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Summary of the High-Level Conference of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) “Achieving Sustainable Energy for All” (SE4ALL) and Rio+20 SIDS Informal Ministerial Meeting
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Volume 199 Number 1 - Saturday, 12 may 2012
SUMMARY OF THE HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE OF THE SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES (SIDS) “ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL” (SE4ALL) AND SIDS RIO+20 MEETING
7-9 MAY 2012

The SE4ALL High-Level Conference of SIDS took place on 7-8 May 2012 in Bridgetown, Barbados, followed by the Rio+20 SIDS Informal Ministerial Meeting on 9 May in the same location. The Conference was organized by the Government of Barbados in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) multi-country office for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The Conference was attended by around 150 participants, including representatives from governments, the UN, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, and the private sector. Heads of government and ministers from 29 SIDS took part in the High-Level Conference and Rio+20 SIDS Informal Ministerial Meeting.

 At the end of the SE4ALL High-Level Conference of SIDS, participants adopted the Barbados Declaration on Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in SIDS, which recognizes challenges and opportunities in achieving sustainable energy and welcomes the voluntary commitments by 18 states to promote transformational activities in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy access, and low-carbon development.

BRIEF HISTORY

SE4ALL: The UN General Assembly has declared 2012 the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.” In this context, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched his SE4ALL initiative to identify and mobilize action by stakeholders from across government, business, civil society, academia and the development community. Three objectives underpin the goal of achieving sustainable energy for all by 2030: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. The International Year and the SE4ALL initiative include various activities at different levels such as: the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Group, national dialogues to facilitate stakeholder involvement and policy formulation and evaluation, as well as a public-private partnership of practitioners in the energy community.

The outcomes of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All and SE4ALL initiative will feed into the work of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also called Rio+20).

Rio+20 Process: The UNCSD will take place on 20-22 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit, which resulted in the adoption of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and Agenda 21 (a 40-chapter programme of action). The Earth Summit also led to the creation of a Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), as a functional commission of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED and examine progress in implementing Agenda 21 at the local, national, regional and international levels. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity were also opened for signature during the Earth Summit.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) met from 26 August – 4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The WSSD’s goal was to hold a ten-year review of UNCED at the Summit level to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable development. The WSSD negotiated and adopted two main documents: the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development.

The JPOI is designed as a framework for action to implement the commitments originally agreed at UNCED and includes eleven chapters: an introduction; poverty eradication; consumption and production; the natural resource base; health; SIDS; Africa; other regional initiatives; means of implementation; and institutional framework. The Johannesburg Declaration outlines the path taken from UNCED to the WSSD, highlights challenges, expresses a commitment to sustainable development, underscores the importance of multilateralism and emphasizes the need for implementation.

The 2012 UNCSD Rio+20 conference will seek to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess progress and implementation gaps in meeting previously agreed commitments, and address new and emerging challenges. The conference will focus on the following themes: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development. A number of consultations have taken place on a “zero draft” of the Rio+20 outcome document.

Regional and sub-regional groups have also undertaken preparatory meetings for the 2012 Rio+20 conference, including three meetings convened to allow SIDS the opportunity to develop inputs into the UNCSD preparatory process. The Subregional Preparatory Meeting for the Caribbean convened in Georgetown, Guyana, on 20 June 2011. The Subregional Preparatory Committee for the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea (AIMS) countries, convened in Mahé, Seychelles, from 7-8 July 2011. The Pacific Subregional Preparatory Joint Ministerial Meeting convened in Apia, Samoa, from 21-22 July 2011.

SUMMARY OF THE MEETINGS

THE SE4ALL HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE OF SIDS

The SE4ALL High-Level Conference of SIDS consisted of an opening session on the energy outlook in SIDS and seven plenary sessions addressing: ensuring affordable and reliable access to modern energy services in SIDS by 2030; doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency in SIDS by 2030; doubling the share of renewables in the energy mix in SIDS by 2030; SIDS DOCK, the SIDS sustainable energy partnership mechanism; enabling environment and financing sustainable energy for all in SIDS; future steps on promoting sustainable energy for all in SIDS; and feasibility studies on renewable energy options for the Caribbean, and their replicability for other islands.

The Conference also discussed the draft Barbados Declaration on Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in SIDS.

OPENING CEREMONY

On Monday, 7 May, Valerie Browne, the conference moderator and Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, Barbados, opened the meeting, welcoming participants and expressing her hopes for a successful meeting. This was followed by a poetry in rhythm performance by AJA and the Peace Ambassadors.

Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, UNDP Barbados, acknowledged Barbados for hosting the meeting and highlighted the value of sustainable energy towards a better quality of life for all. She also delivered an address by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which emphasised the value of sustainable energy for all in driving economic growth, strengthening social equity and alleviating poverty. She urged SIDS to ensure that their voices are heard in the upcoming Rio+20 meeting, and added that SIDS need to free themselves from being dependent on fossil fuel imports to ensure the transformation of energy sectors to modern, clean and sustainable energy.

