The University of Technology’s (UTech) 1st International Conference and Exhibition on “The Hydrogen Economy-A Sustainable Energy Diversification Option for the Caribbean-Dr. Elsie Laurence-Chounoune UNDP Deputy Resident Representative

Nov 4, 2015


Dr. Elsie Laurence-Chounoune

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative

The University of Technology’s (UTech) 1st International Conference and Exhibition on “The Hydrogen Economy-A Sustainable Energy Diversification Option for the Caribbean”

Presentation on: The Global Goals for Sustainable Development

University of Technology

Wednesday, November 4, 10:00am


Greetings and Acknowledgements

  • Hon. Anthony Hylton, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce
  • Dr Noel Brown, Assoc. Professor, Head-School of Engineering at the University of Technology
  • Dr. Andrei V. Tchouvelev, Chair International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee (ISO/TC) Hydrogen Subcommittee
  • Dr Ruth Potopsingh, Associate Vice President of Sustainable Energy
  • Other distinguished ladies and gentlemen 


Good Morning.

Introduction to SDGs

As many of you are probably aware, on September 25 this year, more than 150 world leaders adopted the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit.  This agenda includes the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – also known as the SDGs.

The SDGs aim to finish the job started under the Millennium Development Goals – to rally the world around a common agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty, end hunger, achieve full gender equality, improve health services and get every child into school.

While significant gains were made under the MDGs we must now move ahead to shift the world onto a sustainable path.

A new development agenda is needed that finishes the job on poverty whilst protecting the planet. The new agenda is universal. It applies to all countries and peoples. It promotes inclusive and peaceful societies, better jobs, and tackles the environmental challenges of our time – particularly climate change.

The sheer number of goals in the development agenda has more than doubled - from 8 MDGs to the 17 SDGs. This indicates a commitment to meaningfully tackle the various areas essential to the well-being and development of people and our planet.

The goals range from ending poverty and hunger to ensuring decent work and economic growth. They address issues of health, sanitation and clean water as well as inequality and peace, justice and strong institutions.

Relevant SDGs re sustainable energy

Energy and climate action are key areas of focus for the SDGs. In fact SDG 7 speaks specifically to the need to “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.” In fact, this goal will be our ‘flagship goal’ for this presentation, given the topic of your conference.

The number of persons accessing electricity across the globe is growing and will continue to grow. Unfortunately, even with a sharp increase in renewable energy capacity over the last few decades, about 80% of today’s global energy consumption is still fossil based.

It is this reliance on fossil fuels which drives global warming at an alarming pace.  SDG 7 aims to push the emerging drive towards improved sources of energy. These are cleaner, renewable sources of energy including solar, wind and thermal.

One of the targets of goal 7 is to achieve a substantial increase in the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030. Another target speaks to enhancing international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology. Finally there are targets for supporting developing countries to expand infrastructure and upgrade technology in order to supply modern and sustainable energy services over the next fifteen years.



Over and above this however is the focus of SDG 7 on the issue of improved access to this improved energy.


In today’s world more than 1.3 billion people still do not have access to modern electricity services. This figure represents 1 in every five persons on the planet. Some 3 billion people still rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating. They spend several hours every day building fires, fetching water and collecting fuel for cooking and heating stoves.


Tragically some 4 million premature deaths occur each year as a result of household air pollution caused by burning solids the traditional way for energy for food preparation or heating or other domestic purposes. 


SDG 7’s target for access is ambitious: By 2030, to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services. The message is clear: Without access for all to sustainable energy, the sustainable development goals cannot be achieved. This is because there are obvious linkages between cleaner, more affordable, more reliable and modern energy and health, nutrition, decent work, livelihoods and environmental protection.


While widespread access to cleaner, renewable energy is the way to go, the efficient use of energy is just as important. SDG 7 seeks to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030. Energy efficiency delivers reduced greenhouse gas emissions- the driver of climate change. It also supports improved health, poverty alleviation and an increase in disposable income, improved industry performance and improved transportation systems.


