient Use of Energy and Water Resources in Southeast Europe (RENEUER)
RENEUER was founded at the end of 1999 at the initiative of representatives of several countries from the region. It is a tool for promotion of sustainable development of municipalities and regions through rational use of energy and water resources. Within a short time all countries participating in Southeast European Co-operative Initiative (SECI) and the Stability Pact (now Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) joined the Network of the project. This is a typical “bottom up” initiative aimed at facilitating and promoting sustainable development of the municipalities and regions in Southeast Europe through initiatives for efficient use of energy and water resources. RENEUER focuses its activities to accelerate regional networking by enhanced Internet communications to provide value added information on project finance; promote Energy Efficiency Investments on the local (municipal) level, developing skills and capacities and develop regional policies to support energy efficiency investments and the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms.

Increasing Energy Efficiency for Secure Energy Supplies
This project promotes the development of energy efficiency investments projects designed to reduce the domestic consumption of hydrocarbons in the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and other Central Asia energy exporters in order to release additional energy resources which could be used for either for domestic consumption or to increase oil and natural gas exports, which will enhance security of supply. Read more

Development of the Renewable Energy Sector in the Russian Federation and in CIS Countries
This project promotes interregional cooperation to overcome energy policy, regulatory, institutional and financial barriers to the development of renewable energy resources in the Russian Federation and countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The expected accomplishments of the project include the increased capacity of national and regional experts to identify and adopt measures to overcome barriers to the development of renewable energy resources as well as an enhanced investment climate for deployment of renewable energy technologies in the Russian Federation and CIS countries. Read more

Country - oriented projects:

Removing Barriers to Energy Efficiency Improvements in the State Sector in Belarus
The project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by catalyzing current investments in energy efficiency in the state sector of Belarus. The project will target municipalities, state and communal enterprises in the district heating and combined heat and power sectors. The project objectives are to strengthen institutional capacity to support energy saving in the state sector; establish a track record for investments in sustainable energy efficiency projects in the state sector; develop straightforward financial “starter” mechanisms in a challenging investment climate to promote investments in the state sector; and overcome negative perceptions of incentives for energy saving in the state sector and provide local authorities and state enterprises with much-needed market information and training.

Inter-regional project:

Global Energy Efficiency 21 Project (GEE 21)
In November 2008, the ECE Committee on Sustainable Energy mandated the Global Energy Efficiency 21 Project to transfer the experience of the energy efficiency projects in the ECE region to other regions of the world. The goal of the project is to develop a more systematic exchange of experience on capacity building, policy reforms and investment project finance among countries of the other regions of the world through their UN Regional Commissions in order to promote self-financing energy efficiency improvements that raise economic productivity, diminish fuel poverty and reduce environment air pollution such as greenhouse gas emissions. The expected accomplishments are to increase the capacity of the regional commissions to provide effective energy efficiency services that promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to member States, as well as to improve capacity to develop, adjust and implement a global strategy to promote self-financing energy efficiency improvements.


GEE21 Read more>


Interdivisional cooperation activities:

Energy Efficiency in Housing: UNECE Action Plan
This is a joint project with UNECE Committee on Housing and Land Management (CHLM) that aims to assist UNECE governments to improve energy efficiency in the housing sector and enhance energy performance of buildings. The drafting of an action plan for energy efficiency in the UNECE region would represent an important capacity building tool for this.

The Action Plan would provide a list of gaps and constraints preventing countries from increasing the energy performance of buildings; identify possible solutions to overcome those constraints, also based on existing examples; identify the main actors that should be involved in the corrective action, identify the main steps for the corrective action, as well as identify related challenges and risks; f) identify potential partners that could assist in the implementation of the solution. The Action Plan is expected to be a practical tool for decision makers, and as such should be developed by policy-makers of member States in cooperation with the Secretariat, possibly through a number of consultations and dedicated workshops.

