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WATCH: COP26 President Alok Sharma to visit SA to reinforce support for a just energy transition

During his visit, COP26 President Alok Sharma will meet with government ministers, communities, business leaders, and officials involved in delivering a just energy transition for South Africa. | John MacDougal AFP

During his visit, COP26 President Alok Sharma will meet with government ministers, communities, business leaders, and officials involved in delivering a just energy transition for South Africa. | John MacDougal AFP

Published Jun 20, 2022

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Alok Sharma, who served as president of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26), which took place in Glasgow, Scotland, last year will be travelling to South Africa this week, June 19-21 2022, as work continues to support the implementation of the South African Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) announced at COP26 last year.

According to a government statement, South Africa presented an ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) prior to COP26. At the conference, the South African government also forged the JETP jointly with the governments of the UK, the US, France, Germany and the European Union.

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Under the JETP, partner governments pledged an initial amount of $8.5 billion (R136 billion) as a contribution toward financing South Africa’s long-term just transition process to reduce the carbon intensity of South Africa’s electricity system while also developing new sectors such as green hydrogen and electric vehicles.

The objective of the JETP aims to ensure a just transition for workers and communities that have historically relied on South Africa’s coal-based value chains for their livelihoods.

The scale of the challenge means that partnerships, including with the private sector and development finance institutions, will be indispensable to achieving desired outcomes.

During his visit, Sharma will meet with government ministers, communities, business leaders, and officials involved in delivering a just energy transition for South Africa, discussing the opportunities and challenges presented by such a transition, and how the partnership can support them to accelerate a move to renewable energy.

Sharma, visiting the country for the first time, will also meet with coal mining communities to hear about their perceptions of a just energy transition and emphasise the opportunities that green growth presents for job creation.

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He will also witness work to support a just transition in action at a coal-fired power plant soon to be decommissioned, observing the repurposing process under way there and promoting the importance of efforts which retain and create new jobs while shifting from coal.

Sharma will also be meeting with key representatives from the South Africa Presidential Climate Finance Task Team assigned to deliver the Just Energy Transition Partnership.

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The parties will jointly assess progress and agree on the next steps to drive forward this innovative response to accelerating and financing a just energy transition.

“A clean, just energy transition not only delivers enhanced climate action, it will help create new jobs, economic growth, clean air and a resilient, prosperous future. Providing financial support and technical partnerships is fundamental to support this transition in developing and emerging economies,” said Sharma.

He believes that the partnership embodies the ambitions which were called for at COP26 and that this country-led approach puts fairness at the heart of the transition from coal to clean energy and will deliver high levels of finance and support to South Africa in achieving this ambitious transition.

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A further £1.5 million (R29.3 million) of support will be provided to South Africa in 2022-2023 through the UK’s Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions (PACT) program, aimed at providing technical assistance to South African government stakeholders working on just transition sector job resilience, climate transition pathways for reaching net-zero in various economic sectors and energy sector decarbonisation.

There is a huge global appetite for the strategic energy security that greater investment in renewables can bring. Work is ongoing with partners to assess the scope of similar partnerships in other nations with further announcements anticipated in advance of COP27.

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