Caribbean Sustainable Energy Forum next week
'Energy, climate, and sustainable development' is among the subjects to be discussed at next week's highly anticipated Caribbean Sustainable Energy Forum (CSEF) in The Bahamas.
The forum will kick off at the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau on January 23 under the theme 'Future Energy, 2027'.
On January 24, there will be a ministerial panel on the topic 'Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development: How to Effectively Link the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS), and Sustainable Development Goals'
NDCs are individual country contributions to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that fuel global warming, heralding a host of negative climate change impacts to which the region is especially vulnerable.
They include sea level rise, coastal inundation and the associated loss of livelihoods, as well as more extreme weather events such as droughts and hurricanes.
The C-SERMS - approved in 2013 - provides the basis for a targeted approach to advancing sustainable energy development under the regional energy policy. It provides, among other things, a framework for securing commitments from CARICOM member states towards the realisation of the targets.
Other subjects to be discussed at CSEF include moving C-SERMS from concept to action and creating a culture of effective energy statistics and information management.
Dr Devon Gardner, programme manager for energy and head of the Energy Unit at the CARICOM Secretariat - and who is also to speak at the event - said the meeting's value cannot be questioned.
"It is really the only forum of a broad stakeholder group that represents and works in the interest of the Caricom exclusively. There have been a lot of energy meetings elsewhere and different energy fora and events, but the CSEF is the only one that focuses on CARICOM energy matters, engages a wide cross-section of CARICOM stakeholders, and is led and driven by the decisions and discussions of policymakers from within CARICOM," he noted.
"This is the most comprehensive stakeholders and brainstorming event as the CARICOM energy," he added.
Gardner identifies developments with electric cars in the region as evidence of the positive outcomes to be derived from the forum.
"When we had the last CSEF in Barbados, one of the things we agreed was the issue of transport and electric vehicles. Since that forum, there are now four member states that have completed electric vehicle assessments and business cases and are in the process of rolling out electric vehicles," he told The Gleaner.
"Prior to that, not one country had a policy to incentivise this ... . So the CSEF has provided quite a few orientations to member states that they have taken, in instances, on board. The uptake may not have been optimised in all cases, but there are these clear things that have emerged that these countries have taken to and have been utilising," he added.