DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, December 8, 2011 - The government of Japan announced a new US$15 million grant here today to support clean energy efforts by some of the smallest and most climate vulnerable island nations in the world.
With the aim of increasing these countries access to renewable energy, the money is for the SIDS-DOCK partnership, an initiative launched at the 2010 UN climate conference in Cancun with a pledge of $14.5 million (80 million Danish kroner) from the government of Denmark.
"We are very pleased to join the epoch-making SIDS-DOCK program which can be a game-changer for the small island states that are facing the immediate threat of climate change. Japan, also an islander, has been a partner and supporter for small island states for long, and is excited to extend its support to this initiative", said Naoko Ishii, Deputy Vice Minister Finance for International Affairs and Special Adviser to the Minister of Finance for Global Environmental Affairs, Japan.
The partnership, created by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provides both financial and technical support to island countries to scale up their renewable energy efforts and shift to greater energy efficiency.
“Whilst small island states are the most vulnerable to climate change and contribute least to carbon emissions, we seek to lead by example on mitigation by developing low-carbon economies”, said Karl Hood, Grenada’s Foreign Minister, chairing AOSIS. He continued, “We welcome this new contribution from Japan and extend our thanks to Denmark, UNDP and the World Bank for their ongoing support. We encourage other donors and private sector entities to join with us, to make islands ‘living laboratories’ for show-casing the blue-green economy.”
Initiatives already underway with the partnership include support for geothermal power development in Vanuatu, energy-efficient buildings in Mauritius, and feasibility studies on alternative energy across the Caribbean, as well as on interconnecting the electricity markets of the Caribbean region.
“The SIDS DOCK partnership generates a triple win for small islands: by supporting countries to install clean energy policies and technologies we reduce fossil fuel imports, reduce GHG emissions, and free up resources for much needed adaptation efforts”, said Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP.
“Small islands are some of the most vulnerable places on earth to the effects of climate change”, said Andrew Steer, World Bank Special Envoy for Climate Change. “The SIDS DOCK partnership will not only help increase energy independence and build resilience for these nations, but it will also allow them to lead – to demonstrate innovative mitigation strategies in the face of resource constraints.”