Sustainable energy and transport

wind turbines field
Wind turbines

According to the International Energy Agency, energy efficiency has the largest untapped potential to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. It is the least expensive and most easily saleable option to support sustainable economic growth, enhance national security, and reduce further damage to the planet from climate change.

Investments in energy efficiency reduce costs (and greenhouse gas emissions), and provide energy companies with the opportunity to make a profit. However, many energy-efficiency projects are not being realized due to a number of awareness, policy, regulatory, legal and financing barriers.

Likewise, the abundance of cheap fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas - which are often subsidized, and do not take into account their true economic cost - has meant that the region has been slow to invest in and implement renewable energy projects.

Another source of greenhouse gas emissions in the region is the transport sector. The region’s mainly older cars and vehicles contribute to high GHG emissions; next to the energy sector, the transport sector contributes the most GHG emissions globally.

What we do

UNDP promotes investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable transport. In partnership with the Global Environment Facility, UNDP in Europe and CIS has over 30 projects in this area with a value of over $100 million. UNDP works closely with national partners: 

  • Reducing policy, regulatory, legal and financing barriers for energy efficiency, renewable energy (wind, small hydro, biomass and geothermal), and sustainable transport projects
  • Promoting energy efficiency in public and residential buildings,energy efficient lighting, and energy-efficient standards and labels
  • Demonstrating benefits of renewable energy for investors, energy service companies and entrepreneurs
  • Developing and supporting new financing mechanisms and structures to invest in renewable energy projects
  • Promoting land use planning, cycling and walking, and encouraging the shift to rail and public transport, as well as energy efficient vehicles, (including through energy efficiency standards) and hybrid vehicles
  • Accessing carbon finance to encourage investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy and transport



Croatia improved energy efficiency in over half of its public sector buildings, cutting costs, fostering new investments, providing green jobs and reducing green house gas emissions.

Private investments of some $10 million have gone into energy efficient heating and hot water systems for apartments, schools and public buildings in cities and towns in Armenia.

In Tajikistan, hydro electricity in rural communities is helping to improve access to social services, and providing families with a reliable source of heating during cold winters.

A five million euro renewable energy fund was created and made available for the development of small hydro power plants in Georgia. The fund is the first of its kind in Georgia and currently the only source of low interest loans for developers of small hydro projects in the country.

The municipality of Lugansk in Ukraine cleaned up an environmental hotspot - a landfill with over three million tons of waste - and established a system to capture the methane emitted from the landfill, and  are now burning the methane gas as a way to reduce overall green house gas emissions. The project is the first in the country to make use of the market-based mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, allowing Ukraine to sell carbon credits for reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.

Kazakhstan improved laws and regulations for renewable energy, and has a wind power development programme.

Kazakhstan's wind atlas