WASHINGTON--The UN Foundation has concluded a competitive review for global PR counsel, appointing Weber Shandwick to handle a major project that oversees its sustainable energy efforts.

The firm is charged with developing the global communications strategy for Sustainable Energy for All, an initiative led by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to secure private sector and national commitments, and attract global attention to the importance of energy for development and poverty alleviation.

The appointment comes after the Holmes Report revealed the UN Foundation's search for agency support in late 2011. It is understood that a number of global PR firms were involved in the pitch.

Budgets are not expected to exceed $3m for the first year of the effort, which sees 2012 designated as the ‘International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.’ The programme's overall goals are to achieve universal energy access, double the global deployment of renewable energy, and double the rate of improvement of energy efficiency globally by 2030.

As a public-private partnership, the campaign will require considerable outreach among grassroots, policymakers, business leaders and donors, across South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, Europe and the US.

The business will be led by Weber Shandwick's social impact practice in Washington, DC, and includes strategic counsel, creative support and media relations. 

“We are thrilled to partner with Weber Shandwick on this highly visible project that is a top priority for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. This initiative involves leading policymakers as well as government and business leaders from a range of countries,” said Reid Detchon, vice president for energy and climate at the UN Foundation, in a statement. “We are confident Weber Shandwick will help the UN Foundation execute the global communications program for this project and look forward to building a strong relationship with the team.”

Energy is central to nearly every major global challenge, including jobs, security, climate change, food production and alleviating poverty. More than 1.4bn people have no access to electricity, and almost half of the world’s population continues to rely on traditional fossil fuels for cooking and heating.

The UN Foundation, a public charity that supports the UN’s causes, is partnering with the UN to provide all communications support and will oversee Weber Shandwick's activities.