top of page

South Asia Energy Colloquium paves way for SAJTA, uniting civil society for Just Transition

Jul 28, 2023

| Methmalie Dissanayake

The three-day-long South Asia Energy Colloquium, which concluded in Kathmandu, Nepal on 14 July, marked a significant step towards a greener and more equitable future for the region. At its core, the event saw the establishment of the South Asia Just Transition Alliance (SAJTA), a powerful initiative that calls for the reshaping of economies, bidding farewell to fossil fuel reliance, and embracing a just transition for all South Asian nations.

Organised jointly by CLEAN Bangladesh, the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) – Sri Lanka, and Growthwatch India, the colloquium brought together a diverse array of stakeholders, including green campaigners, researchers, and representatives from civil society organisations across Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Their shared goal was to address the pressing need for a sustainable and inclusive energy transition in a region where fossil fuel-intensive economies and import dependence prevail.

The concept of a ‘just transition’, as defined by the International Labour Organisation, took centre stage in the discussions. This approach advocates for a fair and inclusive transition to a sustainable economy, ensuring that no one is left behind. It acknowledges the potential job losses in sectors heavily reliant on fossil fuels, particularly in countries where informal employment dominates the workforce.

The SAJTA’s declaration outlined a comprehensive roadmap for South Asian governments to undertake essential actions. Central to this was a demand for a fossil-free Belt and Road Initiative and the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt, which would respect national sovereignty, community ownership and the principle of doing no harm.

A pivotal moment at the colloquium was the collective call to halt fossil fuel financing from South Asian governments, bilateral and multilateral institutions. The SAJTA unequivocally demanded an end to all forms of fossil fuel financing, including equity investments, guarantees, insurance, tax exemptions, and subsidies. This bold step aims to redirect financial resources from harmful practices towards sustainable alternatives.

Recognising the financial challenges associated with transitioning to renewable energy, the SAJTA emphasised the establishment of a special fund with incentives to support the shift towards cleaner energy sources. Such financial support would alleviate the burden on South Asian nations and promote the adoption of sustainable practices.

By uniting civil society organisations across the region, the SAJTA has the potential to drive positive change and foster sustainable development. With a collective voice, these organisations can advocate for the rights and well-being of marginalised communities, promote social justice and hold governments accountable for their actions. Collaborating and sharing expertise will enhance their influence on policy decisions and development initiatives, ultimately contributing to a more equitable and prosperous South Asia.

As the South Asia Energy Colloquium and the establishment of SAJTA set the stage for a transformative journey towards sustainable and inclusive energy systems, the region can look forward to a brighter, cleaner and more sustainable future, benefiting all its inhabitants.

News Link: South Asia Energy Colloquium paves way for SAJTA, uniting civil society for Just Transition

bottom of page