The Second Committee Delegate of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations
on behalf of the Member States of
the Alliance of Small Island States
First Session of the
Ad Hoc Open-ended Intergovernmental Group
of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development
United Nations Headquarters
6 March 2000
Trinidad and Tobago is pleased to make this statement on behalf of 35 members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in this First Substantive Session on Energy and Sustainable Development as mandated by the nineteenth Special Session of the General Assembly to review the implementation of Agenda 21.
At the outset, allow me to congratulate you on your election. We are confident that your combined skill and energy will lead us to a successful outcome of this meeting.
As you are aware, Mr. Chairman, the Global Conference on Small Island States, inextricably linked to Agenda 21, also adopted a series of actions at the national, regional and international level to promote the efficient use of energy and the development of environmentally sound sources of energy and energy efficient technologies under Chapter VII of the Barbados Programme of Action. The Special Session on SIDS, held last year, also identified further initiatives to be pursued on the basis of a strong and committed partnership to encourage energy efficiency and to accelerate the development and utilization of environmentally sound renewable energy resources, which this meeting should also consider. These initiatives include the establishment of renewable energy initiatives at the regional level, the development of human resources for the planning and sustainable management needs of a renewable energy sector, the promotion of research and development and private sector investment in priority renewable energy projects and the financing of renewable energy applications including standards and guidelines for energy efficiency and conservation.
Small island developing states have been involved in several initiatives to enhance their capacity to adapt to climate change and to facilitate efforts to enhance energy efficiency and the increased use of renewable forms of energy.
In 1998, senior officials, permanent representatives of missions to the United Nations and energy experts from small island developing states of the Caribbean, South Pacific and the Indian Ocean participated at a symposium held here in New York, convened by the Climate Institute and Counterpart International which examined state of the art renewable energy efficiency programs. Members of the donor community were also present. Several experts from the Caribbean and the Pacific made presentations on successful initiatives taken such as the provision of photovoltaic electricity to Sukiki, a remote village in the Solomon Islands, a comprehensive demand side management programme employed by the Jamaica Public Service Co., and greenhouse accreditation for hotels through the Caribbean Association for Sustainable Tourism, as well as the growth in the number of domestic solar hot water heaters made possible through income tax deductions in Barbados.
Several recommendations emanated from that meeting which included the need to enhance dialogue with the major private sector leaders in the field of energy and AOSIS representatives, the need for recognition that technology will be ineffective unless decision makers can be persuaded of the economic and environmental benefits of renewables and energy efficiency and the link between clean energy and development.
Since that meeting, AOSIS countries have continued to pursue national and regional objectives to promote sustainable energy options, and to work towards a sustainable energy further for its citizens.
Trinidad and Tobago has been developing its abundant natural gas reserves, because it provides energy security and it is an environmentally-friendly fuel. Trinidad and Tobago’s move into the production of liquified natural gas (LNG) will enable it to export this fuel to these islands in the region and so replace more polluting forms of fossil fuels.
[Space for addition of further initiatives taken by members of AOSIS]
This meeting of the intergovernmental group of experts on energy and sustainable development is an important first step in advancing the commitments taken at UNCED, the Global Conference on SIDS, as well as the two special sessions held in 1997 and 1999. We are grateful for the Report prepared by the Secretary-General (ECN.17/ESD/2000/3) on the key issues which this meeting will consider and in which members of AOSIS will actively participate. We are particularly concerned on the need for strengthened international cooperation in the field of energy, especially international assistance to developing countries to enhance their national efforts to provide adequate energy services to all sectors of the population, to facilitate the alleviation of poverty, as well as developing policies which enhance the economic, social and environmental aspects of the production, distribution and use for energy. These are of critical importance to small island developing states in view of our environmental and economic vulnerabilities.
The Secretary-General’s report on the key issues provides a good basis for discussion and addresses some important areas such as the accessibility of energy, rural energy, energy efficiency, financing the energy sector, as well as the overriding issue of international cooperation. We hope to elaborate on these and other areas in the discussion which will follow during the next few days.
I thank you.