COP 26 - Making the Last Mile the First Mile

We are into the second week of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, with many exciting side-events and expert discussions on just energy transition and universal energy access taking place. In cooperation with our partner ACCESS Coalition, WISIONS was able to co-organise a panel on November 4th, highlighting the aim to “Making the Last Mile the First Mile!” with Wilington Ortiz from the WISIONS team moderating the session.

In the context of our approach to put people in the centre of efforts to deliver universal energy access to the Global South, we asked initiatives aiming to advance just energy transitions on how to best engage people as “co-creators of future energy systems”. What lessons have they learned? What practical challenges are they facing? To answer those questions, four panelists were invited to the SDG7 Pavilion: Angelica Shamerina (GEF Small Grants ProgrammeUNDP), Jacqueline Kimeu (ACCESS Coalition), Ben Garside (International Institute for Environment and Development) and Archieford Chemhere (Action 24).

During the discussion, the crucial role of universal energy access was established as an essential tool to achieve several sustainable development goals. But providing energy alone does not address all developmental needs. It has to be linked to sectors in which that energy is needed. Here, the involvement of communities comes into play. Their needs and priorities differ widely and therefore determine the shape of energy access efforts. To sharpen the understanding of what is needed in the communities, the importance of civil society organizations was highlighted by the panelists. CSO’s can act as a “missing link”: informing the national level of communal needs and bridging communities and governments. Peer-to-peer exchanges of the global south empower the communities to articulate their needs and share knowledge among each other.

We were able to sum up the panel on an optimistic note: just energy transitions are possible, if local needs and local knowledge are taken into account and communities are empowered  through mutual learning and knowledge exchanges.

f.l.t.r.: Solomon Yamoha (ACCESS Coalition member Ghana), Jacqueline Kimeu (International Coordinator, ACCESS Coalition), Dr. Willington Ortiz (Project Collaborator, WISIONS of Sustainability), Damilola Ogunbiyi (CEO, Sustainable Energy for All), Ben Garside (Principal Researcher, IIED), Umar Saleh (ACCESS Coalition member Nigeria), Anne Songole (Advocacy Manager, ACCESS Coalition)

We would like to thank Sustainable Energy for All and ACCESS Coalition for making the event possible, as well as our panelists for sharing their expertise with us and the audience!

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