Closing Remarks by Michelle Gyles-McDonnough UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative

May 8, 2012

Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) - Challenges, Opportunities, Commitments

The Honourable Henry Puna, Prime Minister and Minister for the Environment of Samoa,

The Honourable Kausa Natano, Deputy Prime Minister of Tuvalu,

The Honourable  Aloysius Amwano, Special Envoy of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Nauru and Chair of AOSIS,

Senator The Honourable Darcy Boyce, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Energy,

The Honourable Dennis Lowe, Minister of Environment and Drainage of Barbados,

Other Members of the Cabinet of Barbados,

Honourable Ministers and other Delegates from the 29 Member States of AOSIS present here today,

Ms. H. Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20,

Ms. Veerle Vandeweerd, Director, Environment and Energy Group, UNDP,

Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Colleague Heads of UN Agencies,

Heads of CARICOM Regional Organisations

Permanent Secretaries,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Afternoon,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, thirty six hours ago we started this journey hoping to carve out a development paradigm for SIDS, one powered by a commitment to reduce dependence on fossil fuel and increase the percentage of renewable energy in the national and global energy mix. In brief, we were tasked with designing a roadmap to deliver sustainable energy for SIDS by 2030.

You have done well, you stuck to the task and delivered a masterpiece; a truly insightful document with the potential to cause change not only in the energy sector but in the entire sustainable development architecture of SIDS.

The Barbados Declaration that is now before us is testament of our commitment to sustainable development. It speaks to the need for reform to promote equity, of our collective responsibility to the least developed, by providing technologies and financial means , to respond to the need for a global pact to save the planet and sustain us into a future we want.

There are many promising prospects for expanding energy provision without a heavy environmental toll. In 2010, global energy supplies reached a tipping point with renewables accounting for 25 percent of global power capacity. While many SIDS are rich in natural resources for the production of renewables, their share today accounts for less that 1% of the national capacity.  This is why this Barbados Declaration is so critical. It calls for and offers a blue print for rethinking our development models and integrating equity concerns into green and sustainable economic policies.  The importance of equity and inclusion is already an explicit objective of green economic policy.

Having invested two days into rethinking the development model, it is critical for the citizens of the small island developing states that the Barbados Declaration, and other outcomes of your deliberations to not just be tabled before the world in Rio in June, but that the final Rio outcome embraces the expectations and needs of the small island developing states for sustainable energy as part of the overall package that will shape the future we want.  Let’s make this meeting count, we have adopted this Barbados declaration; let us take it to Rio, to our countries to our communities. Let us power the world via the Barbados Declaration.

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