Reducing Dependence on Fossil Fuels Essential for Sustainable Progress in Small Island Developing States, Says UN Secretary-General

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) need to free themselves from dependence on fossil fuel imports and transform their energy sectors to encompass modern, efficient, clean and renewable sources of energy, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message to an audience of prime ministers, ministers, international experts, civil society leaders and business executives at the Barbados Conference today.

Sustainable development is not possible without sustainable energy, the Secretary-General continued in his message to the conference Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in Small Island Developing States, convened by the Government of Barbados and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The worlds appetite for energy continues to grow, and the global thermostat continues to rise. My vision is a world with universal energy access; a doubling of the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and a doubling of renewable energy in our mix of fuel sources by 2030.

Small island developing states are highly dependent on imported oil and other fossil fuels for transport and electricity generation, which is a major source of economic volatility.

We know that although many Small Island Developing States are energy deficient in conventional energy, limitless potential for renewable energy and energy efficiency resides in our countries. The fundamental issue thus is how do we, as small island developing states with inherent structural problems and limited resources, convert this renewable energy potential into a tangible product that is accessible, affordable and adaptable, proclaimed Prime Minister, The Honourable Freundel Stuart in addressing delegates at the opening ceremony this morning.

In some small island states, switching to hydro, solar, geothermal or other renewable energy sources can free up to 30 percent of gross domestic product which is otherwise expended on imports of oil and refined petroleum products. The savings can be then invested into jobs in sectors such as clean energy, improved health care and education, stronger safety nets for people whose livelihoods will be affected by the phase out of fossil fuels, adaptation to climate change, and other programmes. More

 

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