British billionaire Richard Branson called it a Marshall Plan for the Caribbean.
Antigua & Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne called it ”building on a sustainable basis in order to limit the impact” of future natural disaster.
Whatever it’s going to be called, Caribbean leaders, planners and citizens are increasingly talking about the need for a fresh approach to coping with all that Mother Nature has to throw at their archipelago of territories, prone to geo-faults and cross-Atlantic high winds.
Immediately after Hurricane Irma had wiped out most of Barbuda, St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet was part of the first delegation to arrive in Antigua.
Energy Programme Manager at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Dr. Devon Gardner said Monday that there were clear linkages between sustainable energy and sustainable development.
Delivering remarks at the launching of CARICOM Energy Month at the Quiskeya University, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dr. Gardner referred to CARICOM’s Five-Year Strategic Plan. He said that the economic, social and environmental resilience targeted by the Plan could be derived from suitably designed energy systems and projects that could positively contribute to environmental protection, water production and food security, for example.
“The catalytic role of the energy sector has become evident too for other socioeconomic issues, such as the enabling of education, health and sustainable agriculture, and creating jobs”, he said.
The launch took the form of a half-day mini-symposium, which focused on the expectations and opportunities of the CARICOM’s Energy Policy, Roadmap and Strategy as well as Haiti’s sustainable energy pathway, highlighting realistic options and priority actions. An exhibition which featured projects and technologies of private sector energy companies and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), was held after the symposium. A section of the exhibition was dedicated to presentations of prototypes and project models designed by University engineering students. President of Haiti, His Excellency Jovenel Moise, addressed the opening ceremony and visited the exhibition site at the Quiskeya University.
The “vicious cycle” of severe climate impacts, high indebtedness and high fossil fuel import bills that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) faces, was on Monday highlighted to underscore the reality of the Region as it pursues sustainable energy.
In remarks at the launching of CARICOM Energy Month (CEM) at Quiskeya University in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, CARICOM Energy Programme Manager, Dr. Devon Gardner pointed to the impact of the ferocious hurricanes on the energy sectors of CARICOM Member States and Associate Members .
‘The recent spate of hurricanes – Irma, Jose and Maria, which impacted the Caribbean between August and September – has reshaped this year’s Energy Month agenda. Concomitant with these extreme weather events was the extensive damage to the electric grids and other critical infrastructure within the countries, which impacted the availability of modern energy access, albeit temporarily, to citizens in Dominica, the British Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, and other territories. This is one example of how our vulnerability to climate and disaster can retard advances that are made toward attainment of the global SDG’s: Goal 7 is related to an “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”, he said, as he delivered remarks on behalf of the Secretary-General of CARICOM.
Noting that many CARICOM Member States were struggling to overhaul outdated power plants prior to the passage of the hurricanes, he highlighted the example of Dominica, which, pre-hurricane, was on the verge of reaching financial closure for the construction of a geothermal plant. That facility could have reduced the island’s dependency on fossil-based electricity by 50 per cent. Now, the government is faced with the priority of providing for its citizens who have been heavily impacted by the hurricane. (more…)
Energy conservation and the implementation of an Energy Efficiency Building Code are critical to mitigate the impacts of climate change which pose great risks to countries, like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, within the Caribbean. This was the sentiment expressed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce in St. Vincent and Grenadines, Ms. Sandy Peters-Phillips, on Monday 24 July, 2017, when she addressed the opening of the Second Meeting of the Regional Project Team (RPT) for the Development of the CARICOM Energy Efficiency Building Code (EEBC).
The Meeting was held in Kingstown over two days, 24-25 July 2017, and, according to Dr. Devon Gardner, Programme Manager for Energy within the CARICOM Secretariat, signalled the “collective intent of CARICOM to act in a collaborative and cohesive manner to give life an Energy Efficiency Building Code for the Region”.
Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who was at the technical meeting session, provided critical insight into a number of key issues, especially the legal requirements and socioeconomic considerations at national levels, of which the RPT should be mindful. He indicated that the inclusive approach that was being pursued, with regard to the EEBC development, could contribute to balancing the technical options, which were being considered by the experts, with the national realities and provide an easier path for country adoption.
At this, the Second Meeting, the RPT reached consensus on a Draft Caribbean Application Document (CAD), just four months after the first meeting was convened in Kingston, Jamaica. The meeting also resulted in the endorsement of a programme of work for the effective, efficient and timely completion of the Regional EEBC.