At the end of 2020, 82.4 million people were forcibly displaced globally. Forced displacement has grown steadily during the last decade, driven by intertwining phenomena such as climate change, poverty, food insecurity, and conflict.
Developing countries are disproportionally affected by the recent displacement patterns as they host over 85 percent of the world’s displaced population. With limited financial resources available, their energy infrastructure is often unable to manage the ever-increasing demand propelled by migration inflows. Subsequently, forcibly displaced persons (FDPs) and their host communities frequently lack access to safe, reliable, and affordable electricity procured through on-market resources and proper connections. Given the consistent rise in displacements and the importance of host communities, efforts to reach universal electricity access by 2030 need to focus on those who are forcibly displaced and who are often left behind.
Increased electrification does not only help progress towards SDG7, but it also means a reduction in gender-based violence and an improvement in the quality of life and economic opportunities for FDPs. Increased electrification also causes positive externalities for host countries, as they benefit from reduced stress on the country’s utility and limited government resources.
The Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP)’s Leave No One Behind Program (LNBH) works to provide safe, reliable, and affordable electricity for host communities and FDPs. In addition, the program aims to increase the number of World Bank Group operations and national electrification strategies where electricity access for FDPs and host communities is mainstreamed. The LNBH program focuses on internal collaboration with the global practices across the World Bank, such as the Fragile Conflict and Violence (FCV) group and its global program on forced displacement. It also collaborates with IFC and UNHCR, and these partnerships bridge existing gaps in financing, knowledge, and technical assistance that pose a challenge to addressing energy access issues.
The LNBH program carries out the following activities to support governments in developing countries:
- Supporting data collection to assess the local population’s electricity access needs and challenges.
- Working with local utilities, mini grid, and off-grid private sector stakeholders to develop approaches and business models for the electrification of displaced people and host communities.
- Guiding governments in developing countries to integrate support for host communities and households into national electrification strategies, plans, and World Bank projects.
- Promoting inclusion by ensuring that governments in developing countries make electrification efforts to address the needs of FDPs, particularly women and minorities.
- Compiling and disseminating knowledge products to provide insight and share lessons learned with international and national key players in the energy sector.
Yemen: In 2021, during the COVID-19 outbreak in Yemen, the LNBH team conducted assessments on electricity access expansion, institutional arrangements, and market conditions. These efforts contributed to restoring reliable electricity supply and the provision of affordable electricity in the country.
Activities in Africa: The program provides support for the electrification of displaced people and their host communities in Bangladesh, Mozambique, the Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin, and the Horn of Africa. These efforts will develop an extensive knowledge base to inform future World Bank operations.
Energy, displacement, and health nexus: Leaving No One Behind is supporting the World Bank’s Health Global Practice to rollout Covid-19 vaccines in displacement settings in Ethiopia. This intervention is the first of its kind, and brings together actors belonging to ESMAP, the World Bank, NGOs, CSOs, agencies and client countries together towards a shared goal.
Energy and gender: LNBH is integrating gender-specific initiatives in its portfolio, including a report on electricity access and gender in displacement settings, operational support to World Bank projects, and livewires.
Climate displacement: LNBH is developing cutting-edge research to address the relationship between climate change and displacement, and to identify opportunities to support World Bank operations in this field.
Knowledge Creation: The program compiled the Leaving No One Behind: Rethinking Energy Access Strategies in displacement settings report, which provided an overview on how humanitarian agencies and host governments address the energy challenges. It also laid out guidance for development institutions seeking to tackle the current displacement crisis.