Pacific nations urged to call for global shift to renewable energy

25 March 2013, Auckland, New Zealand - A powerful challenge was made to the Small Island Developing States today at the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland, New Zealand.

Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change called upon the Pacific Island Small Island Developing States to use their voice to call for a faster transfer to renewable energy use across the globe.

unfccc energysummitMs. Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, addresses delegates at the Pacific Energy Summit

"Traditionally the Small Island Developing States have used their voice to flesh out all the details of adaptation and loss and damage at the climate negotiations. Do not let up on this. In addition use your voice to bring a transformation to renewable energy".

The two day summit in New Zealand has brought together Pacific island countries and territories with donors and partners to help foster faster renewable energy investments in the Pacific.

79 projects and activities with an indicative project value of NZD 1.6 billion have been identified by Pacific island countries; half of these projects with a value close to NZD 800 million are not yet fully funded. The Pacific Energy Summit hopes to close this funding gap.

Pacific Islands spend, on average, 10 percent of their gross domestic product importing petroleum products. While the increase of renewable energy will help address the economic issues in the Pacific, it also helps to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.

"Small Island Developing States alone cannot bend the curve of global emissions. It is in other regions that major transformation to renewable energy needs to take place. There is hardly a group of countries in the world like the SIDS that are more vulnerable to the present increase of global emissions," said Figueres at the meeting today.

Pacific island countries have banded together under the Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy project (PIGGAREP) to collectively to reduce Pacific greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2015 through helping 11 Pacific island countries to overcome barriers to renewable energy.

Implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), this project is funded by the Global Environment Facility and co-financing partners. The UNDP Multi-country Office in Samoa is the Principal Project Representative.

"What I have learned from all of you is there is no magical solution, no quick fix, no one size fits all," said Figueres.

"The national differences between one island and the other demand national specific solutions. This can be done with vision, leadership, and commitment, smart and strategic partnerships. Do not let the process kill the outcome, let it finalise today with concrete results and projects to move forward."

The Pacific Energy Summit is taking place at the Viaduct Events Centre, Auckland, New Zealand from 24 – 26 March, 2013.

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