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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Alianza Shire: Energy access to refugees and host communities

    Alianza Shire is the first multi-stakeholder partnership of humanitarian action in Spain. It works as a platform in which five entities from the public, private and academic sectors develop energy supply solutions to improve the services and quality of life of refugee populations and host communities. Its pilot project was developed from 2014 to 2017 and reached around 8,000 people from Adi-Harush refugee camp (Shire, Northern Ethiopia). The partnership is currently working in the project’s second phase (2018-2021), expanding to four refugee camps in the same region and their respective host communities, reaching more than 40,000 people.
    Expected Impact

    The implementation is possible due to the coordination with partners on-the-field, as well as implementing and facilitating actors that have infrastructure and personnel in the refugee camps. For instance, as a member of Alianza Shire, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation has a Technical Cooperation Office (OTC) in Addis Ababa, whose presence and influence have been relevant for the project’s deployment. <br />
    New solutions and strategies are co-designed and implemented with partners on the field, who have long experience in humanitarian action: the NGO ZOA (implementing partner for 2018-2021 project), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the Ethiopian Agency for Refugee Affairs (ARRA), the Ethiopian Electricity Utility (EEU) and the NGO Don Bosco / Jugen Eine Welt. As a collaborating partner, UNHCR plays a key role in these processes. <br />
    In addition, the teams of Alianza Shire members from Spain are in constant communication with the implementing and facilitating entities and carry out periodic trips to identify the main needs on the field, design innovative solutions, exchange information with other organizations and actors, and launch the solutions once designed. They then carry bilateral technical planning meetings to check on the project’s status, identify possible delays on any activity, and design some follow-up actions to fix them. <br />
    Some of the deployed staff on the field are volunteers who, in coordination with their company or entity, dedicate a part of their time to these projects. However, in most cases and mainly in the case of the university and public administration, it is designated staff who is dedicated to the partnership, all professionals of recognized trajectory in their fields.<br />
    The partnership has the vocation of seeking for technological solutions for access to energy with the following characteristics: sustainable on the long term adapted to other contexts of a humanitarian crisis, active participation from the project’s users. In this way, it is attempted to ensure that once the project is completed the refugee population and the host communities have the tools and experience to maintain and improve it.


    The partnership is conceived as a platform for innovation to develop energy supply solutions co-created with other actors that improve the services and quality of life of the refugees and people in the surrounding communities. Once those solutions are tested and documented, the partnership transfers them to humanitarian actors and offers support in their implementation when necessary. Alianza Shire does not attempt to become a conventional humanitarian operator. Given the specificities of the humanitarian context, there are other organisations with more appropriate experience, structure and resources, with which Alianza Shire works closely.<br />
    <br />
    The training approach proposed by Alianza Shire, as the partnership’s nature, is innovative: Traditional educational proposals that are hardly able to achieve the objectives of impact - in terms of employability and insertion – are left behind, betting on a more effective and efficient model. <br />
    <br />
    Hence, the education system in the camps has two different components. Firstly, basic and secondary education, following the national standards, which is usually facilitated by local entities (ARRA in Ethiopia) and UNHCR. Secondly vocational training. This periodical training aims at enhancing the capacity of refugee through trainings focused on specific business (for example: electricity, metallurgy, kitchen, electronics, etc). <br />
    The work that Alianza Shire has carried out since 2014, as well as the numerous previous experiences of its members in access to basic services, demonstrates that new relationship schemes and collaboration structures based on multi-stakeholder partnerships are needed. However, there is a lack of tools designed from practice, which makes it essential to generate independent spaces in which learning is systematized and innovation happens in different levels -technological, provision models, public policies, international frameworks, etc-.<br />
    Within the framework of Alianza Shire, the LABSHIRE was born as a space that complements the projects themselves and focuses mainly on knowledge management and innovation. LABSHIRE frames its work on three complementary scope areas: Research and Innovation; Training; and Knowledge Transfer and New Narratives, directed to three main objectives: take advantage of the project’s second phase 2018-2021, to develop transdisciplinary processes in Shire camps, systematize the experiences and generate new narratives, both from the project and from LABSHIRE itself, to share them with the international community, and generate evidence in order to influence decision-making processes and public policies creation on the management of refugee crises and on the need for boosting partnership work.


    The partnership’s governance is structured into three management bodies with equal participation from at least one representative from their boards.<br />
    Steering Committee. This committee works at the partnership’s strategic level, and it is made up of managers from each partner entity. This Committee is responsible for guiding the strategic mission of the partnership, its initiatives, and projects.<br />
    Management Committee. The Management Committee is made up of energy and project experts from each partner entity. According to the characteristics of the requested project, they can benefit from the support of groups of experts within their own organizations.<br />
    Communication Committee. It is composed of one member from each partner entity, who is an expert in communication. Its main tasks include managing the Partnership internal communication, developing communication protocols and planning an external communication strategy. It has also developed an internal communication platform containing all meetings minutes, news of interest and technical reports. <br />
    The nature of the partnership requires the intervention of a brokering entity that heads the mediation between all the parties and works towards co-creating a single understanding. Alianza Shire´s brokering entity is the itdUPM. Taking this into account, it assumes two different roles within the project and, hence, two different sets of responsibilities and authority. <br />
    On the one hand, the itdUPM coordinates and leads the work of the rest of the committees. This implies special duties and responsibilities for itdUPM, including coordination, preparation, and leading of meetings, and facilitation of the decision-making processes. On the other hand, as a University Innovation Centre, itdUPM represents the academy in the partnership, leading and conducting all innovation and knowledge management related activities. It connects the partnership with a range of researchers and practitioners who provide technical expertise in several areas and promote innovative project approaches. <br />
    As for impact evaluation mechanisms, these were held once the project was underway and in the light of some difficulties. A team of external consultants assessed the state of the partnership and analyzed symptoms, determined causes and offered possible courses of improvement. As a result, a first evaluation report came out in February 2015, followed by a “Lessons Learned” document from phase I. These two suggested the realization of a health-check of the partnership, finally executed in October 2018. Another internal analysis was carried out in June 2019, and there is a currently running process for an Impact Evaluation for phase II.

