Friday 11 May 2012, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji - Pacific Islands join other small islands developing states in supporting the Sustainable Energy for All initiativeSPC, in its lead role on energy among CROP (Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific) agencies, was invited to make presentations to the High-Level Conference of the Small Islands Developing States on Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in SIDS: Challenges, Opportunities, Commitments, which was held in Barbados on 7-9 May 2012.
Deputy Director (Energy) of SPC's Economic Development Division, Mr Solomone Fifita, highlighted to the conference that Pacific Island Forum Leaders embraced the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative when they endorsed the Framework for Action on Energy Security in the Pacific (FAESP): 2010-2020 and reaffirmed their commitment to a renewable energy and energy efficient future based on achievable, practical and voluntary targets. The result of SPC's EU-Policy Dialogue Facility-funded effort to establish baseline energy security indicators for Pacific Island countries was presented and appreciated by the conference.
The Hon. Henry Puna, in-coming chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, made his point strongly when he said, 'Sustainable Energy for All is about freedom, freedom from the bondage of fossil fuel; a bondage that has resulted in the Cook Islands forking out more than USD 50 million a year to import petroleum products and another USD 12 million to make electricity affordable to its outer island communities. Yet it is estimated that it will cost USD 800 million to generate all the electricity needs of the Cook Islands from clean, cost-effective renewable energy technologies.'
Solomone noted that other strong statements were made at the conference by Tuvalu's Deputy Prime Minister, Samoa's Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, and Nauru and Palau's Ministers for Energy. They were supported by representatives from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, the International Union for Conservation of Nature-Oceania, and the United Nations Development Programme-Pacific Centre. They all contributed to an excellent conference outcome for Pacific SIDS.
SPC is committed to ensuring coherence of the SE4All Initiative and FAESP. To this end, while the SIDS roll-out of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All was held during the Barbados conference, SPC is leading and coordinating the Pacific roll-out with its sister CROP agencies and partners. This will be held at the University of the South Pacific in Suva on 18 May and plans are under way for a post-RIO +20 roll-out in Cook Islands in August. The Suva roll-out will include:
- the announcement of regional competition winners and scholarship winners;
- the launch of a documentary on energy security in the Pacific;
- the launch of an energy certification and accreditation scheme;
- the launch of reports on the energy security status of Pacific Island countries; and
- a live panel discussion by energy experts from around the region