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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."
SUSTAINABLE ENERGY for all (SE4All) is the global initiative led by the United Nations Secretary-General and brings all key actors to the table to make sustainable energy for all a reality by 2030. It was launched to coincide with the designation of 2012 as the 'International Year of Sustainable Energy for All' by the UN General Assembly. Three interlinked objectives guide this initiative: 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.
Jamaica, a small developing country deeply dependent on imported oil and slowly discovering renewable sources of energies, has a challenging path ahead to reach SE4All objectives by 2030.
"Energy efficiency is no doubt one of the most important national objectives for Jamaica" says Mr. Crispin Gregoire, Chief of the Strategic Monitoring and Support, Caribbean Country Offices Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in New York. Reflecting on the Jamaican energy context Mr. Gregoire pointed out that "Escalating oil import puts pressure on the already weak fiscal environments, and are highly unsustainable. Oil imports reached J$191 billion that is 20% of GDP. Not only do the high oil prices adversely affect public finances, they also affect the efficiency and profitability of the private sector. Solving the energy problem has the potential to trigger the growth and development of many sectors leading to competitive advantage. Only by making renewable energy sources available, by becoming less dependent on fossil fuel imports, by liberating funds that would usually go to expenditure for oil will Jamaica be able to achieve its comparative advantage to a full extent."
The Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM) in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched a Public-Private Dialogue Forum as a part of Jamaica's participation in the UN Secretary General's Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4All), on Tuesday, 31st July 2012. The Public-Private Dialogue Forum is one component under UNDP's support to MSTEM for the project entitled "Capacity Development for Energy Efficiency and Security in Jamaica". The launch of the Public-Private Dialogue Forum created an ideal platform and a unique opportunity from which to launch the SE4ALL initiatives in Jamaica. This launch was first announced during a press conference lead by State Minister in the ministry responsible for energy, Julian Robinson and Dr. Arun Kashyap, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Jamaica which took place on July 6, 2012.
The objective of the event is to mobilize the support of the private sector and civil society in achieving the Government of Jamaica's commitment to provide cost effective sustainable energy services to all citizens in line with the National Development plan Vision 2030 Jamaica as well as the goals of SE4All.
The launch took place at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Downtown Kingston. The one day event provided an opportunity for critical assessment of the regional and national energy situation with respect to the current lacking, emerging and existing initiatives as well as the challenges to be met towards sustainable energy for Jamaica. The discussions focused on two main topics: 1) The public-private dialogue as a platform to achieve the SE4All and 2) The private Sector investment opportunities towards the same goals. Each topic was presented by different public and private sector representatives. All the attendees provided a significant contribution in the discussions sharing experiences and perspectives, addressing potential policy directions and identifying best practices.
Speaking at the opening session, Dr. Arun Kashyap, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Jamaica said that "The Government's intent to catalyze the renewable energy and energy efficiency market in Jamaica is sending a loud and clear signal to the nation and especially the private sector in Jamaica to gear up to meet the unmet demand in the country...." Referring to the SE4All initiative Dr. Kashyap added "This is our opportunity to kick start a transformative change in line with Vision 2030 Jamaica to make Jamaica a model island low-carbon resilient Economy that presents an enviable place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business".
UNDP is supporting the MSTEM in developing capacity in the Public Sector, providing technical assistance for small scale renewable energy demonstrations and ascertaining active partnerships with the private sector through the establishment of a public-private dialogue forum under the auspices of the Capacity Development for Energy Efficiency and Security project in Jamaica
Click on the above image to watch the Sustainable Energy For All Campaign Video
Session II: Public Private Dialogue as a Platform towards Sustainable Energy in Jamaica
Session III: Private Sector Investment Opportunities towards SE4ALL in Jamaica
Mr. Ian Parsard, Vice President, Finance and Energy, Jamaica Broilers Group Ltd - "The Experience and challenges of implementing the JBG energy strategy and how this fits into the vision 2030 and the SE4ALL initiative
Opening session key speakers' remarks
Mr. Crispin Gregoire, Chief of the Strategic Monitoring and Support, Caribbean Country Offices Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in New York, remarks
Local and Regional Media Coverage