WASHINGTON, DC--The UN Foundation is seeking PR counsel for a major new project that oversees its global sustainable energy efforts.

The organization is supporting UN Secretary-General’s Ban Ki-moon’s ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ programme, which will attempt to achieve universal energy access, double the global deployment of renewable energy, and double the rate of improvement of energy efficiency globally by 2030. In addition, 2012 has been designated by the UN General Assembly as the ‘International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.’

It is seeking a “globally recognized” public relations firm to “provide the public affairs foundation from which world leaders can more effectively tackle one of the most vexing global challenges of our time.” As a public-private partnership, the campaign will require considerable outreach among grassroots, policymakers, business leaders and donors. According to a copy of the RFP, firms are required to demonstrate their capabilities across South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, Europe and the US.

Budgets are not expected to exceed $3m for the first year of the effort. Areas of support will include the development of public messaging, awareness building and global media, coordination and outreach with partners and practitioners. In addition, firms are being asked to build “innovative methods”, including new media and celebrity tactics, to create public awareness and support.

Specifically, the brief contains plenty of opportunities for creative and strategic insight, which include reviewing the initiative’s existing brand positioning; mapping global influencers on issues of energy access, efficiency and renewable energy; identifying and developing recommendations on gaps in the programme; seeking feedback from opinion leaders and policy experts; researching focus groups; and, designing a social media strategy.

Submissions were due last week, before finallist interviews later this month and a decision in early December. The mandate will also include support for roll-out events in New Delhi, Nairobi and Barbados, and for the Rio+20 conference in June 2012.

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 the PR agency’s activities.