[Thursday 14th July 2011, Rarotonga, Cook Islands] - More renewable energy and saltwater desalination activities in the Pacific region will be forthcoming following the conclussion of a Pacific 'writeshop' in the Cook Islands to help project proposal writing.

During the 'writeshop', held last week in the Cook Islands, over 40 participants from throughout the region learnt the best way to develop project proposals and how they are assessed for approval.

Sessions during the week involved the preparation of mock project proposals which were reviewed by a select panel for feedback, with the opportunity for country participants to work on refining actual project proposals they plan to submit.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) pooled resources to coordinate the workshop focusing on the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund and the Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project (PIGGAREP).

PIGGAREP, administered by SPREP, is aimed at reducing the growth rate of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use in FICs through the removal of the barriers to effective use of renewable energy technologies.

The PEC Fund, administered by the Forum Secretariat, is a commitment by the Government of Japan of ¥6.8 billion (approx US$66 million) to support FIC projects with a focus on the provision of solar power generation systems and sea water desalination plants, or a combination of both.

Participants say:
"I really enjoyed the workshop, I learnt a lot and it has implication for everything our office does, from business plans to national projects," said Joseph Brider of the Cook Islands National Environment Service.

The Senior Energy Officer from Vanuatu, Mr. Moli Janjea also found the workshop very good as it was the very first time for him to write a project proposal.

"It was a very useful workshop and receiving more assistance to help me build up these skills would be helpful. For us in Vanuatu we plan to embark on a project to provide solar power for a government ministry, we'll do this once we finalise our budgets for two saltwater desalination projects in Vanuatu."

Mr. Dickson Wichep, the Project Manager of the Department of transportation, communication and infrastructure also found the workshop very helpful.

"I see proposals prepared by consultants come through our office and this workshop has given me insight as to how the projects are put together as well as all the information needed to support proposals. It will be helpful for me so I can prepare my own project proposal."