The UNCTAD Biofuels Initiative was conceived in 2005 to offer a facilitating hub for programs already underway in a number of institutions, as well as to explore the complex field of bioenergy from a trade perspective.
By examining bioenergy markets, with its partners, UNCTAD seeks to add value by providing interested countries with access to sound economic and trade policy analysis, capacity building activities and consensus building tools. The Initiative tailors national strategies according to specific national circumstances and needs. It shares lessons from successful experiences, as well as illustrating problems encountered by developed and developing countries alike in dealing with the technical, political, economic and sustainability-related aspects of biofuels – and more recently,
The Biofuels Initiative is guided by Sustainable Development Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) and works closely with other international organizations, NGOs and academia, with the purpose of advancing discussions on current issues faced by countries interested in exploring bioenergy and biorefining. The Initiative, which is part of United Nations Energy and Sustainable Energy for All also works with the private sector, debating themes of relevance to trade, domestic use and policy design which directly or indirectly concern developing and least developed countries.
Between 2005 and 2016, the Initiative has produced a number of studies on key issues concerning the synergies among biofuels, trade and development. Thematic studies included assessments of global biofuel markets, technology options, sustainability certification, as well as a survey of south-south initiatives on biofuels cooperation. The Initiative also engaged in concrete capacity building initiatives, benefiting countries like Guatemala and Mexico.