Energy and environment are essential for sustainable development. The poor are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation and lack of access to clean affordable energy services. These issues are also global as climate change, loss of biodiversity and ozone layer depletion cannot be addressed by countries acting alone.
Globally, UNDP helps countries strengthen their capacities to address these challenges at global, national and community levels, seeking out and sharing best practices, providing innovating policy advice and linking partners through pilot projects that help poor people build sustainable livelihoods.
Major environmental threats, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, and ozone layer depletion, are globally relevant and cannot be addressed by countries acting alone. In recognition of the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility”, developing countries are entitled to technical and financial support from the global community to satisfy their international obligations to protect the environment. This is so because developing countries are not historically responsible for causing environmental global threats and are currently least equipped to combat them, both in terms of financial and technological recourse. International cooperation is therefore needed to support developing countries in the global effort to preserve the environment and achieve sustainable development.
UNDP Barbados and the OECS Environmental Assistance Portfolio (primarily with funding secured from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is designed to protect and regenerate the environment and natural resource asset base for sustainable human development (SHD), and to:
- Promote integration of sound environmental management with national policies and programmes
- Protect and regenerate the environment and promote access to natural resource assets on which poor people depend
- Promote equity and burden sharing in international co-operation to protect and enhance the global and regional environment.
UNDP Barbados and the OECS is committed to advocating for the global environment relevance of the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) in the Eastern Caribbean. We aim at having the SIDS-specific circumstances and challenges in the sub-region known and understood in international and regional fora, focusing particular attention on:
- Capacity building needs of SIDS, hindered by the scarcity of research/higher level education institutes at the country level
- Limited financial and human resources of SIDS at the government and at the non-governmental and private levels, further diminished by the “brain drain” phenomenon
- Relevance of SIDS for endemic and endangered species
- Vulnerability of SIDS to climate change, sea level rise and global warming.
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Sustainable Energy for All (SEFA)
In May 2012, UNDP Barbados and the OECS hosted the SIDS SEFA International Conference and Rio +20 Informal Ministerial Meeting.
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. The Secretary-General has launched his Sustainable Energy for All (SEFA) initiative to identify and mobilize action by stakeholders from across government, business, civil society, academia and the development community. Three interlinked objectives underpin the goal of achieving sustainable energy for all by 2030:
- Ensuring universal access to modern energy services;
- Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix; and
- Doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency the goals to be reached by 2030
Achieving Sustainable Energy for All is essential for addressing two of the most pressing challenges of our time – reducing poverty and minimizing the risks of climate change impacts. Without access to sustainable energy, there can be no sustainable development. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro held in June 2012 (Rio+20), presented the international community with an opportunity to establish a global response for making sustainable energy for all a reality on the ground in every community and every country.
To profile the SIDS perspective on sustainable energy for all, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Barbados co-hosted a conference to examine how to achieve the three inter-related Sustainable Energy for All objectives in the SIDS context.
The conference pursued four interlinked objectives:
- Establish awareness and understanding of SIDS conditions and perspectives on sustainable energy for all (SEFA);
- Articulate SIDS commitment to support SEFA and convey SIDS support of SEFA as a core element of the three pillars of sustainable development;
- Build awareness in governments and their institutions for the formulation of required policies and their enforcement in order to regulate the market and to attract investments into affordable and sustainable energy services;
- Foster recognition by governments and their institutions of the importance of identifying potential areas for doubling energy efficiencies, as well as development of alternative energy sources.
As the SEFA initiative is closely linked to the Rio+20 process, the SIDS conference also provided an opportunity to discuss support to the SEFA targets and commitments as one outcome of Rio+20, and contributed to the discussion on the potential establishment of sustainable development goals (SDGs) and related global monitoring mechanisms. The Barbados conference was also an opportunity to showcase the work of the SIDS DOCK partnership – a sustainable energy initiative of SIDS in collaboration with the UNDP, World Bank, and donors.
At the end of the conference, there was a Barbados Declaration, which was a clear statement of the unique circumstances, vulnerabilities and needs of SIDS, articulating SIDS support and commitments towards the three SEFA objectives, in the lead up to and at the Rio+20 conference.