"Leading the Way: Renewable Energy and SIDS" – A High Level Side Event organised by New Zealand and IRENA

Statement by:

H.E. Dr Ali Naseer Mohamed, Foreign Secretary of the Maldives

21 September 2016

Firstly Honourable Co-Chair, I wish through you to extend our thanks and appreciation to the Government of New Zealand and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) for convening this High-Level Event on Renewable Energy and SIDS, we always highly appreciate the issues of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) being kept at the forefront.

Both New Zealand and IRENA have been true partners to SIDS, for which we are extremely grateful. In addition to working with us individually and through its Lighthouse initiative, IRENA has also been collaborating with our own renewable energy organization – SIDS DOCK, which is committed to facilitate SIDS transition to renewable energy.

It is well known and documented that SIDS are highly reliant on imported petroleum products to supply our energy needs due to remote location, with a yearly import of more than 200 million barrels of petroleum fuels. There is no doubt that we must transition towards a low carbon future for our island states.

We have vast endowments of renewable energy resources and low levels of efficient energy usage. There is therefore great economic opportunities in assisting SIDS in the conversion to low carbon economies, the significant synergy that exists between economic opportunity and sustainable development, and the vast global benefits of energy sector transformation. Our leaders are also very aware that the major threats to successful sustainable development stem from the negative impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, which my Country the Maldives is too familiar with.

In the context of Maldives, as other island states, we enjoy an abundance of sunshine throughout the year, solar energy is fast becoming our major source for our renewable energy transition. Challenges remain: financing, lack of appropriate infrastructure and lack of space. However, there are many innovative approaches being tested and tried out.

Many of these innovations are being tested and applied by the private sector, which gives us the hope that the level of renewable energy integration will substantially increase in our communities. In addition to technology advancement, policies and regulatory advancement is also being made in the energy sector in Maldives. In this regard, the government aims to cater 30% of the daytime peak demand of electricity consumption of all the inhabited islands by 2019 with renewables. Moreover, in one of our islands, we also recently crossed the threshold of 30% renewables to 50% with retrofitting existing power production. Similarly, feed-in-traffic and net-metering regulation have boosted individual ownership of PV products.

Transitioning to renewable energy is not an easy undertaking but a crucially important one for small island states such as Maldives, as it assists, in the long term, our governments' ability to channel its already limited funds and resources to more developmental aspects. In this regard, most of the Nationally Determined Contributions of SIDS, feature plans for transitioning to renewable energy sources, which in turn have conditional elements, that are highly dependent on adequate, predictable and sustainable financing and appropriate technology transfer mechanisms.

As we move forward with the implementation of the global sustainable development agenda and the climate agenda, we must also be mindeful of our Samoa Pathway and find synergies in all the processes. For it is our ultimate goal to create and maintain an environment that is benefical to our citizenry.

In closing Honourable Co-Chairs it is fora such as these that further highlights and brings awareness to SIDS energy priorities and provides us with opportunities to network and partner with a variety of entities, including the private sector.

I thank you.