Aloysius Amwano, The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), said small economies, scattered populations and capacity limitations are impediments to achieving development goals in SIDS. He urged SIDS to encourage developed countries to fully implement commitments under the Barbados Plan of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS adopted in 1994, noting the need for swift and comprehensive environmentally sound energy production.

Veerle Vandeweerd, UNDP, presenting on behalf of Olav Kjørven, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP, highlighted efforts made by SIDS in addressing energy issues that include energy plans and energy strategies. She said SIDS need to have a clear vision on achieving sustainable energy for all before the upcoming Rio+20 meeting.

Addressing the meeting via video message, Helen Clark, Administrator, UNDP, highlighted that the conference represents a unique opportunity for SIDS to discuss ways to drive the transformational change necessary to achieve sustainable energy goals and that the conference’s outcomes will feed into Rio+20 discussions. She emphasized that SIDS already play a leadership role in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and promoting low-carbon development.

The Prime Minister of Barbados Freundel Stuart underlined the specific constraints that SIDS face in achieving sustainable development, such as: limited resources; heavy dependence on international trade and imported oil products; vulnerability to natural disasters and limited response capacity; high vulnerability to external economic shocks; and adverse effects of climate change. Prime Minister Stuart stressed Barbados’ active efforts in promoting sustainable energy both on the supply and demand side through expanding renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency, respectively. He emphasized regional Caribbean initiatives on sustainable energy and strongly commended the creation of the SIDS DOCK platform as an institutional mechanism to promote renewable energy and low-carbon development goals, and adaptation to climate change. He stressed that the Rio+20 meeting is a “golden opportunity” for SIDS “to speak as one” to articulate and promote their interests by recognizing their vulnerabilities.

CONFERENCE SESSIONS

SIDS ENERGY OUTLOOK: The session moderator Browne described challenges, opportunities and commitments on achieving sustainable energy for all SIDS as the main topic of the session.

Joseph Williams, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, said over dependence on imported fossil fuel is a major challenge in the Caribbean. He noted that SIDS heavily rely on global markets and that this leads to negative effects on the affordability, availability and reliability of energy supplies.

Antonio Pedro Monteiro Lima, AIMS countries, discussed efforts by his region in renewable energy, which include, inter alia: an initiative on green buildings by Mauritius; carbon-neutral commitments by the Maldives; and wind farm systems in Cape Verde. He noted the risks of high energy import costs for economic and social development.

Solomone Fifita, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, presented comparisons of energy consumption, spending and policy commitments by 20 Pacific island countries and territories. He said the main challenges in the Pacific are synchronisation of international goals to national targets and the coordination of development efforts by all stakeholders.

PLENARY SESSIONS: Ensuring Affordable and Reliable Access to Modern Energy Services in SIDS by 2030: In opening the session, the moderator Richenda van Leeuwen, UN Foundation, highlighted that one-fifth of the world’s population have no access to energy with another billion having only partial access.

Henry Puna, Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Renewable Energy, Cook Islands, described challenges of providing energy access for his country which consists of 15 small islands spreading over the area of two million square kilometres. Referring to high prices for fossil fuels and associated social, environmental and economic effects, he stressed that energy access is also “about freedom” and affordability. Prime Minister Puna further highlighted renewable energy as “not an option, but the only way” to ensure green economy and sustainable development in SIDS, and that the Cook Islands has set ambitious targets of achieving 50 percent of renewable energy in the energy mix by 2015 and 100 percent by 2020.

Indra Haraksingh, University of the West Indies and Caribbean Solar Energy Society, noted diversity in energy access conditions across the Caribbean and SIDS. She stressed the role of education and capacity building institutions, and greening the economy in achieving sustainable development. Highlighting adverse effects of climate change on agriculture, tourism, and fisheries, she underlined the importance of adaptation measures.

Thomas Jensen, UNDP Pacific Centre, highlighted challenges with access to energy in the Pacific relating to: gaps in electricity access in several countries, including Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati and others; low income households; high price of bringing petroleum products to rural areas; reliance on biomass for cooking; and limited human and institutional capacities. Elaborating on key lessons from the Pacific’s experiences, Jensen highlighted the crucial role of governments in ensuring the right policy framework, the importance of long-term planning and commitment, and the significance of both capacity development and technology. He further drew participants’ attention to the rural electrification programme in Fiji stressing a number of factors that enabled its success including political, budgetary and institutional support.

Leena Srivastava, The Energy and Resources Institute, India, noted that India faces similar challenges in providing access to energy, in particular the geography spread of rural areas and topographical conditions. Cautioning against seeing subsidies and prices as a major challenge to energy access, she highlighted a number of existing models to address these problems, in particular through public-private partnerships. She also highlighted regional and bottom-up approaches in bringing about sustainable energy for all.

