South South North was formed about 16 years ago in response to both the climate and developmental agendas. Combining these two agendas in one, the leaders that formed this operation had a vision about the Clean Development Mechanism, making sure that it combined real sustainable development benefits with the idea of carbon offsetting. “South South North” means co-operation within the southern hemisphere, between organisation in Asia, and Africa and Latin American and in partnerships with the north. It is very important that these partnerships are on our own terms driven by our agendas and very important that we have this collaboration in the south across the developing world.
Collaboration with the Sun Exchange is fantastic as we don’t have to lay down the capital for our solar roof and as a non-profit we should be spending our resources on achieving the objectives we set and not on ourselves. Yes we spend money on our staff and keeping our staff happy but we are outward focused. There are many companies that approached us, but none of them with such a disruptive bent as Sun Exchange, we like the idea of being part of something that is innovative and which is new. I don’t pretend to understand digital currency but it is fantastic that we can be part of it!
The ability of people around the world to own a piece of a PV panel on our roof is a fantastic human connector, and our function here is to establish, reconnect and engage in development and particularly climate resilient development and support governments throughout the region think about long term economic futures. The fact that someone sitting in Norway can buy a piece of a solar PV panel on our roof and support us in a way which is allowing us to walk the talk whilst owning a piece of a solar system (in an environment that allows us to produce electricity from the sun very efficiently) is a great win for a whole host of reasons. It connects us to those people, it connects them hopefully so they can see the kind of work we are doing and that this is the kind of work they would support, so there is a fantastic synergy in that, very closely linked to our name, South South North….. they are investing in us, we are investing in the region. It is a big win for everyone.
This is about reality. This is not about development aid in the sense of doing good, like “I want to save that particular rhinoceros in that particular reserve because I like rhinoceroses”, in the world of climate and climate change, addressing the problems of green-house gas emissions is only going to happen if it happens in the real world. People putting their money and resources and investments and pension funds into a future economy that works. And what is fantastic about this model is that it works for us as the recipient of power and it works for the people investing in owning the pv panels, and it is a win for the environment. That is real. Real is scalable. And if it sees scale then it will revolutionise our world.
Carl Wesselink, Regional Director for Africa
Carl is the Director of SSN Consulting (Pty) Ltd. Prior to joining SSN, he led the implementation of the Kuyasa CDM Project, the first CDM project in Africa. Following this he helped pioneer a sustainable, community-based energy services model for the mass roll-out of solar and other energy-efficient interventions in low-income housing. Carl previously worked in the human rights and development field and is an attorney admitted to practise in the High Court of South Africa.