The SIDS DOCK executive council held its first meeting on Thursday, 16 June 2016, chaired by Dr Vince Henderson, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary and permanent representative of Dominica to the United Nations.
Other elected members of the Council include vice chairs, Ronnie Jumeau, climate change ambassador, Seychelles, and Sione Foliaki, assistant chief executive officer, Energy Policy Coordination and Management Division, Ministry of Finance, Samoa.
Dr Rhianna M. Neely-Murphy, ministry of environment and housing, The Bahamas, was nominated rapporteur. The meeting was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Barbados to the UN.
The first meeting of the executive council represents an historic moment in “SIDS-SIDS” relations in terms of the urgent need to invest in building climate change resilience in small island developing states (SIDS).
SIDS DOCK 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. Estimates place the potential value of the US and EU markets between US$100 to 400 billion annually.
With the entry into force of the SIDS DOCK Treaty, small island developing and low lying states are now vested with a SIDS-appropriate framework to assist member states to mobilise financing in excess of US$20 billion, by 2033, to invest in the transformation of the SIDS energy sector to achieve a 25 percent (2005 baseline) increase in energy efficiency, generation of a minimum of 50 percent of electric power from renewable sources, and a 25 percent decrease in conventional transportation fuel use, in order to increase availability of financial resources to invest in building climate change resilience in SIDS.
The SIDS DOCK treaty was opened for signature in September 2014, in Samoa, at the third UN international conference on SIDS; ratified in September 2015, at the UN, on the margins of the 70th UN General Assembly. The first meeting of the SIDS DOCK Assembly was held in Paris, in December 2015, on the margins of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties meeting (COP 21).
On 3 June 3016, the secretary general of the UN issued a certificate of registration, certifying that the SIDS DOCK treaty was duly registered, signalling that SIDS DOCK was officially open for business. SIDS DOCK business matters will be advised by the global law firm, Squire, Patton, Boggs (SPB), who were officially appointed SIDS DOCK attorneys by the Council. SPB will provide pro bono services to SIDS DOCK.
As mandated by the SIDS DOCK Assembly last December, the Council reviewed documentation adopted by the Assembly, including but not limited to the rules and procedures of the Assembly and Executive Council; selection procedure for the secretary-general; and the SIDS DOCK Secretariat work programme and indicative budget (2016-2020).
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC/5Cs) in its capacity as the interim SIDS DOCK secretariat was directed to work with Council members to finalise the documentation for presentation at the next Assembly meeting, scheduled for September 2016.
Other highlights of the meeting included a comprehensive presentation on a new and exciting investment programme initially targeting wind, solar heaters and photovoltaics (PV) installations in the SIDS DOCK indicative project pipeline. This one-of-a-kind investment vehicle is seen as a major “game changer” with regard to ready financing through a partnership blend of governments, donors and supportive families, to meet the SIDS DOCK goals of US$20 billion by 2033.
The Small Island Developing States: Clean Energy & Carbon Security Investment Platform was carefully designed for SIDS, by Goodwin Procter LLP, a leading Am Law 50 and Global 50 law firm, with offices across the United States and in Europe and Asia. The firm, founded in Boston in 1912, has been providing pro bono assistance to SIDS DOCK in establishing the investment platform.
Through a partnership with the GIve Investment Platform, a Clean Energy Development Fund will be established on SIDS DOCK behalf, with a classic 20 percent equity/80 percent debt project finance structure. Recognising that most SIDS have high debt, with at least ten being the most indebted in the world, SIDS total commitment is “$0 in project capital.” However, SIDS will “lease land at $0 through profitability, enter into public-private partnership agreements (PPA) through utility for scale projects, and put in place a normalized regulatory structure.”
The Council received updates on the Austrian-funded and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)-supported Centres for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Progress reports were given by Dr Al Binger, interim executive director for the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE), and Solomone Fifita, deputy energy director, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and coordinator for the start-up of the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE).
The CCREEE will have it first board meeting in Barbados, the host country, in July 2016, to finalise start up activities and for the Centre to be operational by August 2016. Through a memorandum of understanding, the PCREEE will be hosted in Tonga, and it is expected that the SPC, Tonga and UNIDO will sign a new agreement before the end of June 2016.
An update on the SIDS DOCK Island Women Open Network (IWON) noted that UNIDO will be providing 100,000 euros in start-up funding to support organisational and project development. Two meetings were held in the Caribbean region, in January 2016 in Grenada, and April 2016 in Dominica. The two meetings allowed the IWON to compile a list of over 50 women in climate change and energy at all levels of the professional, and private and public sectors spectrum.
The Executive Council noted for the record, the initial contribution from the government of Denmark in 2011 that helped attract support for SIDS DOCK, including from Japan, and early supporter, Italy. The CCCCC/5Cs and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the two regional organisations credited with creating SIDS DOCK, were also recognised by the Council.
Eight SIDS are represented on the Council: Dominica (chair), Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Samoa (vice chair), and Seychelles (vice chair). The next meeting of the Council is scheduled for August 2016, in New York.
Credit: Caribbean News Now