In the following discussion, participants addressed issues of financial support for converting to renewable energy in SIDS, importance of education and professional development on renewables, and energy efficiency in the tourism industry.

Doubling the Rate of Improvement in Energy Efficiency in SIDS by 2030: Session moderator Hugh Sealy, Energy and Sustainable Development Adviser, Grenada, referred to energy as a moving target since energy consumption increases annually.

David Barrett, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, presented on investment types and soft measures for the early implementation of energy efficiency projects and programmes. He emphasised the need for audits to measure energy consumption as a basis for sensible policy decisions. As soft measures for the early implementation of energy conservation, he highlighted, inter alia: electrical power, air conditioning, refrigeration, and lighting.

Anare Matakiviti, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), highlighted the work of his organisation in endorsing a rapid transition to sustainable energy sources in the Pacific by sharing the impacts of different energy sources on biodiversity. He presented three case studies of successful projects which include, inter alia: the replacement of 800 energy inefficient street lights in Marshall Islands; a home loan energy efficiency programme in Palau; and a coconut biofuel transport project in Samoa. Matakiviti stressed the the need for a better understanding of the linkages between energy systems and natural ecosystems by promoting systems that are ecologically efficient, sustainable and socially equitable.

Joseph Williams, CARICOM Secretariat, said a more analytical data-based approach is integral to the establishment and adjustments of energy policies. He underscored the importance of access to mechanisms such as microfinancing opportunities to ensure that effective energy efficient measures are implemented. Williams said it is possible to double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency in SIDS by 2030, but that governments need to take the lead. He reiterated the need for efforts to be evidence-based, coherent and consistent.

Roland Clarke, Clarke Energy Associates, Barbados, presented on recommendations for a programmatic approach for energy efficiency. He identified barriers to energy efficiency, which include: lack of awareness; lack of confidence in information provided by experts; limited performance of energy efficient equipment; and split incentives between building owners and tenants, which impact the implementation of soft measures. He stressed the need for a multi-stakeholder approach to energy efficiency and the formulation of achievable and measurable strategic objectives.

Discussions centred on incentives and costs of switching to biofuel in the transport sector.

Doubling the Share of Renewables in the Energy Mix in SIDS by 2030: Highlighting his country as one of the highest energy consumers in the region, Julian Robinson, Minister of State at the Ministry of Energy and Mining, and Information Communication Technology, Jamaica, discussed national policies aimed at achieving sustainable energy goals, such as universal access and increasing the renewables’ share to 20 percent by 2030. He also highlighted several related initiatives and actions, including: a project on increasing energy efficiency and conservation in the public sector funded by the Inter-American Development Bank; a programme to develop a regulatory and institutional framework for energy security; studies on how the sugar industry can contribute to sustainable energy; increasing the use of wind turbines; a rural electrification programme; and a low-carbon development programme.

Taito Faale Tumaalii Faamoetauloa, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Samoa, elaborated on his country’s experiences with promoting sustainable energy, noting that biomass, fossil fuels and hydropower constitute the main sources of energy. He said that energy demand is on the rise but that the government aims to meet this demand by enhancing renewables to realize the goal of 20 percent by 2030. He also presented a short video on sustainable energy initiatives in Samoa, including the Electrification Power Corporation’s scheme to develop hydro- and solar power.

Eliot Assimakopoulos, GE Digital Energy, highlighted the company’s involvement with island energy issues since 1882 when it worked on a power microgrid for the Island of Manhattan. More recently, he noted his company’s collaboration with the state of Hawaii to transform energy planning through the use of complete grid models and modeled energy scenarios. Regarding island sustainability, he stressed the opportunity to take innovative financing approaches to pay for sustainable energy. Assimakopoulos also underlined the importance of developing a portfolio to leverage financing and a roadmap to address the political, regulatory, social and environmental framework in place. He said that public-private partnerships are essential for success in achieving sustainable energy for all.

Dolf Gielen, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), noted that the sustainable energy goal of doubling global renewables can mean different things in different parts of the world. He then elaborated on IRENA’s “lighthouse” role in promoting renewable energy globally by assisting governments with developing national policy frameworks , for instance in Senegal, Mozambique and Grenada. He also noted recent IRENA studies on the consequences of increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix and stressed that costs of renewables have come down significantly urging the governments to use the latest data.

Vince Henderson, Permanent Representative of Dominica to the UN and Chairman of the SIDS DOCK Steering Committee, highlighted that energy access is essential for sustainable development and access to financing is critical to ensure transformation from fossil fuels to renewables. He also stressed the lack of regulatory frameworks as a real barrier to developing renewables at a domestic level. Henderson further underlined the importance of giving incentives to independent producers of renewable energy, including through feed-in tariffs, and of measures to encourage investments and provide financing for renewables.

