UN ready to help region secure clean energy
Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Energy for All Rachel Kyte has said her organisation is ready to partner with Caribbean governments and institutions to secure a clean, affordable and reliable energy future.
She was delivering the William G. Demas Memorial Lecture at the Caribbean Development Bank's (CDB) 46th annual Board of Governors Meeting at the Iberostar Resort in Lilliput, St James, on Tuesday.
Sustainable Energy for All is the brainchild of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Its main objectives are ensuring universal access to modern energy services and doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and the share of renewables in the global energy mix.
Kyte said that energy demand is not only the dominant contributor to climate change, but is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today.
She noted that there are 1.1 billion people around the world who still have little or no access to energy, and three billion who rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating.
"We the peoples of the UN want a planet and a future that's not ravaged by climate change. We the peoples deserve access to affordable, clean and reliable energy and we the peoples know that the time for action is now," she said.
Kyte noted that the impacts of climate change are being felt all around the world, particularly in the Caribbean. She added that rainfall patterns are changing, which have caused a number of islands to experience prolonged dry seasons and severely low reservoir levels.
"This severely impacts the ability of island nations to grow local crops," she pointed out, citing loss of an estimated 2,190 hectares of crops valued at millions of dollars in Jamaica due to drought.
Kyte pointed out that the CDB has an essential role to play in providing financing for sustainable energy projects.