“Renewable Energy for Islands”
Sustainable Energy for All forum - SE4ALL
Remarks by: H.E Mr. Ahmed Sareer
Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations
New York, 19 May 2015
Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues,
Maldives is delighted to be part of this important event on “Renewable Energy for Islands”. I wish to thank the government of the United Arab Emirates and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) for taking the initiative to organize this timely event.
Small Island Developing States such as the Maldives are highly dependent on fossil fuel: providing basic services such as transport and electricity, at huge cost. In the Maldives, for example, we are currently spending 25% of GDP on importing fossil fuels.
Unless there is a substantial partnership created to provide high yielding technologies, we would not be able to reduce this over-reliance on fossil fuels, even with ambitious programs countries like the Maldives, have made towards low-carbon development. There needs to be increased financing for investment in modern and reliable sources of renewable energy. We have to promote capacity building and effective mechanism for transfer of modern energy technology while taking into consideration the structural disadvantages of SIDS in attracting direct investment. Geographical limitations as a small Island developing state pose special challenges, demanding individualized and customized facilities to generate energy to meet their demands.
Governments need to adopt policies that will promote the use of renewable and sustainable energy sources while ensuring universal access to clean, reliable and affordable modern energy services. There needs to be a shift to renewable energy in the global energy mix.
SIDS cannot afford to wait for the world to catch up. As we speak, greenhouse gas emissions, largely from the use of fossil fuels, are dramatically changing the world that we live in. You have often heard us say, climate change threatens our development gains, and our own survival. Climate change threatens food security, water security and our territorial integrity. Changes in weather patterns are leading to more frequent and intense weather events all around the world. For many of our countries that depend on the ecosystem for our economic development, such as the Maldives, this is alarming.
This is why, when formulating the post 2015 development agenda we need to ensure that the goal on sustainable energy (goal 7) is strongly supported through adequate means of implementation. There has to be better access to new and existing financing mechanisms to increase capital flows for the implementation of sustainable energy projects in SIDS. Governments, private sector and civil society need to work together to achieve universal access to energy. There need to be capacity building and knowledge sharing, for the development and implementation of national, regional and interregional energy policies. We need to promote renewable energy sources, such as wind, sustainable biomass, solar, hydroelectric, biofuel and geothermal energy. Sustainable energy for all is essential for strengthening economies, eliminating poverty, protecting ecosystems, and achieving a more equitable society.
We in the Maldives realize that if we invest in the right technology, not only would it save us much needed finance, but it will also increase our energy security. The Maldives currently has several solar power pilot projects ongoing and recently we have started to install L.E.D street lights. We are determined to do what we can to address climate change mitigation and become more resilient. There has to be a phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies and we need to give incentive to businesses to improve energy efficiency. Renewable energy is not an option but the only way to ensure green economy and sustainable development in SIDS.