GIS-01 August, 2013: The island of Sao Vincente in Cape Verde hosted from 24 to 27 July 2013 the 1st SIDS (Small Islands Developing States) DOCK Africa and Indian Ocean Regional Meeting (AIMS). Around 50 delegates from the five SIDS DOCK Member countries, namely Cape Verde, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles and Sao Tome, attended the meeting along with representatives of the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, the International Renewable Energy Agency and the Economic Community of West African States.
The main objective of the regional meeting was to agree on and finalise the National Financing Mechanism, the Virtual Knowledge Network, the Revolving Fund, the Innovation Fund, Capacity Building Programme, feasibility assessment on the long-term sustainability of SIDS DOCK, and country pre-feasibility studies. Delegates discussed measures to tackle the serious energy issue confronting Africa and Indian Ocean islands as well as how SIDS DOCK positions itself to address the water situation in the future through the development of indigenous renewable energy resources.
Several themes were on the agenda: overview of the energy sector situation in SIDS DOCK AIMS Member States; mainstreaming SIDS DOCK in regional and international sustainable energy initiatives; Denmark SIDS DOCK support programme platform building activities, Virtual Knowledge Network, National Financing Mechanism and SIDS DOCK AIMS projects, amongst others.
In his keynote address on the 24th July, the Minister of Environment, Housing and Territorial Planning of the Republic of Cape Verde, Dr Antero Veiga, pointed out that the regional meeting comes at an opportune time when most countries have to deal with the challenge of increasing the rate of renewable energy penetration as a strategy for energy security. In the wake of pressing challenges such as greenhouse gas, increase in sea level and ozone layer depletion, it is imperative to have an integrated vision of the ecosystem, he said.
Referring to Cape Verde, Dr Veiga said that the penetration rate of renewable energy of the country is 25% and that 2020 has been set as the deadline to achieve a 100% penetration rate. According to him, renewable energy is a feasible option to address the country’s dependence on fossil fuel imports and reduce operating costs in electricity production.
For his part, the Permanent Representative of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the United Nations and the SIDS DOCK Steering Committee Chair, Mr Vince Henderson, outlined that the struggle of climate change is a struggle for small island countries and hence the need to take collective actions to respond to the numerous effects and switch from over reliance on fossil fuel. He recalled that the organisation was created by SIDS for SIDS and that it is important that all 31 Member States are mobilised and take advantage of negotiations of the different meetings.
SIDS DOCK is an initiative among Member countries of the Alliance of Small Island States to provide Small Island Developing States with a collective institutional mechanism to assist them to transform their national energy sectors into a catalyst for sustainable economic development and help generate financial resources to address adaptation to climate change.
The forum is called SIDS DOCK because it is designed as a “docking station,” to connect the energy sector in SIDS with the global market for finance, sustainable energy technologies and with the European Union and the United States carbon markets, and able to trade the avoided carbon emissions in those markets.
SIDS DOCK has four main functions: to assist SIDS transition to a sustainable energy sector, by increasing energy efficiency and development of renewable energy; to act as a vehicle for mobilising financial and technical resources to trigger clean economic growth; to provide small island countries with a mechanism for connecting with the global carbon market and taking advantage of the resource transfer possibilities that will be afforded; and to operate a mechanism to help SIDS generate financial resources to invest in climate change adaptation.
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