** This is a press release from SIDS-DOCK/CCREEE
PRESS RELEASE – The hundreds of people who attended the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on the morning of 28 October, were overcome by the impressive display of Barbadian youth and energy, and a demonstration of pure Caribbean culture and resilience that heralded the official inauguration of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE). According to the Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, and Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the CCREEE is intended to urgently address, “one of the most critical obstacles with respect to the implementation of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) agenda, and the post-2015 Development agenda…the absence of inter-island cooperation within SIDS regions and between SIDS regions.
Prime Minister Stuart said the CCREEE was being established to provide the Caribbean with the specialised institutional capacity that was required to specifically help the Region to develop its abundant renewable energy resources. He added that the facility was expected to assist Member States to improve the use of energy by the wider society, to promote a low carbon economy, to reduce dependence on imported fuels, and to increase resilience to climate change. The CCREEE will also be the coordinating regional hub and think tank for sustainable energy issues and sustainable energy activities and will contribute to the global 2030 objectives of the Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL) Initiative. Prime Minister Stuart said the CCREEE is expected to be operational by the end of 2015, with the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) scheduled to be launched in the course of 2016. Meanwhile, he noted that a SIDS Unit has been established at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) in Cabo Verde, to serve SIDS in Africa, and there are plans to establish an Indian Ocean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (IOCREEE) for SIDS in the Indian Ocean region.
H.E. Mr. Vince Henderson, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the United Nations (UN), and Chair of the SIDS DOCK Steering Committee, said it is significant that Barbados, the original seat of thought for the SIDS Programme of Action at the first Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States in 1994, should be designated as the host country for the CCREEE, for it was in Barbados in 1994, he reminded, that the basis for action in reducing dependency of petroleum fuel imports, increasing energy efficiency, and developing and deploying SIDS energy resources was articulated. “At that time, energy accounted for 12 percent of imports; 21 years later, in 2015, energy now accounts for 20 percent of imports across SIDS, with Caribbean countries having some of the highest cost of energy in the world’, Ambassador Henderson, said.
Initial funding and technical assistance for the establishment and the operation of the regional centres is
provided by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC). According to Mr. Martin Ledolter, Managing Director of the Austrian Development Agency, “the centre will empower local people within the Caribbean to benefit from the growing global sustainable energy markets and participate in the emerging opportunities for south-south and north-south technology and knowledge transfer.”
Dr. Pradeep Monga, Director of the Energy Branch of UNIDO, said his organisation responded to an official request from SIDS DOCK to UNIDO, in August 2013, to assist the small island developing states in the Caribbean, Pacific, Indian Ocean and Africa, in the creation of a SIDS network of regional sustainable energy centres. In reading a special message from the Director General of UNIDO, H.E. Mr. Li Yong, Mr. Li commended CARICOM in assigning a sense of urgency in establishing the CCREEE and congratulated Barbados on its selection as host country. Mr. Li called the CCREEE, “a critical mechanism for up-scaling national efforts, particularly in the areas of project execution, capacity development, and knowledge and data management, as well as investment and business promotion, within the sustainable energy sector.” Dr. Monga said that the CCREEE now becomes part of the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres, a post-2015 multi-stakeholder partnership to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development and Sustainable Energy For All.
A major highlight of the ceremony was the outstanding performance from the award-winning Springer Memorial Girl’s Secondary School Choir. The audience also received a virtual tour of the new facility that will house the CCREEE, located at the Trinity Business Centre, Country Road, St. Michael, in the capital, Bridgetown. The facility can host up to nine CCREEE personnel and is fully functional with state-of-the-art office machinery, equipment and technology, and facilities to host international, regional and national stakeholder meetings, as well as training.
Also in attendance at the inauguration ceremony were members of the Cabinet, House of Assembly, and Senate of the Government of Barbados; the CARICOM Secretariat, Caribbean regional organisations, members of the diplomatic community, international development partners, members of the private sector, civil society and the media.
For more information:
Dr. Al Binger, Energy Advisor, CARICOM Climate Change Centre, SIDS DOCK Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Martin Lugmayr, Sustainable Energy Expert, UNIDO, M.LUGMAYR@unido.org.
Peruse the official Press Release.