Tuesday, October 1, 2013

President Mori Meets with Tongan Prime Minister, Signs Declaration on Energy Data Repository

New York, NY (Sept. 24, 2013) – President Manny Mori held a bilateral meeting at the Federated States of Micronesia Permanent Mission to the United Nations with Tongan Prime Minister Sialeʻataongo Tuʻivakanō, who is known widely as Lord Tuʻivakanō. The primary focus of the discussion was the Declaration on Establishing a Pacific Regional Data Repository for Sustainable Energy for All.  

In early September 2013, the Declaration, initiated by the Government of Tonga, was endorsed by Pacific Leaders at the recent Pacific Island Forum held in Majuro, Marshall Islands.  The document references an initiative called Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), which was launched in 2010 and is led by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. SE4ALL has three interlinked objectives to be achieved by 2030: providing universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

In the discussions between the President and the Prime Minister, points were made about obstacles to sustainable energy development in the Pacific and over dependence on fossil fuel generated energy.  The Prime Minister asserted that a repository for energy data would be a valuable resource for all islands as they work to reduce dependence on imported fuel and pursue sustainable energy policies. He also pointed out that the time is right to start sharing best practices and lessons learned, given the high number of energy-related pilot projects that have already been launched across the Pacific.

Under the Declaration, Pacific leaders and development partners agree to collaborate in designing, building and contributing to the data repository, the purposes of which will be the following:
·         to strengthen the capacity of Pacific islands states to shape the future of sustainable energy, in line with the United Nations SE4ALL initiative;
·         to provide a strategic platform for access to quality, up-to-date energy sector data, to share best practices, and to provide a safe back up copy of this information;
·         to help improve affordability of energy services;
·         to help increase efficiency of energy generation, distribution and utilization; and
·         to help increase investments in clean and renewable energy.
President Mori expressed his appreciation and commended the Prime Minister for Tonga’s efforts in spearheading the initiative. The President alluded to his own Government’s strong support of the initiative in Majuro, and at the current session of the 68th UNGA; In his statement at the general debate of the 68th UNGA President Mori made reference to the Pacific Regional Data Repository for SE4ALL .  Accordingly, he informed the Prime Minister that he was ready to sign the Declaration which he subsequent did on 25 September.
The Pacific Regional Data Repository for SE4ALL is envisioned to be implemented in time for the Third International Small Island Developing States Conference in Apia, Samoa in the second half of 2014.

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