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Step 5 - Facilitating policy change

Experience has shown that many of the most common interventions proposed by market actors involve changes in legislation, regulations or standards, falling within the Level 3: Enabling Environment of the market map. Facilitators need to ensure they build the capacity of the market actors - including through their interest forums, MOGs and lead firms - to mobilise their members to advocate for, and help implement and enforce policy changes themselves.

For certain energy market systems to develop, particularly those involving marginalised and low income households, market actors often need to get involved in the process of policy change themselves. This includes supporting the policy makers to identify the major market system barriers, and develop the political conditions to successfully support new energy technologies or innovations to overcome them.

Sometimes facilitators may need to take a lead in the short term on advocacy or influencing in certain less developed energy market systems to convince policy makers and, or, supportive government agencies of the importance of policy changes required to support a range of market actors. In other more developed energy market systems the coordinated and persistent advocacy of a wide range of market actors can persuade the policy makers to take the required action.

It is important for facilitators to engage relevant policy makers in the roadmap process from as early as possible, being aware of the following:

  • In practice policy change is often messy, rarely following models that suggest a linear and neat process
  • Policy change processes often get complicated particularly if they require a power shift as authorities are rarely willing to give up positions of power. Facilitators need to help identify the actors who might lose power from a policy change, and involve them in the process to address their loss
  • Although every perceived negative impact can be turned into an opportunity, certain actors may have to lose out for a market system to become more inclusive and efficient, such as corrupt intermediaries or selfish community leaders
  • As politics concerns votes and public opinion it can be useful to engage local and national media to highlight either negative or positive actions of policy makers
  • Any policy change needs to involve the market actors that will be impacted. Facilitators can support, but the market actors themselves need to be engaged and passionate about changing a particular policy
  • Policy change is often about timing, so if progress is slow going, the market actors may need to take a break and re-engage when conditions are more favourable
  • It is important to find allies in other regions or subsectors who are also working to get policies changed, and for the market actors to collaborate with them
  • Some policies are easier to change than others, so facilitators should support the market actors to prioritise ones that are more likely to succeed, to build their confidence and capacity to address more challenging policies.

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