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National Focus Group Consultation to Discuss Sustainable Energy Services in Barbados

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CYEN logo

As the Caribbean struggles to combat the challenges of climate change, and national governments are seeking to secure their energy supplies within an environment where energy costs have reached historical highs, a group of national experts will meet to discuss how Barbados can best support the development of an economically and environmentally sustainable energy sector.

The one-day event was hosted at United Nations House on Monday, 27 April, 2009, organised by the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Barbados and the OECS. The event brought together a range of organisations involved in the energy debate, including the agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and small business sectors, the electric utility and civil society. It is part of ongoing work under the sub-regional project “Bioenergy in the Caribbean: supporting policy dialogue on sustainable energy services for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) through South-South cooperation”. Similar events are being hosted in four other Caribbean territories as part of CYEN’s Earth Day celebrations. These are Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Renewable energy is derived from several sources. These include wind, solar, water, geothermal, nuclear and biomass (energy crops, agricultural, liquid and solid waste). These resources can be used to produce electricity for all economic sectors, transportation fuels, and heat for industrial processes. In 2004 renewable energy resources displaced about 3% of the world’s energy that would otherwise have been derived from fossil fuels. It is this potential to provide a multi-faceted low-carbon solution to future energy needs that attracted over $39 billion in global investment in 2005.

The consultation embraced the need for cross-sectoral dialogue to ensure that the opportunities, implications, resources and timescale for delivering sustainable sources of renewable energy are better understood. It also promotes the creation of synergistic partnerships to broaden prospects, capitalising on combined resources and common interests. Undoubtedly, bioenergy in particular presents some viable opportunities for the declining sugar sector, and for transforming what is typically considered waste into valuable resources.

Sustainable or renewable energy is a complex issue that demands much consideration. At the recently concluded Summit of the Americas energy supply and security concerns were a focal part of the talks in relation to environmental sustainability and climate change. Essentially, renewable energy raises a wide range of important issues and has several implications for areas such as transport, building and planning regulations, waste management, food security, land use, the rural economy, and environmental health, to name just a few.

At present, organisations, agencies and individuals working in these varying sectors throughout the country are developing their own strategies and activities relating to renewable and more sustainable energy sources. There is the question surrounding the coordination and regulation of these activities, whether they meet government policies, targets and incentives and whether enough is being done to create a sufficiently enabling atmosphere to successfully drive the energy sector forward in a sustainable manner.

Participants in the consultation have contributed information that should assist UNDP in gaining an understanding of the status of the energy sector in Barbados as well as support other ongoing work to map the socioeconomic, scientific and policy context for a more sustainable regional energy industry, and develop recommendations to help guide the sector forward.

Findings from the five meetings will be made available in June 2009 on the UNDP Barbados and the OECS website under the Energy and Environment Programme.

For information on the consultation please contact: Mariama Branker
Caribbean Field Coordinator, CYEN – Caribbean Office
Email: ; Tel: 246 437 6055

For information on the “Bioenergy in the Caribbean” project please contact: Danielle Evanson
Project Coordinator, Energy and Environment Programme, UNDP Barbados and the OECS
Email:; Tel: 246 467 6033

CYEN is the largest youth environmental network in the Caribbean and spans over 15 territories. The organisation holds a distinguished track record of youth lead environmental and sustainable development advocacy. This year CYEN is focusing on the issues of climate change as well as the promotion of sustainable livelihoods through education and awareness of young Caribbean people.

The UNDP is a component of UN’s global development network, which advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP Barbados and the OECS is a part of the 166-country office UNDP network, working with countries to assist the implementation of their own solutions to global and national development challenges.

Category/ies:Barbados News.
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