The second Regional Energy Officials meeting and the Pacific Energy Ministers meeting was held in Nukualofa, Tonga from the 20th – 24th of April. These biennial meetings, focussed on the theme, “Strengthening the Fragile Pacific Islands Energy Sector – Addressing energy, economy and environment in a period of rapid change”. It was a critical discussion for Pacific Island countries currently undergoing considerable pressure to sustain their fragile economies with the current global recession and uncertainties in oil prices. This has raised alternative energy options to the top of the agenda including renewable energies.
IUCN Oceania, with its programme of work links in well with the Regional Energy Policy and the implementation of a diversity of projects in 6 Pacific Countries. As a relative new comer to the energy arena in the region, the week-long meetings provided a platform for the office to raise its profile and the opportunity to discuss with the 16 island countries and development partners on potential engagement, especially on how IUCN can add value to the energy programmes in the Pacific with its ecosystems approach. IUCN applauded the Pacific Energy Ministers participating in the meetings for integrating environmental considerations in their discussions and expressed its interest in assisting Pacific Island countries in advancing equitable access to ecologically sustainable, socially equitable and economically efficient energy systems.