|Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Barbados at the United Nations, Selwyn Hart (BGIS)??|
Embracing the Sustainable Energy For All (SEFA) initiative would help Barbados to reduce its energy import bill and divert money to socio-economic development instead.
It would also allow Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to acquire support from developed countries in the fight against climate change and the reduction of carbon emissions.
So says Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Barbados at the United Nations, Selwyn Hart, as he emphasised that Barbados’ support of SEFA was a good thing.
"SIDS are highly dependent on importing energy and fossil fuels, and this has placed a great strain on Barbados’ economy. Resources that would normally go to social and economic development and environmental protection have to be diverted to pay the energy import bill, which was the largest import bill last year," he said, adding that this situation was not unique to this country alone, but rather, replicated across most SIDS.
He pointed out that in the Pacific region, 18 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product was used to import fossil fuels "and again, with the same consequences, where resources are diverted from social, economic and environmental programmes."
Stating that the SEFA initiative was a concept established by the UN Secretary General, Mr. Hart noted that in his view, SEFA would help Barbados and SIDS garner international support in their promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Specifically referring to the just concluded SEFA conference held at Hilton Barbados, he said that he was pleased to see so many SIDS coming up with voluntary commitments to end energy dependency.??
"It is our hope that we can showcase these commitments with a view to receiving international support," he noted, adding that Denmark had participated at the conference and he hoped that other donors would also join in the efforts of supporting SIDS.
Commitments by SIDS ranged from countries seeking to accomplish renewable energy and energy efficiency targets to some countries aiming to become carbon neutral by 2020.??
Labelling these commitments as "extremely ambitious", the Counsellor reasoned, "This is really the value… SIDS have demonstrated a high degree of moral leadership in terms of transforming the energy sector as well as fighting climate change."
Admitting that SIDS depended on developed countries to provide assistance, he said that the need for the major world emitters to reduce their carbon emissions was still very much present.?? But, Mr. Hart argued that SIDS had to take a proactive approach to addressing their concerns.
??"We just can’t sit or stand and wait on them [developed countries] to undertake these actions. We also have a responsibility to do what we can to protect our citizens, reduce our vulnerabilities, to build resilience in our people, to work with private sector and civil society and to ensure that we put in place a sustainable future for our citizens.
"So, while we are dependent on developed countries to take action and provide financing, we also have a responsibility to do what we can individually as countries and collectively as SIDS, regional groups or as the Alliance of Small Island Developing States," Mr. Hart underscored.