IUCN has joined forces with the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to help coordinate their respective energy projects in Pacific island nations. IUCN’s Energy, Ecosystems and Sustainable Development Livelihood Initiative (EESLI) and SPREP’s Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project (PIGGAREP) held a joint meeting in Apia, Samoa in November 2008 to map a coordinated way forward for the projects.
“This joint meeting marks an historic occasion with two organisations coming together to collaborate on separate energy programmes,” says IUCN’s Energy Advisor, Anare Matakiviti. “For IUCN the occasion is an opportunity to assess the past six months and map the best way forward. The meeting also provides an opportunity to enhance the synergies that we have tried to build with PIGGAREP over the past months. IUCN, through the EESLI and SPREP, through its PIGGAREP project have developed a working arrangement that we hope will assist both organisations deliver their respective programmes more effectively.”
According to Matakiviti, the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the region as a means of combating climate change and its impacts is the common thread that binds the two programmes together. While PIGGAREP is focusing on ways to create an environment for wide spread application for renewable energy in the region by removing barriers that inhibit the creation of such an environment, EESLI is building hardware projects to demonstrate the application of renewable energy. The EESLI is being treated as a co-financing project for the PIGGAREP project.
The Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are participating in both projects and have expressed their support for developing this type of collaborative way of working.
Explaining the need for coordination, Matakiviti highlights the increasing number of different renewable energy programmes in the Pacific and the challenges of national capacity to efficiently manage and utilise the significant financial resources being made available to them.
“We hope to help address this lack of absorptive capacity at the national level by finding a mechanism that allows us to coordinate the various projects and pool our resources without diluting the effectiveness of the separate initiatives,” he says.
He further notes that the past experiences of the participating countries in managing energy programmes will be integral to developing such mechanisms.
“Most of the representatives who attended the joint meeting in Apia work in the Energy Department of their countries and have a lot of experience to share,” says Matakiviti. “IUCN believes in working closely with the country focal points and other key stakeholders and through this partnership arrangement we will be able to overcome the many challenges we encounter on the way.”
Matakiviti adds that IUCN recognises and acknowledges the wealth of knowledge that is reposited in regional organisations such as SPREP and the Secretariat of the Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC); and with development partners such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and the Australian and New Zealand Agencies for International Development (AusAID and NZAid) in implementing energy programmes in the region. IUCN hopes to build synergies with the energy and climate change programmes implemented by these organisations and has already initiated consultations with several donors and organisations.
“We will be pursuing clear working arrangements with these development partners as we have carried with the PIGGAREP project. We believe working together under a clear collaborative framework will enhance the delivery of our respective programmes and make a change in the lives of the people we are trying to serve,” he says.