United Nations Foundation Supports Clean Energy Development Efforts in Brazil

New York, NY

December 22, 2000


Alexis Krieg

Following up a July visit to Brazil, the United Nations Foundation (UNF) Board of Directors announced support for UN efforts to develop and implement clean energy development projects in Brazil.

“The Brazilian Government is working to improve rural community access to energy. These United Nations projects will help develop models that rural communities in our country can use to meet their energy needs, while also protecting Brazil’s natural heritage,” said Ruth Cardoso, UNF Board Member and First Lady of Brazil. “It is important that solutions to Brazil’s energy needs be developed here at home – these projects will build capacity for future renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts.”

In two grants, UNF will provide almost two million dollars to help the UN meet the energy needs of Brazil in an environmentally sustainable matter. In one grant, UNF support will help the UN Development Program (UNDP) leverage needed resources from the Brazilian government, private sector, domestic financial institutions and Inter-American Development Bank to provide off-grid, renewable energy service to poor communities in Brazil. In a separate planning grant, UNF will support design of a comprehensive project proposal aiming to catalyze substantial increases in energy efficiency investments in Brazil. The full project proposal is expected to be ready for future submission next year.

The Clean Energy Development Projects Receiving Funding Are:

Project Title: Promotion of Sustainable Markets for Renewable Energy Services in Rural Regions of Brazil
Recipient: UNDP
Amount: $1,613,843 over four years.

Recent studies indicate that 20 to 40 million people lack access to electricity in Brazil, the majority in the rural areas of the North/Northeast regions of the country. This project aims to promote sustainable market-based business delivery models and establish institutional supporting infrastructure to provide off-grid renewable energy services to poor rural communities in Brazil, while reducing or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions. The project will also promote income generating and productive use activities with the renewable energy services to ensure the financial sustainability of the service enterprises and improving people’s quality of life.

Project Title: Developing Financial Intermediation Mechanisms for Energy Efficiency Projects in Brazil, China and India
Recipient: The World Bank
Amount: $100,000 over six months.

Although studies have shown that the potential for greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction from energy efficiency projects in Brazil, China and India – three of the largest GHG emitting developing countries – is significant, a number of financial barriers has inhibited large-scale commercial investment in energy efficiency projects in the three countries. This planning grant aims to address the financing challenge and catalyze a substantial increase in energy efficiency investments in developing countries, specifically from domestic commercial financial institutions.

The promotion of community-based renewable energy and energy efficiency in the industrial/commercial sectors is a major priority within the UN Foundation’s Sustainable Energy/Climate Change Program. Through its grantmaking, UNF has funded UN efforts to improve the climate change capacity-building needs of developing countries, enhance the efficiency of electric motor systems in China and encourage establishment of an innovative alliance to identify, develop, and finance clean, self-sustaining rural energy start-up enterprises in Africa.


The United Nations Foundation was created in 1998 with businessman and philanthropist R.E. Turner’s historic gift to support UN causes. The United Nations Foundation promotes a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world through the support of the United Nations and its Charter. Through its grantmaking and by building new and innovative public-private partnerships, the United Nations Foundation acts to meet the most pressing health, humanitarian, socioeconomic, and environmental challenges of the 21st century.