Energy and Climate change

Partnering for energy security, sustainability and equity

South Africa’s energy challenges require a systems approach that considers issues of inclusivity, safety, economy, and environment, among others. Collaboration across and between spheres of government, civil society and the private sector is crucial for a diversified and decentralised electricity generation system. The EDP brings adaptive partnering solutions for a rapidly changing regulatory environment that strengthen the renewable energy ecosystem and support the ‘just energy transition’.

Athlone Power Station: Stakeholder engagement for energy security

The coal-fired Athlone Power Station in Cape Town closed in 2003, but the site’s infrastructure holds significant redevelopment potential for green energy, industry and training. The EDP supports the City of Cape Town with stakeholder engagement to help develop a shared vision for the site’s future and inform the early design process. The partnering process is building strong relationships across sectors for efficient information sharing and collaboration in the years ahead.

Engaging civil society in Cape Town’s Climate Change Strategy

Implementing the City of Cape Town’s Climate Change Strategy will require collaboration between residents, business, organisations, academia, international partners, and across government spheres and. Civil society groups have a key role to play here. The EDP supports the City of Cape Town to engage productively with civil society in the climate and environment space around climate issues and towards implementing the City’s Climate Change Action plan.

Partnering to address energy poverty in Cape Town

Although Cape Town is largely electrified, many informal households do not receive electricity from the grid. The City of Cape Town is collaborating with businesses and residents to alleviate energy poverty. The EDP is working with the Centre for Sustainable Transitions (CST) to conduct stakeholder mapping and explore partnering opportunities to alleviate energy poverty in and around Cape Town, aligning with the broader vision of a ‘just energy transition’.

Water Resilience

Building water resilience to strengthen water security

Resilient water systems are crucial for sustainable livelihoods and economic growth. Climate change, environmental factors and population growth are all placing demands on South Africa’s scarce water resources, while institutional challenges prevent effective coordination and undermine infrastructure maintenance. The EDP strengthens relationships among water users and custodians to improve water governance for improved water resilience.

Adaptive governance for the Western Cape Water Supply System

The Western Cape Water Supply System provides water to four million people in Cape Town, Stellenbosch and towns within the Drakenstein, Swartland and Saldanha Bay areas, as well as the agricultural sector. A multi-year hydro-economic study, convened by the EDP and released in 2023, underscored the importance of building relationships for improved decision making, planning and delivery. To this end, the EDP supports the City of Cape Town to convene strategic engagements with water users and water authorities for joint action towards creating a resilient water system for the province.

Connecting Water, Energy and Food to increase resilience

Demand for water, energy, and food (WEF) is increasing globally, driven by demographic and economic growth, changing user practices, and rapid urbanisation. Current models of resource-intensive urbanisation are unsustainable, increasing the risk of interrelated water, energy and food crises faced by cities.

The WEF-Nexus project is a four-year study run by an international, multidisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners to build synergies between Cape Town’s WEF sectors, while ensuring environmental preservation. As one of the project partners, the EDP promotes collaboration and learning exchange between researchers, practitioners and policy-makers working in the WEF sector.

Infrastructure and mobility

Collaboration for inclusive infrastructure planning and delivery

South Africa continues to experience fractured infrastructure management and delivery, compounded by the country’s current energy crisis and infrastructure deficit. The National Development Plan (2013) calls for partnerships and greater experimentation between public and private sectors to maximise infrastructure delivery. The EDP aims to improve infrastructure planning and delivery for public benefit through inclusive partnering platforms and boosting capability to address structural problems across sectors.


ReBuilt: A Changemaker’s Guide

Cities can play a critical role in driving more regenerative, research efficient and just approaches to the built environment. There are opportunities for municipalities and the commercial building sector to adopt more climate-smart building and planning processes while testing their local acceptance.  The EDP is working with the Bauhaus Earth and African Centre for Cities, with funding from the Toni Piech Foundation to develop guidelines for a regenerative built environment, based on multi-stakeholder engagement to empower other cities, particularly in Africa in the transition towards a regenerative built environment.




