CCREEE establishment sets tone for Regional sustainable development – Barbados PM
The establishment of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) has set the tone for the sustainable development, energy and climate change goals of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
“It may well become one of the ironies of Caribbean history that when oil prices were at one of their lowest points, one of the most successful institutions dedicated to the promotion of alternative energy was established,” the Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, and Chairman of the Community said of the CCREEE.
He made the remarks on Wednesday as the keynote speaker at the institution’s inauguration at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Providing some insight into the CCREEE, Prime Minister Stuart said that it was an innovative initiative embarked upon to address the issues related to energy security, energy access for productive uses and climate change mitigation in CARICOM Member States in an integrated manner.
The Centre, he said, was being established to provide the Caribbean with the specialised institutional capacity that was required to specifically help the Region to develop its abundant renewable energy resources. He added that the facility was expected to assist Member States to improve the use of energy by the wider society, to promote a low carbon economy, to reduce dependence on imported fuels, and to increase resilience to climate change.
The CCREEE will also be the coordinating regional hub and think tank for sustainable energy issues and sustainable energy activities.
“The Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency will add significant value to Regional energy planning and will provide improved access to sustainable energy services and support for emerging technologies. This facility will contribute to the global 2030 objectives of the Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL) Initiative and will assist both in improving energy security and in mitigation of the negative externalities of Regional energy systems,” the Prime Minister said.
Among the charges he delivered to the audience at the inauguration were to build meaningful partnerships with the international community and to not only eliminate the linked challenges of tackling climate change, promoting clean energy and achieving sustainable development, but also to do so by forging essential partnerships and synergies.
“The irony of the situation is that the Caribbean region is rich in renewable energy resources: from hydro to solar, and from wind to geothermal. But we simply do not have the resources to exploit these sources of energy for the benefit of our people.
We must, therefore, enter into meaningful partnerships with the international community, being acutely aware that Caribbean states, which will be among those most heavily impacted by climate change, must be in the vanguard of the efforts to ameliorate its impact,” the Community Chairman said.
Prime Minster Stuart also called for increased focus on inter- and intra-Regional cooperation and collaboration across Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
“I assert without fear of contradiction, that the absence of inter-island cooperation within SIDS regions and between SIDS regions is one of the most critical obstacles to be urgently addressed with respect to the implementation of the SIDS agenda, and the post-2015 Development agenda as well.
The absence of such a mechanism, commonly referred to as ‘SIDS Collectivity’, which refers to SIDS countries speaking with one voice, is perceived to be one of the main reasons that ‘SIDS-specific practical and pragmatic actions’ have been lacking in our individual approach to the sustainable development of our countries,” he warned.
He commended CARICOM and its partners for their stellar contribution that was aimed at filling the SIDS collectivity gap in the Region, through the establishment of the CCREEE.
“It is with great anticipation that I, and many others no doubt, envisage that the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency will be a medium used, at the inter and intra-regional SIDS levels, to share our individual experiences, knowledge and skills, as well as to nurture further development amongst the SIDS within the Caribbean region,” PM Stuart said.
The Centre is a result of a multi-faceted partnership between the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Sustainable Energy Island Initiative (SIDS DOCK), and the Austrian Development Agency which worked alongside the CARICOM Secretariat and the CARICOM energy and climate change bodies.