In a high-level meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum, His Excellency Nikolai Astrup, Norwegian Minister of International Development, announced USD 2 million support to UNIDO for the newly created Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE), hosted by the Pacific Community (SPC) in Nuku’alofa, Tonga.
In his statement, Minister Astrup reconfirmed “the commitment of the Government of Norway to support the Pacific leaders in their aspirations towards the endorsed 100% renewable energy vision for the Pacific island region” and highlighted “the importance of regional cooperation to accelerate the climate and energy transformation in the Pacific and globally”.
The attending Pacific leaders applauded Norway for the significant contribution to the Boe Declaration which is recognising that “climate change presents the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and wellbeing of Pacific people”.
Dr. Colin Tukuitonga, Director General of SPC, said “The additional support will enable us to break-even and expand a number of private-sector flag-ship programs for the well-being of Pacific people. This is an encouraging message to the Pacific Ministers of Energy and their upcoming meeting in August 2019.”
“This is another mile-stone in the creation of a network of regional sustainable energy centres for small island states in the Pacific, Caribbean, Africa and Indian Ocean. We are thankful to the people of Norway and our initial core partners “, said Mr. Al Binger, Secretary-General of the Small Islands Sustainable Energy and Climate Resilience Organisation (SIDS DOCK).
In his statement at the Forum, Mr. Stein Hansen, Director and Representative of the UNIDO Regional Office in Bangkok, welcomed the Norwegian contribution to the centre and highlighted its importance to promote adapted energy solutions in key island industries (e.g. agriculture, fishery, food processing, tourism) and the promotion of energy entrepreneurship and innovation.
PCREEE was established in 2017 with key technical support of UNIDO, SPC and SIDS DOCK under the umbrella of the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres. PCREEE promotes regional activities in the areas of policy, qualification, knowledge, investment and entrepreneurship.
The Norwegian announcement comes ahead of the High Level Conference on “Regional Cooperation to Accelerate Sustainable Energy Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries”, jointly organised by UNIDO and the Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 3rd October 2018 in Vienna, Austria.