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Monday, 17 March 2014

Austria and UNIDO support regional sustainable energy promotion centres for Small Island Developing States

VIENNA, 17 March 2014 – Austria and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will support regional sustainable energy promotion centres for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
 
A memorandum of understanding on this was signed in Vienna today by Ambassador Michael Linhart, Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Vince Henderson, Chairman of the Small Island Developing States Sustainable Energy Initiative (SIDS DOCK) Steering Committee, and LI Yong, the Director General of UNIDO.
 
“This memorandum illustrates our recognition of the urgent need to address energy security, energy access for productive uses, and climate change mitigation and adaptation in Small Island Developing States. The centres will boost inclusive and sustainable industrial development and empower the local private sector by creating new jobs and investment opportunities in the energy sector,” said Director General Li.
 
“The Austrian support to the centres can be seen as an important contribution to the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy For All Initiative and the 2014 International Year of Small Island Developing States,” said Secretary-General Linhart.
 
Participants at the signing ceremony referred to the outcome document, “The future we want”, of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012, which recognized the importance of coordinated, balanced and integrated actions to address the development challenges faced by Small Island Developing States.
 
Under the agreement, all partners will work together to establish regional sustainable energy centres in the Caribbean, Pacific and the Indian Ocean, as well as a coordination unit for African SIDS at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE). The centers will be established in close coordination with regional organizations such as the Secretariat of the South Pacific (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
 
The centres will work towards the creation of an enabling environment for regional renewable energy and energy efficiency markets by mitigating existing barriers. They will focus on policy implementation, capacity building, knowledge management and awareness raising, as well as business and investment promotion. They will strengthen the resilience to the effects of climate change and facilitate south-south and north-south partnerships on knowledge and technology transfer.
 
In August 2013, UNIDO and the Government of Austria received an official request from the Small Island Developing States Sustainable Energy Initiative (SIDS DOCK) of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) for to support of the establishment and first operational phase of the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE), the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE), the Indian Ocean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (IOCREEE), and the coordination unit for the African islands at the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE).
 
The new centres will take part in the UNIDO Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres and cooperate closely with the centres of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East Africa Community (EAC).

In the previous years, Austria supported the Network through UNIDO with contributions of more than EUR 5 million. The new centres will be announced at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States which will be held from 1 to 4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa.
 
For more information, please contact: 

Martin Lugmayr
UNIDO Industrial Development Officer
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