A global gathering of islands convened by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in co-operation with the Government of Malta on 6-7 September 2012 called for sustainable development based on renewable sources and technologies.
Some 130 participants from 48 countries, including 15 at ministerial level, along with representatives from the private sector discussed the expansion of renewable energy deployment to ensure a safer and more prosperous future.
Ministers and representatives of island countries and territories resolved to build on the outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development two months earlier.
IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin said islands could learn from each other’s experiences in solving energy problems and also show the way for the rest of the world to make the transition from unsustainable fossil-fuel dependence.
“Most islands around the world today depend for the majority of their energy needs on imported fossil fuels, which are expensive at the best of times and subject to drastic price fluctuations,” he said.
“At the same time, we have found examples where island states have decisively overcome particular energy challenges by turning to renewables.”
Comparative isolation, small market size, and reliance on fuel imports leaves islands highly exposed to global economic fluctuations. Small Island Developing States (SIDS), such as those in the Pacific, Indian Ocean and Caribbean are particularly vulnerable.
Increased use of renewable sources and technologies would strengthen energy security, generate employment and boost social and economic well-being, the island ministers and representatives agreed.
Renewable energy, including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and ocean energy, as well as biofuel, can be generated locally, with solutions tailored for the circumstances of each island.
But many non-island states also share similar energy challenges.
“Islands therefore can establish the practices that are needed for the global energy industry in the years and decades ahead,” the IRENA Director-General said.
Mr Amin expressed his hope that the two days of discussions in Malta would be followed by practical actions to deploy renewable energy more widely.
The UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All (“SE4ALL”) initiative launched this year calls for doubling the share of renewables in global energy by 2030.
IRENA, an intergovernmental organization established with its headquarters in Abu Dhabi in 2009, promotes the increased adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy worldwide.
The Rio+20 Conference, held in June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, provided “an internationally agreed enabling platform for action on renewables,” Mr Amin said.
The communiqué adopted at the end of the meeting is available here.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), founded in 2009, held its first Assembly in Abu Dhabi in April 2011, where the Agency is headquartered. With the participation of 100 member states and the European Union, plus 58 signatories/applicants for membership, IRENA has become a nexus of international efforts to accelerate the worldwide deployment of renewable energy technologies. www.irena.org