Leaving no one behind: rethinking energy access programs in displacement settings

Forcibly displaced persons (FDPs) are among the poorest and most vulnerable segments of population. At the same time, they are those who are most likely left behind by governments, development actors, and the private sector. Many FDPs, especially children, experience major traumas such as war and persecution, forced displacement from home, poverty, or violence. These conditions create a vicious circle of poverty, trauma, and loss that the displaced are often unable to break. In this challenging context, access to energy can play a key role to improve the living conditions of FDPs. The report outlines a set of recommendations to address the key barriers that impede optimal energy practices in displacement settings. Such recommendations represent sectorial building blocks meant to work synergically to reshape energy access interventions in a more inclusive, sustainable and effective manner. The report argues that the World Bank and its Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) unit are uniquely placed to lead the efforts needed to tackle the displacement crisis as a development challenge. The World Bank’s strong client focus, technical expertise, long-term perspective, and commitment put it in a key position to provide innovative financial resource solutions, along with technical and advisory services, to promote private involvement and enhance local capacity. ESMAP can facilitate this work via the Leave No One Behind program, the first initiative within the World Bank Energy and Extractives Global Practice to address the drivers and impacts of forced displacement. The recommendations outlined in this report, led by the concerted efforts of the World Bank and the humanitarian actors, will help governments and agencies streamline electrification efforts for people affected by the displacement. This renewed approach to the provision of access to energy services will be vital to improve the quality of the lives of the most vulnerable.