SIDS Conference in Barbados on Sustainable Energy and the Rio+20 Process
Fiji was represented at two important SIDS meetings in Barbados this week in the lead-up to next month's Rio+20 conference on Sustainable Development. The Barbados meetings were specifically held to address the interests of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The first was the 7-8 May SIDS Conference on Sustainable Energy, and the second, held on 9 May, was an informal SIDS Ministerial Meeting on Sustainable Development.
The objective of the SIDS Ministerial Meeting was to provide an opportunity for SIDS to take stock of the ongoing Rio+20 negotiating process, and to identify SIDS priorities and a strategy for achieving them. The meeting heard a presentation from Ms Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Coordinator for the Rio+20 process, who provided an update on the status of negotiations at the United Nations. A presentation was also made by Ambassador Appio Acquarone of Brazil on the Government of Brazil's arrangements and expectations for the Rio+20 conference.
Hon. Aloysius Amwano, Special Envoy of the President of Nauru and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), outlined the work of AOSIS and its priorities for the Rio+20 process. The meeting also heard presentations from the SIDS regional groups: the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, and the Indian/Atlantic island states. Presenting on behalf of the Pacific Islands (PSIDS) was Ambassador Peter Thomson of Fiji, who explained the principles of the term "Blue Economy" and its high priority in the Pacific's sustainable development agenda. Emphasizing the significance of ocean and marine resources as key drivers of sustainable development, Ambassador Thomson said that equitable sharing of resources from sustainable fisheries and from other marine resources were central to the Blue Economy, as were responsible and effective stewardship and conservation.
Meanwhile, the SIDS Conference on Sustainable Energy addressed the challenges, opportunities and commitments towards achieving "Sustainable Energy for All" in the SIDS. The conference heard from leading international figures in the field of sustainable energy and gave detailed consideration to the prospects for the energy sector of SIDS. Over the course of two days, expert panels examined such topics as doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency by SIDS, doubling the share of renewable in the SIS energy mix, new energy partnership mechanisms, financing sustainable energy for all, and ensuring affordable access to sustainable energy for all.
In side-meetings, the Fiji delegation to the conference met with the SIDS Dock Secretariat in order to formally submit funding applications for four Fiji projects related to sustainable energy. The Fiji delegation also met with The Clinton Foundation Climate Initiative's Chairman, Ira Magaziner, to discuss areas of mutual interest in the field of sustainable energy.
The Fiji delegation to the Barbados meetings was comprised of Ambassador Peter Thomson, Permanent Secretary Francis Kean of the Ministry of Energy, and Director of Energy, Peceli Nakavulevu. The meeting was organized and hosted by the Government of Barbados and the United Nations Development Programme.
The Barbados conference launched the international year of Sustainable Energy for All, and prior to the conclusion of the conference delegations agreed on the wording for the Barbados Declaration on Sustainable Energy for All.
Pacific Island delegation leaders present at the Barbados Conference included, left to right), Minister Michael Jackson of Palau, Ambassador Peter Thomson of Fiji, Deputy PM Kausa Natano of Tuvalu, Hon. Aloysius Amwano of Nauru and Minister Faamoetauloa Tumaalii of Samoa