Eminent guests and speakers, led by the President of Fiji, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, celebrated the Pacific Roll-out of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) at the University of the South Pacific on May 18, 2012.
SE4ALL, declared by the United Nations General Assembly, is mobilizing concrete actions to achieve, by 2030, universal access to modern energy services; double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and double the share of renewable energy in the global mix.
For the nations of the Pacific, this is indeed a challenge. In Melanesia, it is estimated over 6.8 million people are still without access to electricity, 6 million of these in Papua New Guinea. Most Pacific Island Countries are now targeting renewable energy to reduce their dependence on oil imports, but have not yet achieved this. The road towards sustainable energy is a difficult but important one, and SE4ALL brings a unique opportunity for the Pacific to work together for an energy secure future.
The Pacific launch of SE4ALL brought together countries, regional organisations, development partners, the private sector and members of the public, to promote action on energy issues, including energy services and the sustainability of energy sources.
A list of activities, to contribute towards the goals set by the UN, has been produced by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the lead coordinating agency on energy matters in the region. IUCN Oceania through its Energy Programme and in partnership with the Governments of Italy and Austria is implementing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across six Pacific Island Countries. These projects are helping Vanuatu, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu to accelerate their transition to energy systems that are ecologically efficient, sustainable and socially equitable. IUCN Oceania will also promote these models and low-carbon approaches at the upcoming IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju Korea.