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Putting the 'just' in Just Energy Transition Partnerships: What role for the multilateral development banks?

Working papers

Written by Shandelle Steadman, Sarah Colenbrander, Nick Simpson, Alastair McKechnie, Megan Cole

Hero image description: A thermo-solar power plant next to rows of solar panels Image credit:Thermo-solar power plant. Dana Smillie / World Bank Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

Amidst the excitement surrounding country platforms like Just Energy Transition Partnerships, one question remains largely unanswered: what does ‘justice’ mean in the context of energy transitions?

Despite having the term ‘just’ in their names, there is no clear agreement on how to define justice within Just Energy Transition Platforms (JETPs). Without asking what a 'just energy transition' actually means, patterns of exploitation and lack of buy-in from stakeholders will hold back successful low-carbon shifts. As country platforms are deployed at scale, this paper seeks to address this gap.

With multilateral development banks (MDBs) primed to play a critical role in future country platforms, this policy brief critically examines the role the stakeholders can and should play in advancing justice within energy transition processes. Given their reiterated commitment to climate-related country platforms at COP28 in Dubai, MDBs must navigate nuanced understandings of their mandates to advance procedural, distributive and restorative justice as these platforms are rolled out.

Drawing on examples of JETPs in South Africa and Indonesia to examine how justice has been considered within existing political declarations and investment plans, this paper identifies what value MDBs can bring as advisors, coordinators and financers of country platforms and the challenges they may face moving forward.