Twenty small island developing nations today have adopted the “Barbados Declaration” that calls for universal access to modern and affordable renewable energy services, while protecting the environment, ending poverty and creating new opportunities for economic growth.
As they wrapped up a sustainable energy conference organized by the United Nations and Barbados, the small nations announced new actions to curb dependence on fossil fuels and end poverty as well.
The declaration was adopted ahead of next month’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) which includes an annex with voluntary commitments of 20 small island developing States (SIDS) to take actions toward providing universal access to energy.
The Declaration notes that there are feasible options in many SIDS for providing energy such as wind, solar, geothermal, and oceans energy.
Barbados, the host country of the conference has also announced its plan to increase the share of renewable energy in the country to 29 per cent of all electricity consumption by 2029.
In addition, Maldives also plans to achieve carbon neutrality in the energy sector by year 2020. Seychelles also pledges to to produce 15 per cent of its energy supply from renewable energy by 2030.
The declaration also recognized the importance of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative which was launched by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last September. The initiative seeks to ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, all by 2030.
The conference brought together more than 100 Heads of State, ministers, leading development experts, civil society activists, business executives and UN officials from 39 SIDS.
On November 2011, the General Assembly stressed that the participation of small States in Rio+20, next year’s United Nations conference on sustainable development is vital, given many are already experiencing the effects of climate change,
The General Assembly noted that conference would provide a great opportunity for small countries to contribute their ideas and proposals on climate change and sustainable development.
Rio+20 will take place in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where world leaders will seek to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of previous summits on sustainable development, and address emerging challenges.
Rio+20 conference will focus on two themes:
i) A green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication;
ii) The institutional framework for sustainable development