Medical cold chain

Celebrating four years of Cooling for All


In July 2021, the Cooling for All programme at Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) celebrated its fourth anniversary, having grown from a fledgling initiative designed to draw awareness to access to cooling to a Results Offer within SEforALL that applies the knowledge, tools, and data it develops to country support and advocacy campaigns. As the programme evolves to its next phase, SEforALL conducted an external evaluation for the period of July 2017 to May 2021 to understand its successes, shortcomings, and strengths going forward. 

Using contribution analysis and realist evaluation methods, the evaluation highlighted three key achievements of the programme over the last four years.

Shifting the narrative around sustainable cooling

Across the world, over 1 billion people lack access to cooling, impacting their lives and livelihoods. In a warming world, access to sustainable cooling is not a luxury; it is an issue of equity that underpins the ability of millions to realise the SDGs. 

At the outset, Cooling for All intended to establish access to cooling as a development and equity issue among energy policymakers and investors and as a commercial opportunity for suppliers. The programme has proved transformational in this regard. 

Through unique messaging about cooling and equity, leveraging SEforALL’s brand with senior energy decision makes, and providing credible evidence about the scale of the issue and potential benefits Cooling for All has brought about a shift in the narrative around the issue. 

Data and evidence provided by the Chilling Prospects series were particularly effective in supporting policy change and the mobilisation of finance for sustainable cooling.

However, the evaluation also found little engagement with food, agriculture and health policymakers, investors and their advisors and recommended engagement at a more strategic level to mainstream access to cooling in development projects. 

Influencing investment in access to cooling solutions 

Cooling for All’s data and evidence was found to have supported some countries to identify the need for more stringent Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) in order to avoid excessive energy consumption caused by increased use of cooling, which they have included in their National Cooling Action Plans. The technical expertise of Cooling for All’s staff was recognised and valued by policymakers, investors, suppliers and partners.

100 m $

investment for energy-efficient cooling by donors and Development Finance Institutions

1.4 bn $

potentially leveraged investments in sustainable cooling for all

The evaluation also found that the programme contributed to USD 100m+ investment which has been made available by donors and Development Finance Institutions for energy-efficient cooling plus potentially a further USD 1.4 billion leveraged. By working with partners who provide direct support to policymakers in developing countries Cooling for All is also able to influence policy more widely. 

While the Cooling for All programme’s work was found to not have had a significant impact on gender yet, it was recommended that moving forward the programme mainstream gender considerations as an equity issue throughout Chilling Prospects and more widely through Cooling for All’s work.

Supporting the development of new access to cooling solutions by the supply chain

As a result of influencing the nature of the conversation and raising awareness of cooling as an issue, partners involved in developing new solutions were supported in communicating their offer. This is key to amplifying the messaging around cooling as a key development issue and accelerating the deployment of these solutions. Sustainable solutions, including those that work as stand-alone systems off-grid, can help hundreds of millions realize the development benefits of electricity including economic opportunity, nutrition, and health care. The evaluators also found some evidence of direct support in developing strategy and marketing plans.

The way forward

Based on the evaluation, Cooling for All received key recommendations on strengthening the program moving forward. After four years of the Cooling for All programme at SEforALL, the evaluation helped clarify what has worked well and should be prioritized moving forward, including Chilling Prospects data, country support, and building the enabling environment through advocacy and communications. It also informed SEforALL on where less emphasis is necessary, such as secondary knowledge products, and how to best define its role in a growing world of cooling actors. With these learnings in hand, the Cooling for All programme is well-positioned to support ‘SEforALL 3.0’ as well as greater access to sustainable solutions as an issue of equity in a warming world. 

Find out more about our Cooling for All programme.


Cooling for All