SIDS High-Level Conference on SE4ALL Adopts Barbados Declaration

9 May 2012: On the second day of the SIDS High-Level Conference on Sustainable Development for All (SE4ALL), which convened in Bridgetown, Barbados, from 7-8 May 2012, delegates from the three SIDS regions – the Pacific, Caribbean and Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and South China Sea (AIMS) – unanimously adopted the Barbados Declaration, which will be taken to the Rio+20 Conference in June.

The Barbados Declaration addresses challenges, opportunities, commitments and initiatives on sustainable energy in SIDS and the Rio+20 Conference, and includes an Annex of voluntary commitments by SIDS.

On Challenges, the Declaration notes that SIDS remain highly vulnerable, notably due to their small open economies, narrow resource base, disadvantages in economies of scale, remoteness, high export concentration, high dependency on imports with high vulnerability to energy and food price shocks, and relatively high levels of national debt.

On Opportunities, the Declaration emphasizes the availability of commercially feasible options for providing energy, such as wind, solar, geothermal and ocean energy, and that many SIDS are particularly suited to these options because of their geographical location. However, it notes that these technologies must be made accessible, affordable and adaptable to the needs and particular circumstances of SIDS communities.

On Commitments, the Declaration affirms the commitment by SIDS to work towards continued development and implementation of policies and plans to ensure the transformation of the current fossil fuel based energy sector to a modern, affordable and efficient renewable energy sector.

On Initiatives, the Declaration acknowledged and welcomed the work of SIDS DOCK, which is a sustainable energy initiative of SIDS in collaboration with the UNDP, World Bank, and donors. The Declaration also acknowledges the role of of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in supporting SIDS in their efforts to accelerate renewable energy deployment, calls for its greater involvement in supporting SIDS’ efforts, and encourages SIDS that have not joined IRENA to consider doing so.

On the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), the Declaration reiterates that the outcomes of the meeting must be ambitious and reflect the needs of SIDS.

The Annex contains voluntary commitments by 19 SIDS: Barbados, Cape Verde, Cook Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nauru, Palau, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Timor Leste, Tonga, and Tuvalu. The commitments include Barbados’ announcement of its plan to increase the share of renewable energy in Barbados to 29% of all electricity consumption by 2029. Maldives committed to achieve carbon neutrality in the energy sector by year 2020. Marshall Islands pledged to electrify all urban households and 95% of rural outer atoll households by 2015. Mauritius committed to increasing the share of renewable energy – including solar power, wind energy, hydroelectric power, bagasse and landfill gas – to 35% or more by 2025. And Seychelles committed to produce 15% of its energy supply from renewable energy by 2030. The Annex will remain open for further inscriptions until 25 May.

The Conference was organised by UNDP in partnership with the Government of Barbados, SIDS DOCK, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, British High Commission Bridgetown, Archers Hall, Australian Aid and the United Nations Foundation. [Barbados Declaration] [Meeting Website][IISD RS coverage of the meeting]

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  • Source: SIDS Policy & Practice
  • Denis Lowe, Minister of Environment and Drainage, Barbados, and Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, Resident Representative, UNDP Barbados