SIDS DOCK - The SIDS Sustainable Energy Partnership Mechanism: Chairman of the SIDS DOCK Steering Committee Henderson said that SIDS DOCK is a sustainable energy initiative for SIDS to provide small island states with a collective institutional mechanism. He acknowledged the work of Albert Binger, CARICOM Climate Change Centre, and efforts of CARICOM and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme in the formation of SIDS DOCK. He said the group assists SIDS in transforming their national energy sectors into a catalyst for sustainable economic development. He noted that SIDS DOCK also assists in the generation of financial resources to address adaptation to climate change.

Albert Binger, SIDS DOCK, outlined the functions of the group, noting that it is called SIDS DOCK as it is designed as a “docking station,” to connect the energy sector in SIDS with the global market for finance and sustainable energy technologies. Its core functions include: assisting SIDS in developing a sustainable energy sector by increasing energy efficiency and developing renewable energy resources; providing a vehicle for mobilizing financial and technical resources to catalyze low-carbon economic growth; providing SIDS with a mechanism for connecting with the global financial, technology, and carbon markets while taking advantage of the resource transfer possibilities that will be afforded; and providing a mechanism to help SIDS generate the financial resources to invest in climate change adaptation.

Veerle Vandeweerd, UNDP, noted the issue is not just that of energy access but also sustainable energy access. She highlighted the role of SIDS DOCK in enabling SIDS to make sustainable choices and more informed investment choices on energy, and pointed out potential partnerships with the Clinton Foundation. Vandeweerd also stressed the importance of coordinating national activities among SIDS.

Angus Friday, World Bank, commended the work of SIDS DOCK and the vision of SIDS in establishing the group. He challenged delegates to think about ways to upscale funding for sustainable energy measures by coming up with practical steps before the Rio+20 meeting.

Carsten Staur, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN, said economic growth is possible without increased energy consumption as demonstrated by his country. He emphasised the importance of renewable energy in ensuring independent energy security and protecting countries from volatile global markets.

Enabling Environment and Financing Sustainable Energy for All in SIDS: In the opening of the session, moderator Staur challenged the speakers to explore methods of attracting private sector funding on renewable energy.

Nazim Burke, Minister of Finance, Planning, Economy, Energy and Cooperatives, Grenada, presented the status of sustainable energy initiatives and developments in his country. He identified sustainable energy as one of the five pillars of economic transformation in Grenada. On financing, Burke noted that high energy prices continue to constrain the development of SIDS. Burke referred to the extensive requirements of funding institutions as a hindrance to SIDS’ access to finance, and that the process needs to be simplified to expedite financial access for renewable energy initiatives.

Hans Olav Ibrekk, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway, focused on avenues to mobilize domestic capital, emphasising the value of addressing existing local funding mechanisms such as national market pension funds and local businesses. Ibrekk said local entrepreneurs, advocates and champions could be targeted to develop and promote the sustainable energy agenda.

Ira Magaziner, The Clinton Foundation’s Climate Initiative, highlighted political predictability, scale and a good business plan as key elements to successfully access finance on sustainable energy. On scale, he referred to large-scale projects as the more desirable option for donors, noting that partnering up on similar renewable energy initiatives across SIDs will give applicants better chances for funding.

Vivien Foster, World Bank, presented the Bank’s initiatives on renewable energy in SIDS. She said private investment in SIDS energy has been modest and mainly in diesel. She cautioned that effective incentives are not necessarily efficient and advised proactive planning as a measure to ensure sustainable financing from the private sector.

Andre Poucet, European Union (EU), drew delegates’ attention to the Communication from the EU Commission “The EU Energy Policy: Engaging with Partners beyond Our Borders,” which addresses security of energy supply and international cooperation. He said the Communication acknowledges that the EU can spurt economic development and poverty alleviation in SIDS by making sustainable energy and access to energy a priority for its development policy.

Discussions revolved around climate financing options, scale of transformation and social financing of renewable energy projects.

Taking SE4ALL Forward for SIDS: Moderator Vandeweerd stressed the importance of discussing the way forward and noted that this discussion relates to the issue of financing. She also explained the four steps of the SE4ALL country action process up to 2030, namely: country engagement; stocktaking and gap analysis; developing national action plans and programmes; and implementation and monitoring.

Philip Kentwell, High Commissioner of Australia to Trinidad and Tobago, on behalf of AusAID, highlighted sustainable energy as a way to address poverty. He further said Australia allocated 599 million of Australian dollars as part of its fast-start finance commitment for 2010-2013 under the Copenhagen Accord to help address climate change in developing countries, with 30 percent of the money going to SIDS and 25 percent to Least Developed Countries. Kentwell gave several examples of projects funded by AusAID, such as: a community-based adaptation project in the areas of water security, food security, and health in Papua New Guinea; a “green upgrade” of low-income homes in Durban, South Africa; and a pilot project to improve water supply in Bequia, the largest of the Grenadine islands.

