The close to $20 million initiative, the Global Market Transformation for Efficient Lighting Platform that will be implemented in collaboration with the private sector companies OSRAM and Philips, is aimed at reducing the bills of electricity consumers in developing economies while delivering cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases.
It is also aimed at replacing fuel-based lighting systems, such as kerosene, that is linked with health-hazardous indoor air pollution.
Globally, 70% of total lighting market sales are still made up of inefficient incandescent lamps. A market shift, from incandescent lamps to energy-efficient alternatives, would cut the world's electricity demand for lighting by an estimated 18%.
A recent report by US Global Industry Analysts Inc indicates that by 2010, the industrial, commercial, residential, and public lighting market will exceed 94 USD billion with a large part of the growth in developing economies.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: 'In many ways the way we light our homes and buildings is akin to still driving around in steam-powered cars or communicating by telegram'.
'This new project aims to accelerate growing national initiatives to replace old bulbs into a global one by overcoming market barriers in developing economies and by setting international energy and performance standards in order to build consumer confidence. In terms of climate change, this is among the lowest of low hanging fruit. Eight per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions are linked with lighting - this project can by 2014 make a big dent in these while saving people money too,' he added.
'This is the time to move forward with a concerted and synergetic approach that truly transforms this market in both the developed and developing world. That's why we are launching this global initiative to bring the major global players together to phase-out inefficient lighting once and for all,' said Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson, the Global Environment Facility.
Using current economic and energy efficiency trends, it is projected that global demand for artificial light will be 80% higher by 2030 with a great deal of that linked to the construction and operation of new buildings in developing economies including China.