Youth leaders are shaping UNDP's support for energy governance

August 10, 2023
man walks on solar panel

Young people are among the most affected by climate change and energy inequalities.

Photo: UNDP Zimbabwe


Energy governance plays a pivotal role in shaping the energy landscape of the 21st century. With pressing challenges like climate change, clean energy, and the need for sustainable development, effective energy governance becomes essential. However, traditional energy decision-making structures often lack inclusivity, sidelining the voices of those who will inherit the consequences of current energy policies—the young people, in all their diversity. 

Young people are among the most affected by climate change and energy inequalities, giving them a vested interest in finding solutions. Their fresh perspectives, innovative ideas often coupled with a digital savviness, can inject a much-needed dynamism into traditional systems.  

There is also evidence indicating a lack of green skills among young people, which is a focus of this International Youth Day. This skills gap poses a barrier for their involvement in a workforce transitioning towards a green economy and its governance. If the current trends continue, it is projected that over 60 percent of young people may lack the necessary skills to excel in a green economy by 2030.  

By equipping young people with technology, policy, and governance expertise relevant to the energy transition, they become instrumental in driving innovative solutions and shaping and implementing effective energy policies. Their knowledge and active engagement can lead to inclusive and forward-thinking strategies, enabling a smoother transition towards a fairer, cleaner, and more resilient energy future. 

Earlier this year, UNDP convened experts to shape its energy governance work. Acknowledging the importance of youth participation, UNDP actively supports youth-led initiatives and invited six young leaders to join the External Advisory Group on Energy Governance. By empowering and engaging young leaders, providing resources and platforms, and involving them in co-creating the energy governance program, UNDP is paving the way for an inclusive, sustainable, and equitable energy future. 

Meet four incredible young leaders from Côte d’Ivoire, India, Portugal, and Nigeria who are part of UNDP’s External Advisory Group on Energy Governance and co-creating the energy future together.  


Fatoumata Diarrassouba Amoussou - the entrepreneur


Fatoumata is from Côte d’Ivoire and Co-Founder/Managing Partner at Afrik’Energy Connect Inc., a pan-African company aiming to increase energy access in rural and peri-urban areas of West Africa by providing affordable climate smart technology to households and communities not connected to the grid. 

As a fervent advocate of SDG 7, Fatoumata believes that the green transition presents an invaluable opportunity for youth in her home country, who represent more than 75% of the Ivorian population. The lack of awareness in local communities on the importance of green skills towards achieving the energy transition remains a major challenge to the development of green skills in the country. 

In her own words; “she leverages from her involvement within the UNDP Advisory Group for energy governance to gain valuable insights from the expertise and experience of other members and be better equipped to make a positive impact within her community”. 

Fatoumata Diarrassouba Amoussou

Fatoumata Diarrassouba Amoussou

Photo: UNDP

Subrahmanyam Pulipaka - the solar expert


Engineer by degree, entrepreneur by passion and policy advocate by profession, Subrahmanyam Pulipaka (widely known as Subbu), 29, is the youngest Chief Executive Officer of National Solar Energy Federation of India, one of the largest solar energy Industry associations in the world. 

Subbu believes that in India where youth constitute 65 percent of the population, imparting green skills to young people isn’t a necessity but a requirement. “It’s not just to make them employable,” he says, “but most importantly to have them as the Energy Transition Foot Soldiers to achieve India’s ambitious yet pragmatic clean energy targets.”  

Subbu, who is also one of the Governing Council members of India’s Skill Council for Green Jobs, is a strong proponent of youth taking active roles in energy governance and confidently believes that “Youth energy is the strongest source of energy discovered by mankind”.  

Subrahmanyam Pulipaka

Subrahmanyam Pulipaka

Photo: UNDP

Nevin Alija – the lawyer 


Nevin is one of the co-founders and member of the Implementation Team of Women in Energy – Mulheres na Energia Portugal. She is also a Vice-Chair of the Distribution Committee at Eurogas and European Affairs Manager at Floene Energias, the leading gas distribution group in Portugal. 

She says; “2023 is the European Year of Skills, as promoted by the European Union, and we clearly see that there is deficit of employees with the necessary skills for the challenges posed by the energy transition”. 

“Prioritizing investments in upskilling and reskilling, as well as equipping the new generations with essential tools, is crucial for ensuring a sustainable energy future. Companies have a responsibility to invest in young professionals to unleash their potential, while governments must harness their contributions to drive the upcoming twin transition effectively”.


Nevin Alija

Nevin Alija

Photo: UNDP

David Arinze - the global changemaker


David Arinze is a renewable energy professional who leads the US African Development Foundation off-grid energy portfolio in Nigeria where he provides technical assistance. 

He recognizes that; “Energy access is the oxygen which powers sectors such as education, health, agriculture, and industries. Its direct relation to liberating the poor and improving lives and livelihoods makes it not just a goal to be accomplished but a hope for a better future to be delivered”. 

“Promoting youth participation in green skills acquisition and training is crucial to the fruition of SDG 7. As students, young career professionals, and entrepreneurs, they exemplify resilience, passion and solutions that are essential in making meaningful contributions to address this challenge of clean energy access locally and globally.”  


David Arinze

David Arinze

Photo: UNDP

For additional information on UNDP’s work on Energy Governance, visit The Sustainable Energy Hub and Governance for People and Planet. Subscribe to the UNDP Sustainable Energy Bulletin for insights on the trends, challenges, and opportunities of the just energy transition. 

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