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ProBEC's Third and final Steering Committee meeting
The third and final programme steering committee meeting (PSC) was held at the Park Inn Hotel, in Sandton, Johannesburg, on the 25th November 2010, and was attended by around 30 representatives of ProBEC partners and staff.
Mr Freddie Motlhatlhedi, of the SADC Secretariat, chaired the meeting. He opened it by saying that all the developing countries represented at the PSC have people dependent on biomass for cooking and heating, and said that he anticipated that this use would increase despite the expansion of the grid. While this situation might change for South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia, for most of the region more has to be done to protect biomass. As GTZ funding is ending, SADC needs to take a strong position as to how to move forward on this situation, and to make sure biomass is available in the future. He noted that the commitment of everyone in the room was observed, but said that there is a need to do more. The SADC secretariat developed an energy access Plan of Action (POA) for the region and has sent it to all member states and asked them to develop national level POAs to assess if there is progress on that level. He pointed out that the POA is not just about electricity access, but about the whole energy mix to make sure access spreads. Given the staffing constraints at the SADC secretariat, he called on meeting participants to help lobby for the importance of attention to biomass energy situation. Mr Motlhatlhedi noted that many energy projects are not moving in the region, and he surmised that the reason for this is that there is not the necessary political will, further commenting that the political will is lacking because officials are not informing the ministers/politicians of what should happen. He implored those present to make sure the flow of information is there to the higher echelons of government and said that the onus is on those present to facilitate this process and keep biomass on the agenda.
Participants committed themselves to promoting ProBEC's work and to continue with holding annual PSC meetings.
The deliberations were followed by a Gala Dinner and closing party.
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