The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has formed a partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to coordinate energy security strategies around the vast Pacific region through a unified approach.
SPC and IRENA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) earlier this month recognising the key role of each agency in promoting renewable energy in the pursuit of energy security in the Pacific.
‘The signing of this MoU is a milestone,’ said Solomone Fifita, Deputy Director (Energy) of SPC. ‘It has taken place in 2012, the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All and the two organisations are committed to the sustainable energy for all initiative with its goals of providing universal access to modern energy services, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix - all by 2030.’
IRENA, with a mandate to promote the sustainable use of renewable energy worldwide, has the lead in accelerating renewable energy uptake as a solution to national and regional energy strategies. In line with SPC’s ‘one team’ approach, IRENA aims to gather existing, but often scattered, activities around a central hub for knowledge, networking and technical advice.
SPC is the lead regional agency on energy in the Pacific, responsible for coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the Framework for Action on Energy Security in the Pacific (FAESP) signed in April 2011. Along with hosting the regional energy programme, SPC also works in other areas such as public health, geoscience, agriculture, forestry, water resources, disaster management, fisheries, education (community, TVET, quality and standards for all school levels), statistics, transport, ICT, media, human rights, gender, youth and culture, all with the aim of helping Pacific Island people achieve sustainable development.
The MoU records the mutual interest of IRENA and SPC to explore possibilities of collaboration to promote the accelerated deployment of sustainable renewable energy systems in the Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) in harmonisation with the 2011-2015 FAESP implementation plan. Such collaboration may involve activities including assessments, implementation of projects and training as well as possible activities of mutual interest to be decided upon.
The FAESP - endorsed in April 2011 by the Inaugural Regional Meeting of Ministers of Energy, ICT and Transport - provides the regional blueprint for the provision of technical assistance on energy security to PICTs. In so doing, the ministers endorsed the many partners one team approach towards addressing the energy security challenges of the region. The ministers recognised the role of numerous stakeholders to strengthen regional energy security, with separate plans integrated into a single, comprehensive plan. All partners see themselves as part of one team working in multiple areas towards a common vision.
IRENA’s 101 members worldwide include, from the Pacific region, Australia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Samoa and Tonga. IRENA’s 59 signatories and applicants for membership include Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.