Audrey Joy Grant, Minister of Energy, Science & Technology & Public Utilities, Belize, reiterated the significance of sustainable energy for sustainable development in SIDS, and highlighted SIDS’ similar but unique circumstances. Unlike other SIDS, she said, Belize obtains 65 percent of its electricity from renewables (hydro and biomass), however, 20 percent of rural villages lack access to electricity. Regarding high-impact action areas for Belize, Grant underlined the potential of expanding renewables such as biomass, solar and hydro, as well as energy efficiency. She stressed the importance of building strategic regional partnerships with clearly defined roles, institutional capacity building, and financial assistance. As for next steps, Grant proposed a funding allocation mechanism for sustainable energy in SIDS similar to the Global Environment Facility’s System for Transparent Allocation of Resources, public education campaigns to make sure “people are with us” on sustainable energy and public-private partnerships.

Allison David, Caribbean Development Bank, highlighted the challenges of: bringing modern energy services to populations while addressing climate change: and efficient exploitation of the renewable energy potential. Noting barriers to developing sustainable energy approaches, she stressed the need for legislative frameworks, financing, and institutional and technical capacity to be able to install and maintain renewable energy systems. David then noted the Bank’s work on sustainable energy, including: the climate action line of credit from the European Investment Bank; sustainable energy assistance for OECS; and a public education program.

On problems specific to sustainable energy in SIDS, Ronald Jumeau, Permanent Representative of Seychelles to the UN, noted limited land resources for installing renewable energy systems, for instance wind farms. Jumeau also stressed the role of individual households in promoting energy efficiency. For instance, he said, the government can buy excess electricity from households during day time when energy use is low, making people producers of energy and not only consumers.

Solomone Fifita, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, suggested that countries need to “do business as unusual” referring to, inter alia, bottom up approaches, focus on productive sectors, focus on productivity rather than reduced use, and better collaboration among all stakeholders. Fifita also called on countries to work more closely with the SIDS-specific institutions like the SIDS unit of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and SIDS DOCK, including through joint projects with IRENA.

Feasibility Studies on Renewable Energy Options for the Caribbean, and Replicability for SIDS: Moderator Stein Hansen, UNDP Barbados and the OECS, presented a programme by UNDP Barbados for preparing feasibility studies investigating the viability of renewables in the Caribbean.

Werner Wendt, ENPROCON, presented the findings of feasibility studies on renewable energy options in the Caribbean, noting that the project is ongoing and that at least two projects have been developed into a complete bankable state. The feasibility studies, said Wendt, focus on biogas production for electricity and heat; small-scale hydropower; solar cooling; and advanced recycling of old tires and synthetic materials. The selection criteria for projects included: low investment sums; swift implementation timeframes of up to two years; proven technologies; low maintenance costs and operational requirements; and a short-term return on investment. Wendt highlighted the key developmental impacts of proposed projects, such as, emission reductions, access to cheaper energy for all, replicability of proposed applications, sustainable economic and social development, simple implementation, small scale and others. As examples of proposed projects, he noted a biogas production project involving the Association of Sugar Cane Growers in Barbados and a solar cooling project in the Antiguan hospital.

Discussions focused on similar problems with utilisation of tires in other islands; waste management and biogas production in Haiti; and importance of capacity building of decision-makers.

BARBADOS DECLARATION: On the second day of the meeting, conference moderator Browne introduced the final version of the Barbados Declaration on Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in SIDS, explaining that the document had been discussed among SIDS informally prior to the session.

Brief discussions on the draft Declaration took place during the day in informal groups and plenary meetings facilitated by Selwin Hart, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Barbados to the UN. Delegates focused on the elements of the document relating to SIDS’ voluntary commitments and inclusion of existing sustainable energy goals.

In the closing of the SE4ALL High-Level Conference of SIDS, facilitator Hart presented the final draft of the Declaration and announced that 18 island states inscribed voluntary commitments to the Annex to promote transformational activities in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy access, and low-carbon development. He reiterated that the Annex list will be open for other states to join until the 25th of May and that the Declaration is open for the inclusion of more development partners interested in supporting sustainable energy in SIDS.

Noting the recently held parliamentary elections, the Bahamas took the floor to request more time for the new government to review the Declaration and consider further action.

Delegates from SIDS unanimously adopted the Barbados Declaration. Michelle Gyles-McDonough, UNDP, closed the meeting reflecting on the positive outcomes and congratulating delegates on adopting the Barbados Declaration. She stressed the need for the Barbados Declaration to be reflected in the Rio+20 outcome.

