From Promise to Practice: Ensuring JETPs can deliver
What are JETPs?
As the world continues to wean itself off fossil fuels, coal-dependent emerging economies have a winding road ahead. One of the most important questions on the global climate agenda is how to help these developing economies decarbonize their energy systems while simultaneously transitioning into resilient, affordable, and clean energy infrastructure. One model that is gaining momentum is a funding agreement known as Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETPs).
JETPs are an innovative approach of international cooperation to accelerate country-led energy transition. The model is supported by the International Partners Group (IPG) composed of the European Union (EU), the UK, the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Denmark and Norway. Collectively they aim to help emerging economies secure a just transition towards low carbon energy sources, with equity considerations at their core.
The JETP model was first announced at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in 2021. France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union partnered with South Africa for the first JETP, consisting of a USD $8.5 billion pledge to support coal emissions reductions and clean energy infrastructure. At the 2022 G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia became the second country to announce a USD $20 billion deal. A JETP deal with Vietnam was announced shortly after in December 2022. In June 2023, Senegal became the fourth country to announce a EUR €2.5 billion deal.
While the promise of support for the transition to renewable energy is a positive development, there are significant risks associated with these deals. These range from a lack of transparency, to elite capture with conflicting interests that want to tap into this big pot of money for all kinds of false solutions.
With anything that requires a massive infrastructure shift, accountability and transparency from leadership is essential in ensuring the billions in funding are used for their intended purpose. In the case of JETPs, this means using the money for renewable energy infrastructure that benefits all communities. Such accountability and transparency is only possible when local NGOs and civil society experts can (i) participate freely and fully in public discussions, (ii) provide independent monitoring of social and environmental impacts, and (iii) support communities to advocate for their rights.
This is the “just” aspect of a just energy transition. With this in mind, financial institutions have an imperative role in paying careful attention to the situation of civil society voices in JETP recipient countries.
Resources and finances are needed for climate action. It feels like it’s taken years to get to a funding commitment like a JETP that considers both climate ambition and social needs. However the red flags in the deal, whether by its mechanisms or small print, can undermine goals of justice and equity and leave recipient countries in worse off situations considering factors such as debt or interest implications. Principles are critical organising and mobilising tools to articulate progressive positions, be clear about demands and shape action.
In 2022, the Fair Finance Coalition of Southern Africa, including 350Africa.org, held a JETP Town Hall to share information about the deal to the public and reflect on what it could mean for the nation, communities, labour and so on. There was little public information about the deal, yet based on years of experience, civil societies were clear in their visions and demands of what finance needed to do in order to achieve justice. We collectively, proactively drafted these visions into a set of Fair Finance Principles targeting the JETP and climate finance. These principles affirm our position, our demands and establish that finance is needed, but it needs to be on terms that are agreeable and accountable to citizens, and especially those affected by the energy transition. Climate finance cannot worsen or reproduce inequalities that are in our current economic systems, and certainly not in the name of justice.
As JETPs were announced in several additional countries like Indonesia, Senegal and Vietnam, it was clear that a similar process of pledges and negotiations behind closed doors was being followed. In places like Senegal, energy sources such as gas were even considered, despite being a harmful fossil fuel. While South Africa has a relatively open style of engagement, other countries have very oppressive and aggressive responses to civil society that have even endangered activists. Civil society plays a critical role in overseeing big events such as substantial amounts of financing entering into a national economy. However it is the reality that not all can organise with the same levels of freedom, despite holding the public interest.
The idea to organise as JETP recipient countries and develop global principles came about to share information and build capacity around the JETPs using the experience in the South African context. But more than that, it forms an important space where aspirations and demands can be collectively shaped and solidarity built amongst one another in order to push back on deals that do not represent the public interest, despite claiming so. It provides the opportunity to be stronger together where a just transition must tackle existing systemic and structural barriers to change without reinforcing or recreating inequalities and power imbalances.
A global set of principles will serve to shape finance by placing people at the centre of the just transition and acting as a governance and accountability mechanism by which we can collectively mobilise. Therefore 350.org teams in South Africa, Indonesia and Senegal are currently leading an initiative to develop a global set of principles for JETPs that are drafted by JETP recipient countries.
