Climate policy expert: JETP lessons in South Africa reveal the importance of building trust

Dr Heiner Von Leupke,  from DIW Berlin’s Climate Policy Department, speaks at a symposium titled “Post UNFCCC COP28: Reflections on Climate Governance in an Equitable Energy Transition in Indonesia” held by the Center for Climate Change of the Bandung Institute of Technology (PPI ITB). (Source: ITB)

Jakarta – German climate policy experts say there are many lessons to be learned from South Africa’s Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) experience. The country had started the scheme about a year earlier than Indonesia.

One of the expert speakers at the Center for Climate Change Symposium organised by the Center for Climate Change of the Bandung Institute of Technology (PPI ITB) was Dr Heiner Von Leupke from the Climate Policy Department of DIW Berlin. He highlighted the challenges of the energy transition and lessons learned from JETP in South Africa and sought linkages with a similar process in Indonesia.

The symposium, “Post UNFCCC COP28: Reflections on Climate Governance in Indonesia’s Equitable Energy Transition”, hosted a discussion on the different views between international and local actors connected to climate finance.

Dr Von Leupke discussed how international donors are more focused on climate mitigation, while local actors have diverse views on a just transition, including aspects of social justice. In his presentation, the DIW Berlin researcher revealed the results of a case study on the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) in South Africa’s energy sector. This project received multinational funding support of USD 8.5 billion, announced during COP26 in Glasgow.

He revealed that one of the main findings of the South African JETP project is that there are two main levels of cooperation. First, there was an international agreement between the South African president and international donors. Second, the domestic level of transition involves various groups with different views on the direction of the energy transition.

Dr Von Leupke emphasised the importance of clarity of project ownership in situations where groups have different views. “In this context, building trust between international and local groups is key in supporting a just transition,” he said.

He noted that achieving effective cooperation requires deep understanding between the two groups. Dr. Von Leupke stressed that “international cooperation in domestic policy processes requires open communication, an openness to discuss challenges and a commitment to understanding each other’s views and strategies”.

Recently, South African scholar and activist Dr Alex Lenferna, who researched the JETP, voiced concern that initiatives by the South African government did not adequately address the country’s moral obligations and warned of potential pitfalls in financing models that could serve the interests of international financiers, potentially undermining the future of clean energy. (Hartatik)


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