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     Government of the Republic of Fiji

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service

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Media Release

PM attends IRENA Meet

PM_IRENA_meet

13th January, 2012, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: The Pacific Leaders Meeting, a high-level meeting on renewable energy organized by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), was held on 13 January 2012, immediately preceding the second session of the IRENA Assembly, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The event gathered Heads of State, Ministers, agency Directors, and other high-level members of government of 11 Pacific Island States to discuss the acceleration of renewable energy uptake in the Pacific.

Pacific Islands face numerous socioeconomic challenges, many of which stem from energy scarcity, energy price volatility and climate change, which in turn stems largely from fossil fuel emissions. It has been recognized that diversifying energy production in the region, especially towards more widespread domestic use of renewable energy, can play an important role in alleviating many of these challenges by reducing dependence on imported, dirty fossil fuels.

This meeting followed up on a meeting that took place in Sydney, Australia, on 26-28 October 2011, called Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment in Islands.This meeting gathered states, development partners, inter- governmental and regional organizations, as well as industry to identify specific needs and challenges in renewable energy technology deployment in the Pacific.

At the conclusion of the Pacific Leaders Meeting, participants adopted the Abu Dhabi Communiqué on Accelerating Renewable Energy Uptake for the Pacific Islands, which recognizes the vast, underutilized potential for renewable energy in the Pacific region, outlines necessary steps to realize this potential, and in this light, agrees to work jointly to establish an enabling environment for renewables in the region.

Speaking at the meeting PM Bainimarama discussed the costs of energy imports facing his country and the lack of existing financial institutions in Pacific Island countries, where the high cost of finance inflate final costs of energy deployment. He said for these reasons, developing a meaningful relationship with IRENA is imperative for Fiji. He then stressed the need for better up-to-date information on renewable energy technologies, and recommended that IRENA design strategies to consolidate data on petroleum and energy use, and develop strategies for action on energy security.

Below is the Communique issued after the meeting:

The Abu Dhabi Communiqué on Accelerating Renewable Energy Uptake for the Pacific Islands

The Abu Dhabi Communiqué on Accelerating Renewable Energy Uptake for the Pacific Islands recognizes the vast, underutilized potential for renewable energy in the Pacific region, outlines necessary steps to realize this potential, and
in this light, agrees to work jointly to establish an enabling environment for renewables in the region. It states that participant countries and territories will engage with IRENA to map the readiness of countries to adopt and attract renewable energy by ascertaining opportunities and identifying pathways to close gaps. The Communiqué further lists areas in which the participant countries and territories will support IRENA
in implementing activities in the Pacific region, including: a platform to provide easily accessible, up to date and accurate information on renewable energy technologies; involving utilities in assessing grid stability issues; fostering a sustainable renewable energy market; capacity building initiatives with the particular focus to strengthen public institutions; and assessing the renewable energy, land use, and water resources nexus.