Civil society and affected communities must be at the centre of climate justice, and importantly, in the financing deals that shape actions.
350.org is working on a global set of principles signed by Civil Society Organizations in JETP recipient countries that will underscore what is expected from leadership. Sign up here to receive updates, more stories and resources!
Can you chip in to help stop climate change and create a more just, prosperous world? Donate in two minutes now:
350.org is working with civil society organisations from JETP recipient countries on a global set of principles that you can endorse. They will underscore what is expected from leadership and be used to influence decision makers to ensure justice is at the heart of JETPs and civil society is included in the decision making process.
Sign up here to receive updates, more stories and resources!
Thank You for Signing Up!
“Just Transition” is a principle, a process and a practice
People are at the core of a Just Energy Transition.
Principles without application are simply ideals; good only for political platitudes and ‘what-ifs’. At 350.org, we don’t believe in ‘what-ifs’ — we believe in tangible, real solutions. So we’ve connected with frontline communities and documented existing solutions in JETP recipient countries that place the community at the heart of the solution and demonstrate the principles in practice, or outline where their implementation may be improved.
We believe projects like the ones below should be supported by the funds that come in through the Just Energy Transition Partnerships — and will continue to document more cases like these to demonstrate the possibilities of a community-centred energy transition.
Karangtengah Village, Indonesia
“It is very possible to involve the role of the community when implementing a JETP in Indonesia. In fact, JETP funding has the potential to be directed to the community to contribute to achieving the target of reducing emissions and the mix of renewable energy in Indonesia, for the power generation sector, 34% in 2030”
– Suriadi Darmoko, 350 Indonesia campaigner
The community in Karangtengah Village, Cilongok District, Banyumas Regency, Central Java has been utilizing the Telaga Pucung Micro Hydro Power Plant (PLTMH), since 2012. Sunarto (49), one of the pioneers of the Telaga Pucung PLTMH said, now, he can run a photocopying business, selling frozen food and cold drinks. Electricity bills for household and business needs, average IDR 100,000/month.
The electricity bill is cheaper than the electricity connection from PLN (State Electricity Company) which uses a coal power plant. Some of the villagers also refused the electricity connection from the PLN. They prefer the electricity connection from the Telaga Pucung Micro Hydro Power Plant. (Rewritten based on news in Suara Merdeka media).
Oolu Solar, Sénegal
“The success of a JETP calls for a participatory process that provides for consultation and inclusion of the Senegalese citizens. It is a chance for Senegal to make a major step forward in its transition to a clean energy future. It is important that the funds are used judiciously and that they are channeled to renewable energy projects that will benefit the people of Senegal and the planet”
– Aly Sagne, Founder of Lumière Synergie pour le Développement
Oolu Solar, a Senegal-based off-grid solar startup since 2015, offers a compelling alternative to the state-provided energy solutions in Senegal and West Africa. They collaborate closely with local communities to provide high-quality, affordable solar products. Many of the villages they serve previously lacked access to electricity, significantly impacting their well-being.
Initially, Oolu Solar introduced a kit model featuring solar-powered lights, charged by solar panels and batteries. This replaced the need for candles and was offered through flexible monthly payments over 18, 24, or 36 months, tailored to income frequency. Once payments were complete, customers became owners of their systems. This adaptable model is customized to suit each zone’s specific needs, reflecting Oolu Solar’s commitment to understanding and addressing community requirements.
As the communities became accustomed to the lighting kits, Oolu Solar expanded its product range to include radios, TVs, and fans. Today, they have installations in every region of Senegal and five other West African countries, demonstrating their commitment to providing practical and tailored energy solutions that significantly improve lives.
Want to know more?
Here is some more in-depth content on JETPs, from 350.org, our partner organizations, or the media.
Vietnam’s Climate Prisoners: in this webinar, we hear moving testimonies from friends and colleagues of Vietnam’s climate prisoners, and the connections between climate funding (as JETPs) and the protection to civil right in the country.
This September, we could see diplomatic power exercised in service of a new hope rising: in Vietnam, where President Thuong and President Biden could arrive at agreements that see the Vietnam 5 released, and in India at the G20, where participating nations could commit to more inclusively designed partnerships that uphold justice in its truest sense.