Six Pacific Island nations have joined IUCN’s Energy Programme in Oceania to develop innovative projects aimed at enhancing livelihoods through the provision of sustainable and efficient energy services. Along with practical projects, the programme, Managing the Ecosystem & Livelihood Implications of Energy Policies in the Pacific Island States, will look at strengthening policy and regulatory measures to promote energy systems that are ecologically efficient and socially equitable.
Energy Programme Coordinator, Anare Matakiviti, is working with participating countries to help clarify priorities and needs and develop national action plans.
“An important aspect of IUCN’s involvement is the coordination role we play,” says Mr Matakiviti. “Countries are using the opportunity to carry out national planning processes to help coordinate their various energy-related donor-funded projects to address their long-term energy issues in a strategic manner.”
The project will not only aim to provide electricity where it is currently unavailable but also develop more energy efficient models to help address the dual issues of rising oil prices and climate change. In addition, country projects will place more emphasis on enhancing livelihoods and the reduction of poverty in communities.
“Becoming more energy efficient serves two purposes – we reduce our imports of increasingly expensive fossil fuels while reducing the amount of carbon dioxide gas being produced,” says Mr Matakiviti.
The rise in carbon dioxide production across the planet is known to be the key cause of rapid warming of the earth’s atmosphere and resultant climate change.
Projects currently being discussed range from development of model energy homes in Palau; energy efficiency in the land transport and electricity sector in Samoa; provision of solar lighting systems to two remote islands in Tonga; development of a photovoltaic-diesel hybrid electricity system in Tuvalu; and the use of various renewable energy resources (wind, solar, bio-fuel and water) in trial projects in Vanuatu.
The Energy Programme is supported by funding from the Governments of Italy and Austria.