Assessing the Role and Relevance of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) in Global Sustainability Governance
Philipp Pattberg, Kacper Szulecki, Sander Chan, and Aysem Mert
Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University Amsterdam
Our analysis proceeds as follows: In the first section of the report we briefly sketch out the context and history of the initiative, from the drafting stage to the current robust and complex institutional design, introduce the various types of stakeholders, including strategic governmental partners (donors and recipients), and provide a categorization of partners. In the following section we discuss the organization’s mission, goals and strategies of achieving them, as stated in the Partnership’s documents. Subsequently, we provide a brief analysis of the actual implementation process before we assess the effectiveness of the partnership based on expert interviews, document studies and quantitative information contained in the Global Sustainability Partnerships Database (GSPD). Finally, we conclude with a brief summary of our results and a number of careful generalizations.
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) forms part of a larger universe of partnerships that were formed and established around the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). With more than 250 partners, (including 50 governments), $16,450,000 of available funds and an annual budget of just over 6,000,000, REEEP is one of the largest partnerships working for sustainable development. As an initiative promoting renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE), REEEP is in the energy sector which comprises 14 percent of partnerships. REEEP is among the most active in its sector.
The United Kingdom was the initiator of the partnership and has been the main driving force since inception. The preliminary arrangements for
the founding of a new partnership in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector were made in early 2002, with the UK and Indonesia and UNIDO as first major partners. Nine other governments expressed their interest in the new initiative at this stage (among them Austria, India and Norway, key governmental partners today); fourteen others were invited. Efforts were made to acquire several important partners from the private sector, including businesses (e.g., Shell, IT Power, UK Business Council on Sustainable Energy, BP) and NGOs (WWF, Greenpeace) as well as IOs (ASEAN, UNEP, IEA). The initial provisions expected $500,000 of UK funding for the Secretariat, to be supported by other donors at later stages. First goals and targets were sketched out at that time.
REEEP is meant to be an open-ended initiative to facilitate multi-stakeholder cooperation in the renewable energy and sustainable development sector. As such it does not have an intended end date. Its focus was global from the start, and with an International Secretariat, eight Regional Secretariats (RS) and 2 additional local focal points (North Africa and West Africa), the partnership is being implemented in 57 countries on six continents. Apart from regional governing bodies, REEEP has lower level representations of the hosting institutions in the countries of implementation (e.g. REC Country Offices and Field Offices). The Regional Secretariats (RS) are subcontracted independent organizations, with the exception of South East Asia and Pacific RS is a dedicated REEEP representation financed by the Australian government. REEEP is a cooperative platform for more than 3,500 members, and 250 registered partners, among them 45 governmental actors (both national and subnational), including all of the G7 states, 180 private entities and six international organizations (UN DESA 2008). The is constantly growing. More than one-third of the governmental partners are European, 31 percent are from Asia, 18 percent are American states, 11 percent from Africa, and two from Australia and Oceania
Naturally, the national governments are seen as strategic partners, and their role is slightly different from that of regular partners (financial assistance). State partners need to declare an interest in joining the partnership, and then explicitly commit to the REEEP mission by signing a formal declaration. The most interesting and important ‘new’ member is definitely Norway. The Norwegian government, represented by Erik Solheim, Minister for the Environment and International Development, was looking for means to implement the idea of mainstreaming environmental considerations into international development and development aid. From this arose the “Norwegian action plan for environment in development cooperation” for which Norway needed implementing agencies. REEEP was chosen after careful considerations, negotiations, and evaluations. According to a senior REEEP official, one of the elements of REEEP that the Norwegians emphasized as being important from their point of view was the bottom-up
approach in formulating global priorities. Once a partner, Norway has had enormous influences on REEEP. One of which has been the streamlining the considerable resources it has brought to the partnership.
REEEP represents a market-oriented group of actors working for sustainable development, intending to facilitate the exchange of technologies, identifying and removing policy and regulatory barriers in the renewable energy market (also creating such markets if they do not already exist), and providing information for various stakeholders. It is clearly targeted at business actors, aiming at matching finance and concrete projects in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The partnership is mostly a platform for communication between the partners, and a means to rationalize and bring coherence to its public awareness campaign activities on renewable energy. Not only does it strive to remove state-level and regional barriers for the renewable energy market, it also sets standards and regulates its members within the partnership.
The outcomes of our analysis suggest that REEEP is indeed addressing the goals that it declares, although the main goal of market transformation receives most attention. We also conclude that it is, to some extent, a “partnership that delivers,” as its advertising slogan claims. It does not, however, fulfill all of its functions to a satisfactory degree, and the focus is on most important emerging RE and EE markets. Poorer countries in sub-Saharan Africa are somewhat neglected. What is more, REEEP has an uncommon governance structure—strong regional representation and a bottom-up approach. These factors have helped in its efficacy, focused on user needs/demands and effectively connect donors with recipients. This way resource allocation is efficient and the success rate of projects remains at a high level. Its current scale suggests that with such high levels of output, it definitely can have a considerable impact in the area of sustainable energy policy.