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'Race against time'

February 2020 ministerial meeting in Montego Bay to push for cleaner, more affordable energy for region

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, November 14, 2019

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MINISTER of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams has warned that Jamaica and many other states in the region are in a race against time to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal Number Seven for affordable and clean energy.

Williams issued the warning yesterday as she delivered the main address at the launch of the fourth Energy and Climate Partnership (ECPA) Ministerial Meeting, which is scheduled for Montego Bay, St James, on February 27 and 28 under the theme 'Energy Resilience and Investment Opportunities'.

More than 30 energy ministers from across the Americas are set to journey to Montego Bay for the meeting and Williams urged the states, which are members of ECPA, to see it as a call “to deepen the collaborations, strengthen the networks, leverage our resources, scale up actions and sharpen our focus on creating a better tomorrow for this, and future generations”.

The energy minister, who will chair the meeting, noted that planning is well advanced for the event, where robust discussion is expected on several items, including national energy plans, governance and resilience, and strategies to increase private sector engagement in energy infrastructure development.

According to Williams, several themed events will be held on the margins of the meeting with dialogue around renewable energy, electric mobility and behavioural changes affecting energy efficiency being among those on the agenda.

“Our governments have a compact with our peoples for no poverty and zero hunger. If we achieve the goal of affordable and clean energy we would have taken a giant leap forward to keep faith with that compact,” declared Williams.

In the meantime, resident representative of the Organisation of American States (OAS) in Jamaica Jeanelle van Glaanenweygel noted that there will be space for private sector participation at the ministerial meeting with the Americas Business Dialogue arranging a high-level forum to explore public-private collaboration on energy in the Americas.

“We are confident that the ministerial meeting in 2020 in Montego Bay will contribute to Jamaica's and the Americas' goal of achieving a cleaner energy future for ourselves and for our prosperity,” said van Glaanenweygel.

The ECAP was born out of the 2009 Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, where leaders of the Western Hemisphere reaffirmed their commitment to work together towards a clean energy future.

Its initial focus and structure was developed at the June 2009 Americas Energy and Climate Symposium in Lima, Peru, which was co-hosted by the Peruvian and US governments and the Institute of the Americas.

Since its inception, the ECPA has focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner and more efficient use of fossil fuels, energy poverty, and infrastructure.

In April 2010, as part of the ECPA, the US invited Western Hemisphere energy ministers to the Energy and Climate Ministerial of the Americas to highlight progress, announce new partnerships and facilitate the development of initiatives among governments, institutions, private industry, and civil society.

At this ministerial meeting, the US Government proposed that the ECPA's focus be expanded to also include initiatives regarding sustainable forests and land use, as well as climate change.

Jamaica announced its intention to host the fourth ministerial meeting at the end of the third meeting in Chile.


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