AOSIS decries the failure of the AdHoc Energy Working Group

2001-11-20 H.E. Ambassador Tuiloma Neroni Slade Download PDF

Topic: Sustainable Development

Mr. Chairmen,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the forty-three Members and
Observers of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), thirty-seven of
which are members of the United Nations.
Energy is one of the fourteen priority issues identified in 1994 in the
Barbados Programme of Action for the sustainable development of Small
Island Developing States (SIDS). Our group has raised this issue in previous
sessions of the Commission as well as in the context of the Ad-Hoc Working
Group. Given the limits of time I will not go into the detailed discussion as
to why energy is such a crucial consideration for the sustainable
development of Small Island Developing States. But I would like to raise
some of our key concerns.
The generally isolated and vulnerable situation of island countries has
focused our attention on regional and other strategies to promote sustainable
energy options and to set the path towards a sustainable energy future.
Individually, AOSIS countries are doing what they can with the natural
resources they have, or which they do not have. An issue of the UN
publication Natural Resources, being circulated in this room, highlights
many of these efforts by SIDS across the regions.
Essentially, however, there has been no substantive change in the energy
situation of small island developing States (SIDS) since the Barbados
Programme of Action of 1994, inasmuch as the following would still largely
characterise their position as of today:
• there continues to be heavy dependence on imported petroleum products,
largely for transport and electricity generation; and also heavy
dependence on indigenous biomass fuels. The current uses of these
forms of energy, as we all know, are highly inefficient;
• renewable energy resource endowments vary significantly among SIDS:
– all have substantial solar resources, but not yet developed to their full
– wind potential is variable with location;
– hydroelectric power is a possibility for only some SIDS, but could have
tremendous impact;
– biomass is commonly available, but is unequally exploited; and
– the potential for geothermal, ocean thermal and wave energy remain
experimental, but studies show that their impact could be massive;
• overall, there are significant constraints to the large-scale commercial
use of renewable energy resources. SIDS do not have the capacity or
means to invest in renewables, to develop or obtain the right technology,
nor do they have adequate skill or management capabilities.
Earlier this year, AOSIS convened a workshop on climate change, energy
and preparations for CSD9. The turnout was impressive, and we were able to
reach a common understanding on the key issues before CSD. We submitted
these views in writing to the Secretariat. Our hope was that these views
would be incorporated into the working paper by the co-chairs of the Ad
Hoc Working Group. We were disappointed with the outcome of that
working group, and or group feels that it was an opportunity lost to gain
ground in the struggle for sustainable development. At the Cyprus workshop
our group clearly highlighted that energy for SIDS is much more than our
own requirements. Our sustainable development is under threat by the
unsustainable consumption of fossil fuels by the developed countries. The
direct linkages between climate change and energy use (or waste) has been
clearly identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. While
energy use in SIDS, and our greenhouse gas emissions, remain at a very low
level, we feel that we should all make a contribution. From an economic
perspective then, as well as from the climate change perspective, our group
wishes to see a more sustainable global future – a future that can assure
Small Island Developing States of their continued survival. Present
conditions do not augur well.
The dimwitted and nearsighted decision of the US administration leaves us little comfort,
especially since the decision shows no comprehension of the basic factors governing the energy equation.
The document of the ad hoc energy working group does not give us any
practical benefit, and it does not represent to us any meaningful attempt to
get solutions for our pressing sustainable development issues.
In conclusion let me stress that SIDS are committed to achieving sustainable
development for ourselves, and we will assist others through the experiences
we hope to build. The inability of this Commission’s working group to
produce a meaningful global consensus is disheartening, but not unexpected.
For our part we stand by our own report as a more comprehensive indication
of the views of SIDS on the issue of energy and sustainable development.
We will cooperate with the international agencies and donor community to
try to bring these ideas to fruition. As for the G-77, shame on you

Sub Topic: SDGs

Forum: Conference on Sustainable Development (CSD)

Meeting: CSD9