Scientists, program owners and stakeholders from Africa and Europe gathered in an expert meeting on Climate Change and Renewable Energy organized by RINEA in Brussels. The meeting aimed at further identifying joint research and innovation needs in the area of renewable energy and sustainability, thereby building on existing collaborative initiatives.
Agenda and Presentations
The opening of the meeting was chaired by the Director International Cooperation Mrs. Cristina Russo (European Commission (EC), DG Research and Innovation) and Hambani Masheleni (Senior Officer, Human Ressources, Science and Technology, African Union Commission (AUC)). Both speakers agreed that significant progress had been made in Africa-EU partnership and highlighted the commitment of the experts in climate change and energy issues. On behalf of the co-chairs of the High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) Bureau, Nienke Buisman (EC Senior Policy Officer STI relations with Africa), introduced the policy context, described the challenges as well as the expectations and objectives of the workshop. To “set the scene” and thereby stimulate the discussion between participants the RINEA draft paper on “Technical input to a potential EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership on Climate Change and Renewable Energy” was presented. Based on the paper and the following presentations technical aspects for the joint EU-Africa collaboration in renewable energy and sustainability, including analyzing the implementation process and its challenges should be identified. A basis for a policy and activity framework for the next Partnership should be developed.
Four presentations of relevant ongoing/finished collaborative research project in the field of Climate Change and Renewable Energy, focusing successively were given:
- “EU-Africa R&I Partnership on Climate Change and Renewable Energy” introduced concepts, challenges, tools and services that support adaptation, mitigation and disaster risk management. The major question from the project’s point of view is how to “boost society’s resilience and capacity to adapt to climate change by addressing existing or emerging risks” in energy, water, agriculture & food security and health? The presenter illustrated how the EU’s response to climate change, by enabling market growth, building the market framework, enhancing the quality and relevance of climate services by new EU-Africa partnerships could look like.
- Africa Caribbean Pacific – EU Partnership contributes to strengthening production, availability, delivery and application of science-based climate prediction and services. The first results are:
- Improved quality and quantity of regional climate prediction and services offered by ACP regional climate centres and hydrometeorological organisations for four climate-sensitive sectors (agriculture and food security, health, water, DRR)
- ACP regional climate centres are designated/certified as WMO regional climate centres and recognised as centres of excellence by ACP countries and other regional partners
- Belmont Forum and Climate issues is presented as a growing research funders network open to the world, to Delivery knowledge to support human action and adaptation to global environmental change. Collaborative Research Actions are highlighted to Support innovative research, Leverage Belmont Forum members’ existing investments through international added value, and finally to Promote inter- and trans-disciplinary, co-design and co-production to bring new partnerships of natural scientists, social scientists and users. Calls on Climate Predictability launched in 2015, 2016 and Calls under preparation or potential were presented.
- The project AFROMAISON stands for Adaptive and Integrated Tools and Strategies for Natural Resources Management. The challenges of Integrated Natural Resource Management (INRM) in Africa are manifold: the Integration of sector, scales levels; human and ecosystem, knowledge systems and a working across scale from planning to implementation. The information and tools must help to answer to the next questions: a) What (integrated) information is needed? b) How to make information meaningful? c) How to mobilize information for effective uses by the different actors. One way is the mobilisation of large variety of stakeholders engaging them to cooperate and collaborate. A central question remains despite existing methods:, How to better integrate and take into account innovation in the planning of strategies? The presentations were followed by two parallel sessions addressing “The role of R&I in climate adaptation and climates services“ and “ The renewable energy“.
As a result of those sessions there was a strong emphasis on recommendations for the energy sector:
- Renewable energy (RE): The main challenge is seen in the identification of gaps in existing projects to develop RE technologies for less carbon emission, less global warming in order to achieve well-being for our populations. In Africa energy access is still limited and the poverty level still high. Energy is connected with water, food, electricity, security. Cooperation must be encouraged for a mix of RE technologies and a multidisciplinary approach, given the different environment existing in the continent. So it is important to prioritize R&D by region, given that countries are not in the same level of development (lack of capacities to carry out energy potential assessment, cost-effectiveness, climate monitoring systems, Necessity of an holistic analysis on cost-efficiency approach, lack public-private partnership). The meeting participants put forward recommendations to deploy bridges in EU-Africa cooperation by creating networks of excellence in energy, open platforms and co-location of infrastructures.
- Energy efficiency (EE): Participants focused on the different challenges facing mainly the African countries, namely identifying disparities between rural/ urban economies, limited understanding of EE, lack of trained workforce, poor regulatory frameworks & governance, lack of access to finance EE and the necessity to identify clear goals and links between both continents.
The potential topics for further cooperation in the field of RE and EE are:
- Exploitation/technological refinement of existing energy resources
- Energy storage
- Urban development planning: smart cities (thermal insulation; solar water heater; low energy lamps; industry; solar air-conditioning) …
- Materials – use and manufacturing
- Business development models
On the second day ongoing and finalized research initiatives on climate change and energy related research presented their current status.
The results of the workshop will fuel the current work on the thematic framework for future activities in the Africa-EU-Partnership in Renewable Energy and Sustainability (which includes Energy Efficiency and Climate Change). Technical content that reflects European and African needs shall be identified in order to engage in the next collaborative actions of the partnership.