Making energy planning more strategic: launch of five principles at COP26

For Energy Day at COP26 we helped launch a set of pioneering principles to define a 'code of conduct' for strategic energy planning.


Together with our Energy and Economic Growth Applied Research Programme (EEG), we proudly hosted a side event for Energy Day at COP26 with the Climate Compatible Growth programme to launch a set of energy planning principles by the Roundtable Initiative on Strategic Energy Planning. The Initiative is a global multi-agency movement promoting ways for development partners to work collectively towards improved effectiveness, transparency and national ownership of their support to country governments on strategic energy system planning.

The Secretariat for the Round Table is currently hosted by EEG and more details on the Round Table Initiative and the principles can be found here.

Strategic energy planning is an essential input to effective policy and investment decision-making. It involves the use of evidence and a robust set of assumptions for the future to identify the energy needs of a country or region, and broad pathways for meeting these needs in ways that satisfy strategic goals for energy access, energy security, climate action and environmental protection. Energy goals that are clear, evidence-based, and widely agreed can help align the incentives and actions of key stakeholders towards achieving these wider developmental and social objectives.

Currently, support for planning processes is often too fragmented to be effective or not in line with Governments’ priorities, and as a result the data-driven contributions to planning are less efficient and impactful. Rapid technological and business model changes in energy systems are making decisions more complex, but, at the same time, they are creating opportunities for low-income countries to diversify the way energy is supplied and used. These global energy sector shifts make it all the more important that decision-makers have access to good evidence-based analytics to inform strategic energy sector planning for the efficient and effective achievement of the SDGs and economic and human development more broadly.

The five key principles define a “Code of Conduct” for Development Partners to work collectively towards improved effectiveness of their support to country governments on strategic energy system planning, in line with the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness:

National ownership

Support country-led energy planning processes that work in partnership with key stakeholders to achieve broad consensus on strategic objectives and plans. Help empower the relevant authorities at regional, national and subnational level to rally stakeholders to implement the plan, and push back on proposals that do not align.

Coherence and inclusivity

Assist Governments to ensure that strategic decisions taken in the energy sector are coherent with broader economic, social and environmental goals (including Sustainable Development Goals and Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris climate change agreement) by committing to evidence-based, integrated and inclusive energy planning processes that lead to fair and technically sound energy development programmes.


Support Governments in the definition of priority capacity building activities which strengthen the capability of national institutions to take the lead on strategic energy planning. and incorporate plans and evidence into decision-making and implementation processes. Commit to coordination of Development Partners in line with the Government’s vision, requests for support and goals, and avoid fragmentation and duplication of efforts.


Promote the use of models, analysis and decision-support tools that have strong technical and economic foundations, are fit-for-purpose to deal with rapidly changing circumstances in the energy sector, are able to support flexible and adaptive approaches to energy sector planning, and can be easily and regularly updated.

Transparency and accessibility

Promote open access to and review of planning inputs (data, model design and assumptions) and encourage the accessibility of planning outputs to key stakeholders, subject to government restrictions and commercial confidentiality constraints.

Around 20 development partners have formally endorsed these principles to date, including AFD, the African Development Bank, FCDO, GiZ, IRENA, the Netherlands Environmental Agency, UNDP, UNECA, and the World Bank (ESMAP). Although they are not legally binding, signatories to these principles commit to incorporating them into their working practice.

Signatories welcome feedback and declarations of support by Governments to the application of these principles by Development Partners in their countries.

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