UNEP SEF Alliance activities fall generally into three programme areas:
- Information analysis and exchange
- Joint projects
- Partnership development
The first area includes a series of conference call seminars on special topics of relevance to clean energy public fund managers internationally. Participation is open to any employees of public of publicly-backed financing organisations from any country, free of charge.
Alliance members come together once per year in-person for intensive exchange lasting 2-3 days at a specialised annual meeting, where they share experiences, lessons learned, and ideas for best practice in the implementation of sustainable energy finance mechanisms.
Staff at the Secretariat maintain an online mapping of current and emerging public finance mechanisms being implemented around the globe, so that members can maintain a good awareness of their international peers. The Secretariat develops and maintains the website, email listservs, contacts lists, an electronic "library" of relevant information, and other tools to help members communicate and interact with each other easily.
Joint projects are initiated at the discretion of member agencies according to their interest and needs. Baseline analyses are conducted by the Secretariat to determine preferred options for joint actions among the members. The conference call seminars, steering committee meetings, and Alliance conferences also provide arenas for identifying collaboration possibilities. Joint pilot projects are then initiated that are relevant to and beneficial for many or all members, such as in-depth case studies of specific public finance mechanisms (VC instruments, soft or contingent loans, guarantee structures, business incubator programmes, R&D, etc.), impact assessment methodologies, or methods and tools to quantify and manage the performance risk and benefits associated with sustainable energy.
In 2008, the member directed two pieces of specialised research: first, an in-depth analysis of publicly sponsored venture capital structures; and second, a study on methodologies used for impact assessment. In 2009, research has focused on guarantee instruments and on the economic impact of clean energy public finance investment.
On an ongoing basis, staff at the Secretariat work to engage key agencies around the world that are working in this area. Partnership development is supported by continual outreach to new prospective members, as well as facilitating interaction between member agencies and mainstream financial market players.