The Barbados Declaration:The document addresses challenges, opportunities, commitments, and initiatives on sustainable energy in SIDS, and the Rio+20 Conference, and includes an Annex of voluntary commitments by SIDS. The Declaration further welcomes existing sustainable energy initiatives such as SIDS DOCK and others. On the Rio+20 Conference, the Barbados Declaration reiterates that the outcomes of the meeting must be ambitious and reflect the needs of SIDS. It also supports convening the Third Global Conference on Sustainable Development of SIDS in 2014 as a tangible outcome of the Rio+20 Conference.

The Annex contains the voluntary commitments by 18 SIDS including Barbados, Dominica, Maldives, Samoa, and Seychelles.

The document is available at http://www.sidsenergyforall.org/2012/05/barbados-declaration-on-achieving-sustainable-energy-for-all-in-small-island-developing-states-sids/

KNOWLEDGE FAIR

In the late afternoon on 8 May 2012, David Payton, UNDP, opened the knowledge fair highlighting the value of sharing and learning about new areas of renewable energy in SIDS so as to discourage conforming to business as usual. He suggested stepping into new paradigms and embracing transformative approaches.

Two sessions of the knowledge fair took place: presentations by SIDS on national sustainable energy initiatives; and multinational private sector involvement in SIDS. A knowledge fair exhibit was also available on the sidelines of the event.

PRESENTATIONS BY SIDS ON NATIONAL SUSTAINABLE ENERGY INITIATIVES: Michael Fadelle, Dominica, noted the reduction of energy costs as a major objective for his country. He said current renewable energy development projects in Dominica include geothermal power plants and exploratory wells.

Philip Weech, Bahamas, highlighted the main points of their National Energy Policy that aims to protect GDP, minimize energy consumption and reduce greenhouse gases. He said the demand for electricity is expected to grow in the Bahamas, which is why analysing current and future trends is important for managing the energy sector.

Richard Kelly, Jamaica, presented on Jamaica’s energy developments, including the revising of a building code to integrate energy efficient measures, efficient street lighting and technology advances in air conditioning units.

John Korinihona, Solomon Islands, noted customary land ownership as a barrier to renewable energy use in his country. He said efforts are underway to develop a model to resolve this issue by creating a partnership between public and private sectors and the indigenous community that emphasizes the joint ownership of renewable energy resources.

Jerrol Thompson, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, underscored the goal of 30 percent renewables by 2015. One of the initiatives his country is exploring includes a compliance standard to make sure that imported household appliances such as refrigerators meet certain energy standards.

Leiataua Henry Ah Ching, Samoa, highlighted Samoa’s Development Strategy for 2012-2016, which includes a section on sustainable energy supply promoting renewable energy investment and the generation of an efficient, affordable and reliable electricity supply.

MULTINATIONAL PRIVATE SECTOR INVOLVEMENT IN SIDS: The panel, chaired by Ira Magaziner, The Clinton Foundation’s Climate Initiative, shared successful private sector initiatives on deploying renewable energy.

Leon Roose, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, University of Hawaii, said a key factor in transformative energy approaches is an ongoing dialogue with the community, adding that an open and truthful dialogue is a wise investment.

Mark Lonkevych, Toshiba Integrated Energy Technology, noted the many challenges involved in integrating large quantities of renewable energy into the grid in island states, and highlighted Toshiba’s work on developing smart grid power to store such excess energy to be used at other times. In this regard, he highlighted Toshiba’s project on the mega-solar demonstration research facility in Myako Island, Japan.

Rob Hollering, Aquaver, explained that his company’s products are powered by heat from solar, biomass and wind for water purification, noting that conventional products that rely on fossil fuel for power are fairly inefficient. Hollering highlighted a clustered approach to take advantage of economies of scale and financing for expanding renewable energy use.

Eliot Assimakopolous, GE Digital Energy, noted that sustainable energy enables more than just cleaner energy, but also empowers manufacturing and economic development, and improves health. On sustainable energy in the islands, he stressed the importance of: a holistic view on energy; power systems modelling for island grids to eliminate uncertainty for utility planners; and data-driven scenario planning.

On reducing the risks for project financing, David Maloney, GE Capital, highlighted the importance of predictability, bankability, and constructing effective partnerships with financial institutions, suppliers, and utilities.

Gerry Vurciaga, Capgemini, presented on the company’s micro-grid services designed for utilities to serve remote communities. He highlighted the importance of customer engagement and community outreach.

Other presentations: Dolf Gielen, IRENA, presented on the IRENA Renewable Islands Initiative, which is focusing on the Pacific this year. Paul Komor, IRENA, elaborated on the IRENA’s report “Electricity Storage and Renewables for Island Power,” which is intended to help decision-makers use renewables most optimally. On the findings of the report, he stressed, inter alia, that electricity storage can significantly reduce diesel use.

