Clear link between sustainable energy and sustainable development – Dr. Devon Gardner

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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.

While the Energy Programme Manager acknowledged that there were factors that prevented the Region from mobilising domestic resources to promote sustainable energy investments, he recommended several other investment avenues that the Region could pursue.

“Within the context of the region’s natural constraints and economic challenges, which limits our ability to mobilize the domestic resources that are necessary for promoting the sustainable energy investments, shifts within the global development assistance and climate financing systems should acknowledge and target the specificities and vulnerabilities of SIDS. The Green Climate Fund can provide reliable access to overseas development financing and concessionary loans to support investments for climate adaptation and mitigation, including sustainable energy actions.

Further, ‘Debt for Climate swaps’, which focus on clean energy investments, has the potential to be transformative and deserve serious consideration. Taken together, these two actions have the potential to provide significant amounts of the public capital that is needed to kick‑start the growth cycle and support the sustainable future that we desire. Combating climate change, promoting sustainable development and addressing the energy challenges of our countries requires, among other things, strong partnerships”, he said.

CARICOM Energy Month is observed in November each year and is a collaborative initiative to address the key energy issues and promoting cooperation based on the needs and common interest within the Community. It is a celebration of the significant strides that have been made within the Region in its transition to a sustainable energy pathway towards achieving long-term behavioural changes.

Several activities have been planned for the month including webinars, an art competition for youths, a regional energy kilo walk, and a youth essay competition.

This year, an award for an energy personality is being introduced. The award will recognise the contributions made by an individual to the sustainable energy development of the Region.

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