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The Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in Small Island Developing
States Conference concluded on May 8, 2012 with the adoption of the "Barbados
Declaration" calling for universal access to modern and affordable renewable
energy services, while protecting environment, ending poverty and creating new
opportunities for economic growth.
The declaration, adopted just weeks before the UN Conference on Sustainable Development ‘Rio+20', includes an annex with voluntary commitments of 20 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to take actions toward providing universal access to energy, switching to renewable energy and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
The host country announced their plan to increase the share of renewable energy in Barbados to 29 percent of all electricity consumption by 2029.
"By 2029 we expect that total electricity costs would have been cut by US$283.5 million and CO2 emissions would have been reduced by 4.5 million tons," said Prime Minister Freundel Stuart of Barbados. "We also envisage an overall 22 percent reduction in projected electricity consumption based on the use of energy efficiency measures."
The commitments of other small developing island states include:
The declaration recognizes the importance of the UN Secretary General's Sustainable Energy for All initiative and that today's energy issues cannot be resolved unilaterally but rather through open dialogue and cooperation.
The declaration states that the delegates "Remain deeply concerned that most SIDS are highly dependent on imported oil and other fossil fuels for transport and electricity generation and this is a major source of economic vulnerability for SIDS. This leaves SIDS highly exposed to oil-price volatility."
The Barbados Declaration emphasizes that there are commercially feasible options in many small island states for providing energy such as wind, solar, geothermal, and oceans energy.
"However, these technologies must be made accessible, affordable and adaptable to the needs and particular circumstances of SIDS communities," states the declaration. "In this regard, we strongly urge the international community, particularly developed countries, to ensure the provision of financial resources, technology transfer and capacity building to SIDS,"
The two-day conference brought together more than 100 heads of
state, ministers, leading development experts, civil society activists,
business executives and UN officials from 39 countries from the Caribbean, the
Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Africa, that belong to the SIDS group.
"Our global presence, expertise in capacity building, and extensive development finance experience allow us to help small island development states in their transformation toward sustainable energy for all, by supporting them to develop capacities to attract investments," said Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.
The Declaration reiterates "that the outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference must be ambitious and convey the urgency of fully embracing the sustainable development agenda including the fulfillment of all commitments related to SIDS."
To access the Declaration, click here: BARBADOS DECLARATION
ABOUT SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL INITIATIVE
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is leading a global initiative on Sustainable Energy for All to mobilize action from all sectors of society in support of three interlinked objectives to be achieved by 2030: 1) Providing universal access to modern energy services;2) Doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and 3) Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
ABOUT THE YEAR OF SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2012 the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, recognizing that "...access to modern affordable energy services in developing countries is essential for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, and sustainable development, which would help to reduce poverty and to improve the conditions and standard of living for the majority of the world's population."
The UN General Assembly is encouraging Member States and other actors to increase the awareness of the importance of addressing energy issues and to promote action at the local, national, regional and international levels.