James Husbands, Solar Dynamics, Barbados, presented on the history of the solar hot water industry in Barbados and discussed solar power projects in other Caribbean islands.

Stressing predictability as crucial, Mark Lambrides, Organization of American States, highlighted the need for national goals, renewable energy policies, technology-specific legislation, and utility/developer contractual frameworks. On the next steps for achieving sustainable energy for all, he identified legislation, education, access to investment finance, supporting transaction closure efforts, and expanding regional cooperation as crucial.

RIO+20 SIDS INFORMAL MINISTERIAL MEETING

On 9 May, an informal ministerial meeting chaired by Denis Lowe, Minister of Environment and Drainage, Barbados, took place to address the SIDS’ position for the upcoming UNCSD Rio+20 meeting.

Chair Lowe, in his opening speech, addressed the misconception that SIDS are “well off” referring to the image of “island paradise.” On the Rio+20 conference, he stressed the need for an institutional framework for the enhancement of the Barbados Programme of Action of 1994 and the Mauritius Strategy for its implementation adopted in 2005 to facilitate and support collaboration between SIDS and engagement at the international level on the issue of sustainable development.

Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Coordinator, UNCSD Rio+20 Conference, updated delegates on progress of the upcoming Rio+20 meeting and listed issues relevant to SIDS at the meeting to include, inter alia: viability of delinking economic growth from hydrocarbons and rate of future growth; creating an enabling framework; water; sustainable tourism; sustainable energy for all; and sustainable transport. She noted identification of new sources of funding, creation of an enabling environment conducive to private investment and designing new and effective mechanisms to transfer green technology as elements for a successful transition to a global green economy.

Appio Claudio Acquarone, Ambassador of Brazil in Barbados, stressed that the outcome of the upcoming Rio+20 conference should be guided by the principle of non-regression. Ambassador Acquarone proposed that green economy should be inclusive, highlighting the social pillar of the sustainable development concept. He further noted that the Rio+20 outcome should incorporate, inter alia: poverty eradication; and a clear framework for multilateral institutions on sustainable development.

A representative of Cook Islands expressed “deep concern” about being excluded from the list of participating countries in the Rio+20 conference, and the Chair noted AOSIS’ efforts in addressing the matter.

On AOSIS’ priorities for the Rio+20 conference, Aloysius Amwano, Special Envoy of the President of Nauru and Chair of AOSIS, stressed climate change, SIDS, and an institutional framework for sustainable development. On SIDS, he said the group argues for strengthening and providing financial and capacity building support for the Barbados Programme of Action and Mauritius Strategy for its further implementation, as well as supporting the Third Global Conference on Sustainable Development of SIDS in 2014. Amwano also said the group calls on all states to immediately implement commitments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and supports strengthening sustainable development institutions on SIDS to ensure their coherence.

Peter Thomson, Permanent Representative of Fiji to the UN, provided clarification about the term “blue economy,” stressing oceans and marine resources as key drivers for the sustainable development of SIDS. In this context, he underscored the importance of: sustainable fisheries; addressing adverse effects of climate change; and equitable sharing of marine resources.

Ronald Jumeau, Permanent Representative of the Seychelles to the UN, speaking on behalf of AIMS, said despite the commonalities between the three regions, the AIMS does not have a regional institutional framework to support and facilitate their work. He said the only regional organisation in AIMS is the Indian Ocean Commission which does not include all member states. He said that member states have agreed to treat it as a regional institutional framework for AIMS.

Garfield Barnwell, CARICOM, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean region said the majority of activities relating to the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action were driven by member states and not by development partners. He highlighted the need for disaster risks to be incorporated into regional development policies, as they pose significant risks to the environment.

In the following discussion, delegates addressed issues relating to utilisation of ocean resources; gender aspects of resource access; principles of rotation between AIMS, Pacific and Caribbean; and strengthening of governance structures.

In the afternoon, heads of government and ministers convened in a closed meeting to address SIDS’ priorities for the Rio+20 Conference and the level of ambition for the proposed Third Global Conference on Sustainable Development of SIDS in 2014.

EXPECTATIONS FOR THE RIO+20 CONFERENCE: After the closed meeting, participants reconvened in the plenary to discuss expectations for the Rio+20 Conference. At the start of the session, delegates observed a minute of silence for the former Prime Minister of Cook Islands Geoffrey Henry who passed away on 9 May.

