Thursday 4 September 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji
Sustainable energy was one of the themes for the Multi-stakeholder Partnership Dialogue that took place at the United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Apia yesterday. SIDS are faced with a double challenge: not only do they rely heavily on fossil fuel that is expensive and must be imported, but the use of that fuel releases greenhouse gases, which are the major cause of the effects of climate change to which SIDS are particularly vulnerable. However, while SIDS are spending billions of dollars annually importing fossil fuel, they are very well endowed with more economical and environmentally friendly renewable energy resources, which could be used to replace fossil fuel.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is the lead regional agency on sustainable energy in the Pacific Islands region. At the Dialogue, Solomone Fifita, Deputy Director (Energy) of SPC’s Economic Development Division, announced new, practical, simple, low cost, on-the-ground and people-centred sustainable energy partnerships that are aimed at addressing sustainable energy in an integrated manner. The partnerships link sustainable energy with other important issues, such as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which have been declared an epidemic in the Pacific, and youth unemployment, a growing challenge.
Through the Bicycles for Capitals Partnership, for example, SPC, along with the governments of Nauru, Niue and Tuvalu, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, youth groups, the private sector, Life Cycle Pacific Task Force and development partners, will promote the productive use of bicycles to decrease vehicle congestion in the region’s capitals, reduce reliance on fossil fuel in the transport sector, and promote a healthy lifestyle that will contribute to the reduction of NCDs and empower youths through employment opportunities.