Wood Energy: Modern and Sustainable Heat and Power from Woody Biomass in South-Eastern Europe
The joint project of the UNECE Sustainable Energy Section and UNECE/FAO Timber Section aims to demonstrate the feasibility of converting municipal heat and power systems in the western Balkans to woody biomass from local renewable sources by raising awareness at the policy level and by preparing detailed project proposals for one or two municipalities in each of the participating countries.

The project aims to set up a network of interested municipalities in the countries of the region; organize reconnaissance expert missions to the pilot areas to assess the market for woody energy, to collect positive examples for wood energy projects implementation and to prepare regional feasibility reports including business case relevant data; organize a sub-regional workshop for policy-makers representing energy and forestry areas from target countries to raise awareness and to showcase examples where heat and power providers successfully switched to woody biomass; prepare project proposals to convert municipalities (one or two per participating country) from heat and power systems based on fossil fuels to systems based on sustainable woody biomass; organize a final conference to present pilot project proposals and lessons learned to the policy-makers and potential investors.



Energy Efficiency Investment Project Development for Climate Change Mitigation
With the support of the United Nations Foundation and co-financing partners, the Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation project has demonstrated that it is possible to identify, develop and finance energy efficiency and renewable energy investment projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Eastern Europe and the CIS. This is an important step for energy efficiency market formation in economies in transition and essential for further progress. The final report describes the results of the five-year project including some US$ 60 million of energy efficiency investment project proposals. The World Bank and other investors have approved financing for eighteen investment projects in Belarus, Bulgaria, Russian Federation and Ukraine for a total of US$ 14.9 million. These investments would reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 136,000 tonnes per year. In comparison, this is equivalent to the annual environmental benefits of:

  • Eliminating the CO2 emissions of 68,000 cars or;
  • Offsetting the use of 610 railroad cars of coal or;
  • Planting 15,000 hectares of forest.

Biomass Energy for Heating and Hot Water Supply in Belarus
The project addressed the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Belarus by increasing the capacity of the government to support biomass energy projects and the capacity of customers to finance and implement them. This project focused on strengthening institutional capacity to support biomass energy projects; establishing a track record for investments in sustainable biomass energy projects, including both fuel supply and demand; developing straightforward financial “starter” mechanisms in a challenging investment climate that will allow continued financing for biomass energy projects; and overcoming negative perceptions of biomass energy and provide public and private investors with much-needed market information.


Green Labels Purchase – making a greener procurement with energy labels

This sub-regional project included Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia. The objective of the project was to increase the use of energy labels in the procurement process in public authorities, the tertiary sector and administrations of industry and SMEs. The project aimed to achieve the raising of awareness and knowledge concerning energy labels as a simplifying instrument for “green” procurement in public and private departments; identification of main barriers against the implementation of energy related “greener” procurement and target specific actions to overcome them; developing and disseminating a set of standardized tools and a harmonized procedure to support a wider distribution of labelled products for “greener” procurement procedures; involving a selected group of public and private stakeholders in the development of a significant number of “greener” procurement pilot projects, based on labelled products and a standardized procedure to be used as the first step for the introduction of a comprehensive green procurement in Europe.


Development of Coal Mine Methane Projects in Central and Eastern Europe and CIS

This sub-regional project included Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation and Ukraine. The goal of this project was to facilitate financing of 3-6 coal mine methane projects in the CEE/CIS region during the life of the project, and to raise the awareness of the benefits that coal mine methane has in economic, social and environmental terms. Methane is a greenhouse gas with a radiant forcing 23 times greater than that of carbon dioxide emissions, and coal mining accounts for ten per cent of the total human-related methane emissions globally. This project sought to encourage the transfer and deployment of proven and experimental technologies to the areas within the CIS/CEE that have significant coal mine methane emissions.  In the past, a major barrier to further implementation has been the inability of CMM project sponsors to secure adequate capital to finance such projects.  Therefore, this project focused on addressing this barrier through preparation and presentation of bankable project documents for three to six coal mine methane projects;  dissemination of lessons learned to project sponsors through workshops and a dedicated website; and development of a financing “roadmap” at the conclusion of the project to assist project developers in the long-term.