Inaugural meeting of SIDS DOCK Island Women Open Network committee held in New York
The inaugural meeting of the SIDS DOCK Island Women Open Network (IWON) committee was held on Friday 22 September 2017 at the Commonwealth Joint Offices in New York, USA. The meeting was chaired by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the St Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations, Ms Rhonda King.
Were also present members of the SIDS DOCK Secretariat, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the Pacific Centres for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE), the Green Climate Fund, the Clinton Foundation, the law firm Rivkin Radler LLP, as well as representatives from Austria, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Spain.
In her opening address, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the St Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations, Ms Rhonda King, highlighted that SIDS DOCK is critical to the people of island nations in view of the increase of intensity of natural disaster occurrences and the extreme vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Speaking about the IWON network, Ms Rhonda King recalled that its main objective is to empower women and children and build their capacity at the community and grass root levels so that they can participate in the transformation of the SIDS energy transformation sector to achieve the SIDSDOCK goal of 25-50-25 by 2033.
For his part, the Secretary-General of SIDSDOCK, Mr Al Binger, underlined that quality of life is dictated by environmental consequences and energy systems. Women, he said, are more severely affected by climate change and natural disasters because of their social roles and because of discrimination and poverty. He added that women need to be engaged in energy efficiency projects and that they cannot be marginalised anymore.
Referring to the importation of fuel, Dr Binger stated that several billions of dollars are spent each year by SIDS on the importation of fuel with exacerbate environmental degradation. Hence the need, he stressed, to embrace green power which represents those renewable energy resources and technologies that provide the highest environmental benefit such as electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact small hydroelectric sources.
The Secretary-General also spoke in favour of the implementation of the Deep Ocean Water Application (DOWA) in SIDS. He said that it is important to use the oceans for productive means while adding that we need to ensure that the economy that we build is based on the ocean. The deep sea water project will help save on fossil fuel imports per year as well as reduce the use of harmful refrigerants that exacerbates global warming, he added.
The Deputy Director General and Managing Director of External relations and Field Representation from UNIDO, Mr Hiroshi Kuniyoshi, said that joint efforts must be accelerated so as to achieve Millenium Development Goals 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) and 7 (Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all).
He recalled that UNIDO provides technical assistance and contributes significantly to climate resilience while adding that the organisation will continue to support SIDS DOCK for sustaining the energy sector in the Caribbean, Pacific, and Indian Oceans as well as in Africa.
Activities to be implemented in 2017-2021
During the meeting, the Project Director of SIDS DOCK, Ms Christine Neves Duncan, made a presentation on several projects that will be implemented shortly. They include: Ocean Thermal Conversion Technology (OTEC); Blue Guardian Programme; and Herbal Project.
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) is a technology for generating renewable energy that uses the temperature differential between the deep cold and relatively warmer surface waters of the ocean to generate baseload electricity. For the SIDS, this technology can provide them with food, water and energy.
The Blue Guardians Programme targets ocean protection and uses geospatial technology and GIS information. In 2015, DigitalGlobe and the Blue Guardians partnership committed to providing the geospatial data, information and planning tools, technical assistance, and financial support as requested by SIDS through SIDS DOCK in order to develop national climate resilience strategies and an associated pipeline of investment projects related to increasing coastal resiliency to climate change, marine and fisheries conservation, and renewable energy.
The Herbal Project consists of the development of a global sustainable botanical/herbal supplier market form the SIDS DOCK Member States. The project comprises a regional capacity building programme focused on biodiversity protection and conservation and aims to increase the institutional strength and technical and entrepreneurship capabilities of non-government and government organisations operating in the energy, water, waste management, agriculture and tourism sectors engaged in project implementation activities that contribute to resilience building.
During the meeting, several presentations were made on the IWON Indicative Project Pipeline. They are:
- SIDS DOCK Public Education and Awareness Programme
- Pilot initiative for the development of a global sustainable botanical supplier market from SIDS DOCK member states
- Capacity building and institutional strengthening pilot project in renewable energy and energy efficiency at community colleges in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
- Green Climate Fund: Accessing the readiness and Project Preparation Fund to assist with start-up of the IWON Energy Financing Facility
- IWON Indicative Caribbean Pipeline
- IWON Indicative AIMS Pipeline
- IWON Indicative Pacific Pipeline
In the margins of the meeting, the Manager of PCREEE and SIDS DOCK Pacific Regional Coordinator, Mr Solomone Fifita, was presented the SIDS DOCK IWON Excellence in Leadership Award. The SIDS DOCK IWON Newsletter-IWONDER!-was also launched. The newsletter is a biannual publication updating members and stakeholders on IWON activities.
The IWON, a SIDS DOCK and Climate Resilience Women Network, is intended to help build the capacity of women at the community and grassroots levels in small islands and low lying developing states to participate in the transformation of the SIDS energy sector to achieve the SIDS DOCK goal of 25-50-25 by 2033.
The objective is to ensure that gender equality issues are integrated in the concept, design, implementation and evaluation of sustainable energy and climate change-related projects in the SIDS DOCK Indicative Project Pipeline, by establishing a SIDS association that provides networking opportunities that promote empowerment of women to help build community resilience to a changing climate and sea level rise through capacity building, education and awareness, demonstration of SIDS-Appropriate Technologies, and financing for sustainable energy projects.