Also linked to energy of course is SDG 13 which aims to ‘Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.’ This ambitious goal is working to have the global community to mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020. These funds will be used to address the needs of developing countries most affected by climate change impacts. The resources will help them reduce, and cope better with, the growing risks of climate-related disasters.


Adaptation to climate change however is only part of the solution. Energy is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for around 60 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.


Large and small emitters of greenhouse gases must mitigate. Actions must be taken to reduce emissions in order to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius (or lower) above pre-industrial levels. Again this means increased access to cleaner, renewable energy and more efficient use of energy.


SDG 13 on climate action has targets which will raise awareness and build capacity not only for adaptation, impact reduction and early warning, but for mitigation as well.


Other goals which can be tied to the development and use of cleaner energy sources include SDG 9 which aims to ‘Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.’  One target under this goal is to “By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.”


Innovation and technology are requirements in efforts to achieve greater energy efficiency and improved use of resources, and to move our world into renewables. 


SDG 12 to ‘Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns’ has a specific target for energy production and consumption. This goal has targeted the rationalization of inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, taking into consideration specific needs and conditions of developing countries, by 2030.


Today, as experts in your field, you are here to discuss the option of the sustainable production of hydrogen as an enabling pathway for renewable energy applications. I hope this introduction to some of the SDGs relevant to your area of interest and study – cleaner energy and renewable energy- is useful to you. It is only an introduction which should serve to support your efforts and put them in the context of the global development arena.


What UNDP Jamaica is doing in this area

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) , with support from the wider UN family, is supporting governments around the world in tackling the new sustainable development agenda and taking it forward over the next 15 years. 


Here in Jamaica even before the official adoption of the 2030 development agenda, UNDP has been working to support the GOJ’s efforts at achieving sustainable energy.


At present, we are preparing to undertake an evaluation of the “Capacity Development for Energy Efficiency and Security Project” which was implemented between 2011 and 2014.


This project gave support to the energy sector in Jamaica through supporting the implementation of the National Energy Policy, the National Energy Action Plan and the five energy sub-policies.


Under the project, training on energy efficiency and conservation was provided for officers in the public sector. Training was also provided for facilities and maintenance managers from the public sector.


Plans to establish locally designed and manufactured wind turbines did not take place under this project. These plans have however been brought forward to an upcoming energy project to be supported by UNDP.


This new project – “Deployment of Renewable Energy and Improvement of Energy Efficiency in the Public Sector” -will be implemented between 2016 and 2018. It seeks to advance a low carbon development path that would enable Jamaica to be less reliant on fossil fuels and contribute to reducing the public sector’s energy bill. The health and education sector are targeted under the project. 


This is an exciting project which hopes to build on the gains made in the previous one and carry them a step further. Some of the planned outputs under the project are:

  • Training and certification of technicians within the public sector to acceptable industry standards in renewable energy technology and energy efficiency particularly in the solar photo-voltaic subsector 
  • Energy Efficiency retrofits and investments in Solar Photovoltaic, solar water heaters and energy efficiency retrofits for  five hospitals across the island
  • Piloting two wind turbines in two schools


These are just some of the activities to take place under this new project. We at UNDP look forward to supporting the Government of Jamaica in its implementation.


Call to Action


The Post-2015 Development Agenda will be successful if it responds to the needs of the millions of people around the world who have helped shape it. People want to be a part of delivering this new agenda. They want to hold governments and businesses accountable for their promises and commitments. You are a part of that process.

I therefore encourage you to learn as much as you can about the SDGs. Learn about what Jamaica is doing to set its own targets for each goal and the initiatives being undertaken to help the country achieve these goals. Identify what you can do and what you are doing in your field to support the achievement of these goals and communicate this to the government and other stakeholders. Work together to help Jamaica realise the SDGs. These goals belong to all of us. Let’s own them and let’s make them happen!


Thank you


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