Oct 12, 2016 News
Several top Government officials were represented at the historic EU-CARIBBEAN Sustainable Energy Conference that was held at Barbados’ Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
The two-day event, which ended yesterday, saw Guyana fielding a team that included Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson; Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman; Justice (ret’d) Prem Persaud, Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission; Horace Williams of the Hinterland Electrification Programme and Dolwin Khan of the Guyana Energy Agency.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, the conference, the first of its kind, brought together Ministers of Caribbean governments, CARICOM’s Secretary General, Irwin La Rocque and team; energy experts, financiers and private sector representatives, to discuss how the Caribbean can achieve its energy transformation goals with European Union support.
The keynote address was delivered by Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart, with areas covered including opportunities for investment; regulatory frameworks; technology, innovation and cooperation; and regional interconnection.
During the conference, Minister Trotman participated in a ministerial panel on sustainable energy policies. Bilateral discussions were held with various ministers and representatives of the European Investment Bank (EIB), among others.
With the Caribbean region particularly vulnerable to external shocks due to its scattered insularity, the impact of climate change and high energy costs has been a major challenge.
Despite the significant availability of domestic renewable energy resources, the region remains highly dependent on imported fossil fuels, which exposes it to volatile oil prices, poses an additional burden to highly indebted countries and limits economic development.
Transition to clean, affordable and efficient modern energy services is a cornerstone for sustainable development in the Caribbean region.
According to the organizers, by acting on the major renewable energy potential through a conducive regulatory environment and an integrated market, with the EU’s support, the Caribbean can assume a leading role in the global effort to combat climate change, in line with the commitments taken in Paris at COP21 and with the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development.
Key expected outcomes of the event include the signing of a “Joint Declaration between the European Union and the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) on reinforced cooperation in the field of sustainable energy” and the signature of five new support programmes in the renewable energy sector for the region, totalling EUR 54 million.
The forum would have brought together the EU, Caribbean countries, donors and the private sector to identify the opportunities for increased cooperation.
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