Scaling Up Renewable Energy Access for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience in Cameroon: A Crucial Multistakeholder Dialogue

In a recent multistakeholder dialogue, the intricate link between energy access, climate adaptation, and sustainable development in Cameroon took center stage. The event underscored the urgency of addressing these interconnected challenges to achieve a resilient and sustainable future.

 

  • Nexus Approach: Energy Access and Climate Adaptation

The dialogue emphasized the critical nexus approach, which integrates energy access with climate adaptation and sustainable development goals. In Cameroon, lack of energy access exacerbates poverty and vulnerability to climate impacts. At the same time, climate change poses significant risks to energy supply, as evidenced by the hydropower shortages during droughts. Expanding energy access using fossil fuels, however, risks increasing greenhouse gas emissions. A holistic approach is vital to align climate action with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

  • Just Transition Imperative

As Cameroon shifts towards renewable energy sources, ensuring a just and equitable transition is paramount. The “just transition” framework emphasizes the protection of human rights, workers’ interests, and community needs during this shift. Policies must address potential trade-offs, such as job losses in fossil fuel industries, land use conflicts, and the uneven distribution of costs and benefits. Inclusive decision-making that empowers marginalized groups, including women, youth, and indigenous communities, is crucial for a fair transition.

 

  • Overcoming Barriers through Collaboration

Significant barriers hinder effective coordination, including a lack of awareness about the nexus approach among policymakers and stakeholders, as well as power imbalances that exclude marginalized perspectives. However, platforms like this multistakeholder dialogue offer opportunities for cross-sector collaboration. There is a pressing need for common frameworks and tools for holistic analysis, planning, implementation, and monitoring of integrated solutions.

 

  • Scaling Up Integrated Solutions

The African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access (ACSEA) has launched the “Building Resilience and Adaptive Capacities to Extreme Climate through Enhanced Energy Access in Africa” (BRACE Africa) program. This ambitious initiative aims to promote decentralized renewable energy solutions, de-risk private sector investments, foster innovation, and build local capacity. By 2028, the program targets increasing the renewable energy share in five countries’ electricity mixes from 40% to 60%, and providing electricity access to 20 million people in rural and peri-urban areas. Importantly, it seeks to enhance communities’ resilience and adaptive capacities across sectors like agriculture and water.

 

  • Preparing for COP29

As Cameroon prepares for COP29, this dialogue highlighted the necessity of integrated policies that align energy access, climate adaptation, and national development plans. Building human capital and institutional capacity for innovation, knowledge generation, and technology transfer is also vital. Establishing a comprehensive just transition framework can guide an inclusive shift towards a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.

Enhanced collaboration, coordination, and multistakeholder engagement are key to unlocking the synergies between renewable energy access and climate resilience. Through these efforts, Cameroon can pave the way for sustainable development, ensuring a resilient and equitable future for all its citizens.

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