Chair Lowe then presented the Chair’s summary giving an overview of the presentations and discussions that took place during the Rio+20 SIDS Informal Ministerial Meeting. He said that AOSIS representatives engaged in frank discussions during the closed sessions. As conveyed by the Chair’s summary, AOSIS representatives stressed that unity within the group is paramount in the lead up to the Rio+20 Conference. AOSIS representatives also expressed concern over the low level of ambition ahead of the meeting and the slow pace of the negotiations in New York. They stressed the focus on “the day after Rio” particularly as it relates to the provision of finance, capacity building and technology, and institutional strengthening of SIDS. In this regard, they agreed that the Barbados Declaration adopted the day before should feed into the Rio+20 process as a concrete set of actions. In addition, AOSIS representatives shared concerns expressed by the representative of the Cook Islands and other Pacific SIDS over the exclusion from the list of participating states in the Conference.

Ambassador Acquarone reiterated the value of the social dimension of Rio+20 along with environmental protection and economic development. Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, UNDP Barbados, commended the commitments and efforts demonstrated by SIDS during the meeting, adding that this will help motivate a successful outcome from the Rio+20 conference. She said UNDP remains committed to capacity development at all levels.

Delegates unanimously expressed their gratitude to the Government of Barbados and UNDP for hosting a successful meeting, and recognized the significance of the gathering in strengthening SIDS’ solidarity ahead of the Rio+20 conference. Chair Lowe then officially declared the meeting closed at 6:40pm.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

Joint Japan-IRENA Workshop “Accelerating Renewable Energy Deployment in the Pacific Island Countries - Meeting the Challenges”: This workshop aims to further strengthen cooperation between the IRENA and Pacific Island countries in the field of renewable energy. dates: 26 May 2012 location: Okinawa, Japan  contact: Ms. Kotono Hara, Economic Security Division, Economic Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs phone: +81-3-5501-8339 email: kotono.hara-2@mofa.go.jp www: http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/palm/palm6/index.html

7th Clean Asia Energy Forum 2012: This annual flagship event of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) serves as a knowledge sharing platform for learning and exchange of experiences on key issues and latest developments in clean energy. dates: 4-8 June 2012 location: Manila, Philippines contact: Aiming Zhou, ADB email: azhou@adb.org www: http://beta.adb.org/news/events/7th-asia-clean-energy-forum-2012

Third PrepCom for UNCSD: The third meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the UNCSD will take place in Brazil just prior to the Conference. dates: 13-15 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: UNCSD Secretariat  email: uncsd2012@un.org www: http://www.uncsd2012.org/

Rio+20/UN Conference on Sustainable Development: The UNCSD will mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit), which convened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. dates: 20-22 June 2012 location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: UNCSD Secretariat  email: uncsd2012@un.org www: http://www.uncsd2012.org/

UNFCCC COP 18: The 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the eighth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP18/MOP 8), are scheduled to take place in Doha, Qatar. dates: 26 November - 7 December 2012 location: Doha, Qatar  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-1000  fax: +49-228-815-1999  email: secretariat@ unfccc.int www: http://unfccc.int

Third Session of the IRENA Assembly: The third session of the IRENA Assembly is scheduled to take place in January 2013. dates:13-14 January 2013 location: Abu Dhabi, UAE contact: Stephanie Roesch  phone: +971-2-4179001 email: secretariat@irena.org www: http://www.irena.org

World Future Energy Summit 2013 / ABIREC: The sixth World Future Energy Summit is scheduled to take place in 2013. It will host the Abu Dhabi International Renewable Energy Conference (ABIREC), the fifth instalment of the “IREC” series, the world’s highest level political conference series dedicated to renewable energy policy worldwide.  The meetings are intended to created additional momentum for the advancement of renewable energy and energy efficiency policies as well as energy access, partnerships, and technologies through dialogue of government and industry stakeholders. dates: 15-17 January 2013 location: Abu Dhabi, UAE contact: Fiona Watson phone: +44-1451-830129  email: wfes@elsevier.com www: http://www.worldfutureenergysummit.com

GLOSSARY

AIMS
AOSIS
CARICOM
CSD
ECOSOC
IRENA
JPOI
OECS
SIDS
SIDS DOCK
SE4ALL
UNCSD
UNDP
UNCED
WSSD

Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and South China Sea
Alliance of Small Island States
Caribbean Community
Commission on Sustainable Development
United Nations Economic and Social Council
International Renewable Energy Agency
Johannesburg Plan of Implementation
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Small Island Developing States
institutional mechanism on sustainable energy in SIDS
sustainable energy for all
UN Conference on Sustainable Development (or Rio+20)
United Nations Development Programme
UN Conference on Environment and Development
World Summit on Sustainable Development

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The Summary of the High-Level Conference of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) “Achieving Sustainable Energy for All” (SE4ALL) and Rio+20 SIDS Informal Ministerial Meeting is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <info@iisd.ca>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org>. This issue was written and edited by Yulia Yamineva, Ph.D., and Cherelle Jackson. The Digital Editor is Angeles Estrada. The Editor is Robynne Boyd <robynne@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by the European Commission (EC). IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in this Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from this Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of this Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (HTML and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <http://www.iisd.ca/>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, New York 10022, USA.

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