Safety as a cornerstone to a thriving society

Enhancing safety boosts economic growth and promotes community well-being. The EDP uses collaborative, area-based approaches to enrich public sector capabilities and foster co-created solutions that address crime and violence. These approaches are founded on strong partnerships that focus on holistic, adaptive methods.


Local Economic Development

Partnering for inclusive economic growth and employment

South Africa’s economic challenges cannot be solved by one sector alone, and creating economic opportunities relies on many factors. The EDP influences key systems that contribute to a thriving economy and job creation. This includes coordinating partnerships across the three spheres of government to drive skills development, social employment, support SMMEs, and enhance capacity in informal economies.

Promoting sustainable development in the Garden Route

The Garden Route Development Partnership (GRDP), facilitated by the EDP brings together local municipalities, government and the private sector in the Garden Route District for the collaborative implementation of the Garden Route Growth and Development Strategy and associated Recovery Plan. The EDP provides backbone support for the GRDP and capacitates partners towards effective collaboration for a resilient, sustainable economy.

Growth Coalitions: Partnering across Cape Town industry for inclusive economic growth

The City of Cape Town’s cross-sectoral Growth Coalitions, launched in 2022, enable partnerships between the City and private sector across different industries. The EDP convenes the Food and Beverage Sector Growth Coalition Platform as the initial pilot, which promotes structured engagements with the food and beverage industry to promote skills development, job creation and sector development.

Social Employment Fund learning and support network

South Africa’s Social Employment Fund, launched in 2021 under the Presidential Employment Stimulus and administered by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) creates ‘work for the common good’ by optimising partnerships between larger civil society organisations and informal grassroots networks. With the IDC and DG Murray Trust, the EDP convenes the Social Employment Network, a learning and support network that supports the Fund’s implementing partners by sharing information, documenting learnings and addressing challenges, while sharing learnings back to government to improve the management of the fund and future fund iterations. Learn more about the Social Emplyment Network.

Partnering for integrated waste and wellbeing economies

Like many global cities, Cape Town grapples with high volumes of waste and many of the City’s landfill sites have reached capacity. Building on the findings of the EDP’s partnering support to the City’s Coastal Park landfill site, the EDP is developing a city-wide strategy and programme for the City of Cape Town to integrate SMMEs into the formal waste economy, while enhancing collaboration within the City’s Urban Waste Management Directorate.

Towns Action Network for small town regeneration

South African towns and their surrounding regions face many challenges, ranging from persistent droughts to the outmigration of businesses and talent. The Towns Action Network is an action-inspired national learning and support network that connects changemakers and fosters local partnerships across sectors activate the potential and support the regeneration of small and medium size towns in South Africa. The network is funded by Embassy of Finland’s Fund for Local Cooperation, and lead by the EDP and seven Support Partners – Ranyaka, Kagiso TrustRestaurare/ Citeplan, Karoo Development Foundation, Accountability Lab SAPublic Affairs Research Institute (PARI),South African Local Government Association (SALGA). Learn more about the Towns Action Network here.

Partnering for Adam Tas Corridor development, Stellenbosch

The 400-hectare Adam Tas Corridor – also known as the Stellenbosch Corridor –has the potential to integrate much-needed affordable housing, public space, schools and non-motorised transport along a major transport spine. The EDP is convening a partnering process with Stellenbosch Municipality, multiple landowners and other stakeholders to develop a governance framework and partnering arrangements to support the implementation of the corridor.

Food learning journeys in the Western Cape

The EDP supports the Western Cape Government’s ‘Nourish To Flourish’ programme by convening food learning journeys across the Western Cape, in collaboration with the Department of Science and Innovation-National Research Foundation Centre of Excellence in Food Security (CoE-FS) and the Southern Africa Food Lab. Learning journeys reveal challenges and opportunities within local food systems, with partners incorporating learnings into tangible programming and delivery through follow up engagements with officials and key stakeholders. Learn more about food learning journeys here.