The recent LEAP-RE Stakeholder Forum, hosted in Pretoria, South Africa, by the South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), and online from 3 to 6 October gathered more than 300 participants.
Opening statements by high-level officials recalled the tremendous challenges we are facing, with climate change – the planet’s poorest countries often being the hardest-hit – and the Russian war recalling the urgency of steering clear of fossil fuels. With renewable energy at the core, the ambition of LEAP-RE is to progress on several “development enablers”: decarbonisation, resilience and diversification of the energy mix; co-innovation or even reverse innovation; inclusive transition, empowerment, entrepreneurship and new skills; and the crucial role of science diplomacy as a lever for change.
The forum was the occasion to share recent news, including the launch of 13 projects from the 1st call and the opening of the 2nd call, the preliminary results of our Pillar 2, the dynamic around new thematic clusters (capacity building, data collection, energy modelling), the first Renewable Energy School (with 25 students), and the launch of the LEAP-RE online community platform.
The project has collectively started to engage in dialogues with other communities. Synergies can and should be sought with established groups, for instance on hydrogen, raw materials, digital technologies, climate services, or mobility.
In addition, work is being done to set the foundations for a lasting endeavour. Work has started to prepare the future of LEAP-RE and reflect on its pathways for impact: it must demonstrate its contribution to SDGs, with impact on local communities and the environment. LEAP-RE can be seen as a platform supporting science-based and innovation-friendly policymaking on sustainable energy, driving co-benefits on social inclusiveness, gender equality, biodiversity, economic empowerment, reducing poverty – in other words, address SDG7 in ways that drive improvements in all other SDGs.
Laslty, LEAP-RE released the LEAP-RE Online Community Platform. The Platform is a space for Renewable Energy research and innovation stakeholders from both Africa and Europe to exchange, share knowledge, and collaborate on common opportunities. All the presentations made during the event can also be downloaded through the LEAP-RE App. Please create and detail your profile and start sharing updates with the community!