Future Energy Conversations with Saliem Fakir and Leila Weideman

Leila Mahomed Weideman, Director of Sustainable Energy Markets, City of Cape Town and Saliem Fakir, Executive Director of the African Climate Foundation unpack energy security and how a secure energy supply we can enable growth and diversify our economy.

As COVID-19 has shown us, our country’s deep structural inequalities are exacerbated by further shocks and we can no longer deny the impact that climate change will bring. Cape Town stands poised to lead with renewable energy deployment in the country, but cannot do it alone. Municipalities and businesses must work together to shift regulations towards a cleaner, more economically viable energy system. Getting citizens onboard is key but the challenge is shifting the conversation from climate science into good decision making.

Foreign Policy in uncertain times: What are the options for South Africa?

In recent years, the rules-based system that has governed the global political and economic order since the Second World War has become increasingly fragile. It has been undermined by the contempt that the Trump administration has shown for it, by the rise of more nationalist governments in countries as different as Brazil, the UK, India, Hungary and Turkey, and by tensions between the members of key multilateral blocs like the EU, NATO and BRICS. The result is that the institutions of global governance have become increasing ineffective – as evidenced by, for example, their management of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current state of the WTO.

This webinar explores some of these questions, with a particular focus on unpacking South Africa’s climate change diplomacy options over the next few years. This event was co-hosted by SAIIA, The Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria and the African Climate Foundation.

Channing Arndt

Director of the Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Channing Arndt has more than 25 years of experience in development economics with seven years combined resident experience in Morocco and Mozambique. He has published more than 70 articles in leading academic journals. His program of research has focused on agricultural development, poverty alleviation and growth, market integration, gender and discrimination, the implications of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, technological change, trade policy, aid effectiveness, infrastructure investment, energy, bioenergy, climate variability, and the implications of climate change.

Tasneem Essop

Tasneem Essop is currently the Executive Director of Climate Action Network. She is an expert on climate, energy, poverty and social justice issues and is the Founding Director of the Energy Democracy Initiative.  Essop served as a former Provincial Minister of Environment, Planning and Economic Development in the Western Cape and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and the Department of Economic Development. She was a global climate policy and strategy leader for WWF International and served as the Head of Delegation for the organisation at the UNFCCC including at the Paris COP.

Saliem Fakir

Prior to establishing the ACF, Saliem served as the Head of the Policy & Futures Unit of WWF South Africa for 11 years. Saliem has worked as a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Public Administration and Planning and an Associate Director for the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy at Stellenbosch University. Prior to that he served as Director of the World Conservation Union, South Africa (IUCN-SA) for eight years. Saliem is a prolific writer and contributes regularly to leading South African publications like Engineering News, Business Day and the Daily Maverick.

Carlos Lopes

Honorary Professor at the Mandela School and current AU High Representative to support Member States in the negotiation of a new agreement with the European Union post-2020 and member of the organisation’s Reform Team. Professor Lopes served as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Prior to this, he was UN representative in Zimbabwe and Brazil, director for development policy at the UN Development Programme, Executive Director of UNITAR, Director of the United Nations System Staff College, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan’s political director.