Financing climate change adaptation high on the agenda
Suva, Fiji, Thursday, 2 May 2013: Pacific energy and climate change professionals will convene in Nadi, Fiji, at the Tanoa International Hotel, for four days, beginning 6 May, to finalize the institutional development of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Sustainable Energy Initiative, SIDS DOCK, the mechanism established by the SIDS to catalyse the transformation of the energy sector of small islands, to increase energy security, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and generate resources for investment in adaptation to climate change. Hon. Captain Timoci Lesi Natuva, Minister for Public Utilities (Water and Energy), Works and Transport, is scheduled to officially open the meeting, along with H. E. Mr. Vince Henderson, Permanent Representative of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the United Nations, and Chair of the SIDS DOCK Steering Committee.
SIDS DOCK is funded by a USD 14.5 million grant from the Government of Denmark announced in 2010, under a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and The World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Programme (ESMAP), during climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, to help small islands transition to low carbon economies through development and deployment of renewable energy resources and promotion of greater energy efficiency and conservation. The Government of Japan joined the SIDS DOCK partnership with a pledge of USD 15 million in 2011, during climate talks in Durban, South Africa.
In 2012, the Pacific spent in excess of USD 1.3 billion importing fuels, and has the highest petroleum fuel dependency of any sub-region in the world. On average, Pacific Island countries spend ten per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on petroleum fuel imports. This heavy reliance on fuel imports exposes the islands to a high degree of price volatility and takes away resources from important development priorities. By transitioning the energy sector to renewable energy and high energy efficiency, fuel imports would be minimised and significant resources would become available to address climate change adaptation.
According to Ambassador Henderson, the SIDS DOCK Chair, the meeting will be addressing the serious energy issue confronting the Pacific islands. “Similar to many SIDS, energy dependence is a major source of vulnerability for our 13 SIDS DOCK Pacific Members, and many remote and rural island communities have little or no access to modern and affordable energy services,” he noted. He continued by saying that given the Climate Change adaptation mission the organisation has as its core function, a key meeting agenda item will involve discussions with participants and stakeholders on how SIDS DOCK positions itself to address the water situation in the future, through the development of indigenous renewable energy resources. The Chair said that the meeting will also be facilitating Pacific colleagues, who will be exploring ways for the region to take forward the outcomes of the Tonga Pacific Energy Leaders’ summit and the Pacific Energy Summit held in March.
The SIDS DOCK Pacific Regional Meeting is the second in a series of three SIDS DOCK Regional Meetings aimed at finalisation and agreement on the design of the SIDS DOCK Support Programme Platform, its institutional development and operations, and most importantly, the development, financing and implementation of the SIDS DOCK Pacific Project Pipeline of 14 indicative projects with an estimated investment opportunity of USD 40 million. A substantive part of the meeting agenda will focus on the project pipeline.
SIDS DOCK is a one-stop facility, established in 2009 by small islands and low lying coastal states to deliver technical and financial support, capacity building, and preparation of investment opportunities to the 31 Governments that are members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the lobby and negotiating voice for small islands. SIDS DOCK’s goal is to facilitate the restructuring of the small islands’ energy mix by increasing energy efficiency by 25 per cent (2005 baseline), by generating a minimum of 50 per cent of electric power from renewable sources and a 20-30 per cent decrease in conventional transportation fuel use by 2033. SIDS DOCK requires in excess of USD 500 million, per year, in investment financing to meet its targets by 2033.