Central to the Sustainable Energy debate is use of renewable energy technologies to reduce SIDS reliance on fossil fuels, with their high cost and damaging environmental i mpacts.
‘Lack of local capacity to design, implement, monitor and maintain renewable energy systems is one of the key challenges that SIDS face,’ said HE Baron Waqa, President of Nauru, at the Renewable Energy Forum held ahead of the conference. The Forum was organised by the Government of New Zealand, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Samoa.
Development of local capacity is one of the aims of the Northern Pacific ACP Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Programme (North-REP) being implemented in a partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the European Union (EU), and the governments of Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and Marshall Islands. SPC is managing bi-lateral funds totalling EUR 15.49 million for the three countries under the 10th European Development Fund.
North‐REP focuses on improving in‐country capacity to deliver and sustain renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes; access to affordable, clean and reliable electricity supply in targeted islands; and efficient use of energy. As a result of the project, households, communit ies, schools and health centres have access to clean electricity from renewable energy. Technicians, engineers and communities have been trained and energy wastage has been reduced. Accredited training programmes on renewable energy and energy efficiency have been established in local training institutes to support capacity building at the local level.
A steering committee with members from the three countries and EU provides guidance to SPC in managing project funds and delivering on country priorities.
The overarching theme of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States is ‘The sustainable development of Small Island Developing States through genuine and durable partnerships’. North-REP provides a good example of a partnership in action.