[Friday, 23rd March 2012, Suva, FIJI] The Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund will contribute US$2.3 million towards a rural solar home systems project in Fiji.At a signing ceremony held today in Suva to finalise the related financial agreement, Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Mr Feleti Teo, commended the Japanese Government's foresight in launching the PEC Fund initiative in 2009.
"The initiative was designed to contribute to the region's collective efforts to reduce carbon emissions through increasing the use of renewable energy and the reduction of heavy reliance on the use of fossil fuels," said Mr Teo. "In this case, the Carbon Abatement via Solar Homes Systems in Rural Areas is expected to provide significant benefits to people in 41 rural villages around Fiji by increasing access to a reliable and secure supply of electricity to households from power generated by solar panels."
In May of 2009 Pacific Leaders met with the Government of Japan at the 5th Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM 5) in Hokkaido, Japan. At the PALM 5 Summit, Leaders issued the Islanders' Hokkaido Declaration which reaffirmed Leaders' commitment to collaborate and cooperate on a wide range of issues.
A significant part of the Declaration was the launch of the PEC Fund, under which Japan provided a ¥6.8billion (approximately US$66 million) contribution to Pacific island countries to tackle environmental issues. These funds will be used to support projects with a focus on the provision of solar power generation systems and sea water desalination plants in the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
To date, the Governments of Samoa, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Nauru, the Solomon Islands and now Fiji, have successfully accessed the PEC Fund for renewable energy and sea water desalination projects.
Implementation of PEC Fund supported projects is lead by Pacific island country governments.