A new competition by the UN has been announced to help support journalists from the world’s 47 least developed countries attend this year’s Sustainable Energy for All Forum this spring in Portugal.

The Voices of a Brighter Future competition is being ran by the United Nations Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) with support from Sustainable Energy for All. It is open to all journalists from LDC countries.

Journalists can enter by submitting stories on sustainable energy and the life changing benefits access to modern energy has brought to people and communities living in least developed countries. The aim is to highlight positive, inspiring stories and innovative sustainable energy initiatives that are supporting Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) – universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Winners of the competition will have their travel and expenses covered to report from the Sustainable Energy for All Forum in Lisbon, Portugal 2-3 May 2018. Their work will be featured by the United Nations and other news outlets.

“Least Developed Countries stand out when we look at the need to build momentum on achieving SDG7.  This group of countries is facing unique energy challenges ranging from outdated power infrastructure to small economies of scale and limited generation capacity which present major hurdles to overcome,” said Ms. Fekitamoeloa Utoikamanu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

“However, despite the challenges, we are also seeing the silver linings and many positive stories,” Ms. Fekitamoeloa Utoikamanu continued. “The Least Developed Countries are committed and actively pushing ahead with sustainable energy access, renewable energy and efficiency initiatives. Governments, utilities, development partners, the UN system and many others are collaborating to enhance energy security, improve living standards and build more prosperous economies in these countries.”

“These positive stories are also a means to share best practice and lessons learned with others and to this end my Office is currently holding a journalism competition called Voices of a Brighter Future for journalists from the Least Developed Countries. Three winners will have their travel expenses covered to travel to the Sustainable Energy for All Forum and we are delighted to be working closely with Sustainable Energy for All on this competition.”

Entries will be judged by a high-level panel from the United Nations, sustainable energy and media sector, including Rachel Kyte, Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All.

Journalists in least developed countries face significant challenges in reporting development issues in country when national communities are affected by conflicts, crises and epidemics.

A lack of access to relevant data also frequently prevents journalists from accurately reporting and translating complex statistics into compelling narratives. Despite these challenges many journalists and news outlets are keen to report on how their home countries are progressing socially and economically, including in the area of sustainable energy.


Submissions must have been published or broadcast between 16 August 2017 and 16 March 2018. Please read the guidelines for submissions in full here.

Please Note this competition is only open for journalists who are nationals from Least Developed Countries. A full list of these countries is available here: http://bit.ly/2v4Oawy