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CSEP MULTI-STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATION ON A NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY

Melene A. Glynn
OAS Representative
St. Vincent and the Grenadines

July 31, 2009

On behalf of the Organization of American States, it is my pleasure to welcome you to this Consultation on a National Energy Policy.

Sustainable Energy within a National Energy Policy

As the demand for sustainable energy and higher energy efficiency grows, utilities and governmental authorities the world over are finding themselves increasingly challenged with planning and implementing energy policies – energy policies that not only guarantee a quantitative and qualitative supply of energy resources, but which also supply those resources at an optimal economic and environmental cost.

For Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean, such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the need for the development and application of such policies is particularly urgent.  Their current dependence on imported fuel for the generation of electricity, transportation and other energy needs leaves countries like this one completely exposed to the economic shocks deriving from fluctuating international oil prices and the elevated capital outflows that attend those higher prices.  

The experiences of the past two and half years in particular, have brought into sharp focus the need for nationally sustainable and efficient energy policies, which include the use of locally available resources, which are fully integrated into this country’s development strategy and which minimize the need for repeated adjustments in national development objectives due to the vagaries of demand and supply in far-flung places or the whims and fancies of speculators on the floors of international Stock Exchanges.

The Consultation that we inaugurate today marks an important step forward in this country’s achievement of the goal of long-term sustainability in the energy sector, and the associated stability in its social and economic development thrust.

The Organization of American States is very happy to be able to partner with the Government of this country and you, the stakeholders, in pursuing this objective.

OAS and Sustainable Energy

Advocacy for the sustainable use of energy and energy resources by its member states has long been mandated by the highest organs of the OAS.
At the First Summit of the Americas, in Miami, in 1994, Heads of Government agreed to, in collaboration with the Private Sector:

“promote increased access to reliable, clean and least cost energy services through activities and projects that meet economic, social and environmental requirements, within the context of nationally sustainable development goals and national legal frameworks.”

At the Fourth Summit of the Americas, in Argentina, in 2005, the Heads also agreed to:

“favour the research, development, and adoption of renewable and efficient energy sources and the deployment of technology for cleaner and more efficient energy sources, including among them, those that foster the intensive use of labor, which, together with the promotion of sustainable development, and addressing climate change concerns, permit the reduction of poverty.”

In the Declaration of Panama on Energy for Sustainable Development, which emanated from the 37th Regular Session of the OAS General Assembly, in June 2007, OAS Member States:

“..RECOGNIZ[ED] that energy is an essential resource for sustainable development of peoples, and that access to energy that is diverse, reliable, secure, and affordable is of paramount importance to economic growth with equity and social inclusion, and contributes to poverty eradication;”

Many other mandates, undertakings and recommendations in support of the sustainable use of energy, have emanated from various organs of the Organization over the years – too many to list here.  Taken as a whole however, they reflect a strong and unwavering commitment by the OAS to support the efforts of its member states to access the sustainable energy technologies and services, and to implement the supporting policies, laws, strategies, and actions , which are essential to their integral development.

Within the OAS, that commitment to our member states is delivered by the OAS Department of Sustainable Development through its Renewable Energy and Climate Change Division, directed by Division Chief Mark Lambrides.

We are fortunate to have Mark with us today, along with two other officers of that Division, Carolina Pena and Mauricio Solano.  Mark will be taking the floor later this morning to speak in more detail of the work of the Energy Division and how it can, and already is supporting the energy program in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Caribbean Sustainable Energy Program (CSEP)

Among the many initiatives that the Division is pursuing, is the program to “Increase the Sustainability of the Energy Sector in the Caribbean through Improved Governance and Management” – an EU-financed initiative known as the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Program or CSEP.

CSEP’s primary objective is to “accelerate the transition toward cleaner, more sustainable energy use” in seven Caribbean Countries, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and to create an environment more conducive to the development and use of renewable energy and energy efficient systems.

Through CSEP, the OAS has already strengthened the Energy Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office, through the donation of computer equipment.  It is now supporting the elaboration of this national Consultation.

We believe that it can bring major benefits to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the other participating countries in the thrust towards the use of renewable energy and we look forward to elaborating the program in collaboration with the energy authorities of this country.

Closing

In closing, the need to identify alternative sources of energy and to design the policies that ensure their sustainable exploitation in concert with human social and economic development, including food security and with due care for the environment, is one of the most pressing challenges of our times.

The OAS will therefore continue to support the efforts of the Governments and peoples of our Member States, as well as our development partners, to build capacity and to encourage the development and application of technologies, programmes and policies that pursue this objective.

We are very happy to be able to work with the Government of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, VINLEC, CARICOM, CARILEC, the European Commission and CREDP/GTZ  to support this country’s initiatives in this regard.

We look forward to the valuable contributions of all persons here today, as we work together to fashion an appropriate model for the implementation of the national energy plan of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Thank you all for your interest and your participation.



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