SPC’s regional coordination role highlighted at historic events

Monday 8 September 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji. Progress in sustainable energy development in Pacific small island developing states (SIDS) was marked by two historic events that recently took place with key leadership and support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). The two events took place at the United Nations SIDS Conference on 1–4 September in Apia, Samoa.

The signing of the SIDS Dock Statute on 1 September was regarded as a stunning development, with leaders taking ownership and full responsibility for the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency in SIDS. SIDS Dock is a SIDS–SIDS institutional mechanism established to facilitate the development of a sustainable energy economy within the small island developing states. The ultimate goal of SIDS Dock is to increase energy efficiency by 25% (from a 2005 baseline), to generate a minimum of 50% of electric power from renewable sources, and to decrease use of conventional transportation fuel by 20–30% by 2033. By signing the statute, leaders have blessed the establishment of the first ever international organisation to focus only on SIDS sustainable energy challenges.

Over 150 delegates and members of the international development community from more than 45 countries were overjoyed to see leader after leader approach the podium to sign a historic sustainable energy and climate resilience treaty that will significantly change the lives and destiny of over 20 million small islanders for the better.

In 1998, Tuvalu signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol at the same time. History repeated itself as the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, His Excellency Enele Sopoaga, became the first to sign and ratify the SIDS Dock Statute. For the Pacific, Tuvalu was joined by Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau and Samoa in signing the statute.

One of the flagship activities of SIDS Dock is to work jointly with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to establish centres of excellence on renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Both UNIDO and SIDS Dock highlighted SPC’s role in professionally and consultatively bringing all the parties together and mobilising Pacific Energy Ministers to take the lead in the decision-making process for the Pacific centre.

The Pacific SIDS went on to launch the Pacific Regional Data Repository (PRDR) on 3 September. This development was hailed as a renewed effort spearheaded by Pacific leaders to reenergise the Pacific with a revolution in data and information. The Prime Minister of Tonga, Lord Tu’ivakano stated, ‘We are not only celebrating the birth of an excellent and relevant product but the demonstration of success through working together collaboratively in identifying our own needs and more importantly finding ways to provide for them – in the true Pacific Way. In other words, the success of regionalism and the sign of maturity.’

The significance of PRDR was emphasised by the Prime Minister of Samoa, His Excellency Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi when he delivered the keynote address at a side event on Regional Dimensions of the Sustainable Development of SIDS organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The Hon. Prime Minister heralded the PRDR as a fine example of regionalism.

PRDR is a web-based ‘one-stop-shop’ energy portal and database management system intended to support Pacific governments and their development partners working in the energy sector by facilitating access to up-to-date, reliable energy data and project information. In April 2014, energy ministers from the Pacific mandated SPC to develop PRDR and launch it at the SIDS Conference in Samoa.

In presenting PRDR, the Director of SPC’s Economic Development Division, John Hogan, remarked, ‘Since we received the energy ministers’ direction in April of this year to develop the PRDR and have it launched in this conference, SPC has been under extreme pressure, under this tight space of five months, to produce and deliver the goods.’

‘Thankfully, we have strong partners that stood beside us. The government of Australia was able to fund an Energy Database Assistant and just two weeks ago, we have an IT Developer on board as we were relying on the IT expertise of SPC’s Geoscience Division, better known as SOPAC. The financial resources from ESCAP and the able leadership of Mr Iosefa Maiava from the ESCAP Pacific Office in chairing the PRDR steering committee was second to none and we fully acknowledge that. The European Union Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility has been a firm supporter of SPC’s energy database work since 2011. We are currently on the third phase of an exciting partnership and we look forward for the fourth and fifth.’

PRDR can be viewed on http://prdrse4all.spc.int/prdrse4all/.


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