The launch of the capacity building partnership in Nigeria kicked off with its inaugural session. It provided a comprehensive overview of the evolution, trends, opportunities, and challenges within the country's decentralized renewable energy sector.
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 Programme, UNDP), 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.