    o Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID),, the Water and Energy Foundation, Iberdrola, Signify, Innovation and Technology for Development Centre at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (itdUPM), and as collaborating partner: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

    Goal 7

    Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

    Goal 7


    By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services


    Proportion of population with access to electricity


    Proportion of population with primary reliance on clean fuels and technology


    By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

    Renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption


    By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency

    Energy intensity measured in terms of primary energy and GDP


    By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology

    International financial flows to developing countries in support of clean energy research and development and renewable energy production, including in hybrid systems


    By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support


    Installed renewable energy-generating capacity in developing and developed countries (in watts per capita)

    Goal 17

    Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

    Goal 17


    Strengthen domestic resource mobilization, including through international support to developing countries, to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection

    Total government revenue as a proportion of GDP, by source
    Proportion of domestic budget funded by domestic taxes


    Developed countries to implement fully their official development assistance commitments, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of ODA/GNI to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries; ODA providers are encouraged to consider setting a target to provide at least 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries

    Net official development assistance, total and to least developed countries, as a proportion of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee donors’ gross national income (GNI)


    Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources


    Additional financial resources mobilized for developing countries from multiple sources 

    Volume of remittances (in United States dollars) as a proportion of total GDP


    Assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief and debt restructuring, as appropriate, and address the external debt of highly indebted poor countries to reduce debt distress

    Debt service as a proportion of exports of goods and services


    Adopt and implement investment promotion regimes for least developed countries


    Number of countries that adopt and implement investment promotion regimes for developing countries, including the least developed countries


    Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism


     Fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, by speed


    Promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed


    Total amount of funding for developing countries to promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies


    Fully operationalize the technology bank and science, technology and innovation capacity-building mechanism for least developed countries by 2017 and enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology

    Proportion of individuals using the Internet


    Enhance international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries to support national plans to implement all the Sustainable Development Goals, including through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation


    Dollar value of financial and technical assistance (including through North-South, South‑South and triangular cooperation) committed to developing countries


    Promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization, including through the conclusion of negotiations under its Doha Development Agenda

    Worldwide weighted tariff-average


    Significantly increase the exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020


    Developing countries’ and least developed countries’ share of global exports


    Realize timely implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access on a lasting basis for all least developed countries, consistent with World Trade Organization decisions, including by ensuring that preferential rules of origin applicable to imports from least developed countries are transparent and simple, and contribute to facilitating market access


    Weighted average tariffs faced by developing countries, least developed countries and small island developing States


    Enhance global macroeconomic stability, including through policy coordination and policy coherence

    Macroeconomic Dashboard


    Enhance policy coherence for sustainable development

    Number of countries with mechanisms in place to enhance policy coherence of sustainable development


    Respect each country’s policy space and leadership to establish and implement policies for poverty eradication and sustainable development 

    Extent of use of country-owned results frameworks and planning tools by providers of development cooperation


    Enhance the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in all countries, in particular developing countries


    Number of countries reporting progress in multi-stakeholder development effectiveness monitoring frameworks that support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals


    Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships 


    Amount in United States dollars committed to public-private partnerships for infrastructure


    By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts


    Statistical capacity indicators

    Number of countries that have national statistical legislation that complies with the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics

    Number of countries with a national statistical plan that is fully funded and under implementation, by source of funding


    By 2030, build on existing initiatives to develop measurements of progress on sustainable development that complement gross domestic product, and support statistical capacity-building in developing countries

    Dollar value of all resources made available to strengthen statistical capacity in developing countries

    Proportion of countries that (a) have conducted at least one population and housing census in the last 10 years; and (b) have achieved 100 per cent birth registration and 80 per cent death registration

    Name Description
    Alianza Shire: Energy access to refugees - Case Study
    Alianza Shire: Energy access to refugees and host communities - Brochure Phase II
    Alianza Shire: Energy access to refugees and host communities - Brochure on the field
    Case study and evaluation report of project II - 2021
    Financing (in USD)
    Financing (in USD)
    No progress reports have been submitted. Please sign in and click here to submit one.
    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 January 2014 (start date)
    01 January 2021 (date of completion)
    Geographical coverage
    Madrid, Spain.
    More information
    Contact Information

    Xosé Ramil, Communication Coordinator for Alianza Shire