Energy drives development, but our continued unsustainable and inefficient energy use impedes progress in areas such as health and climate change, and creates socio-economic barriers to equal development for all. With more than 1.2 billion people still without access to electricity, and billions more relying on biomass or coal for cooking, connecting households to modern sustainable energy is a vital element for realising all the Sustainable Development Goals.
UNU focuses on the efficient use of natural resources and on boosting sustainable energy sector expertise through targeted capacity development. Our Iceland-based geothermal training programme provides leading on-the-job education for emerging energy planners and engineers from developing countries. And by exploring overlapping natural resource use, our research is determining integrated practices to improve energy efficiency and resource recycling, making modern energy production cleaner and more affordable.
“Global problems should be tackled by local solutions. My work at the UNU is guided by a vision of an Africa managed by its own citizens and acting as a dynamic force in the international arena. I am passionate about promoting higher education, science, and technology on the African continent to achieve this vision.”
Climate change poses many challenges to Africa’s key sectors, including water and energy. This project trains Africans to implement the kind of innovative scientific research methods that will generate solutions to ensure water and energy security on the continent.
This project seeks to change the way that we think about wastewater. By analysing a properly designed and operated constructed wetlands, it will demonstrate how this low-tech alternative can collect and treat wastewater, provide sanitation, generate plant-sourced energy, create biodiversity shelters, and clean polluted sites.
With the growing need to decarbonise our global energy portfolio, geothermal power represents an increasingly important source of clean energy. This six-month programme provides trainees — many from developing countries that have geothermal potential — with hands-on opportunities to actively work on research, exploration, and development of geothermal energy.
Wastewater as a Resource: The Water-Waste-Energy Nexus in Sub-Saharan Africa
Green Energy and Its Impact on Employment and Economic Growth