Francesco La Camera

The Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Tuesday emphasised the need for strong partnerships to accelerate progress towards a resilient and sustainable energy future.

In his address at the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Ministerial in Abu Dhabi as part of the 14th Session of the IRENA Assembly, Francesco La Camera said, “The progress made by SIDS in renewable energy is commendable, but there’s an urgent need for increased implementation and innovation to meet our commitments.”

“As we gather here today, we are reminded of the pivotal role that SIDS play as global leaders in energy transition and climate action and the imperative for genuine and durable partnerships to accelerate progress towards our shared sustainable energy goals, ensuring that no one is left behind.

“The journey of SIDS towards decarbonisation and sustainability reflects resilience, determination, and steadfast commitment.

“This is evident in the remarkable growth of renewable energy installed capacity, reaching approximately 7.6 GW by the end of 2022 in all SIDS and 5.9 GW in the 40 SIDS that ratified the Paris Agreement. Despite this progress there is a pressing need for increased implementation, capacity, financing and innovative solutions to expedite SIDS commitments to the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals,” La Camera said at the Ministerial roundtable.

He said SIDS unequivocally have called on the international community to move beyond assessments to actionable implementation.

“Central to this is the need to improve access to appropriate financing mechanisms and investments to facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources coupled with energy efficiency measures into existing infrastructure. Additionally, SIDS require tailor made assistance in bolstering adaptation measures, ensuring their resilience against the multifaceted challenges posed by climate change,” he said.

La Camera highlighted the significance of the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative(LHI), and its role in fostering partnerships and providing tailored assistance for energy transition and climate action.

“This collaborative effort among SIDS and partners, will not only identify areas requiring support but also enable development partners to align their efforts more effectively.

“This Ministerial also presents an opportunity to identify “SIDS Champions” for the priority areas of the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative who can advocate and amplify the SIDS’ voices on the global stage and garner the necessary support that is needed to accelerate implementation of energy transition efforts in SIDS.

He stressed the importance of adapting strategies to SIDS’ priorities.

“We must be flexible and innovative in our response, focusing on resilience, energy security, and sustainable development.”

The outcomes of the Ministerial will guide SIDS’ energy transition and sustainable development for the next decade.

La Camera also announced IRENA’s support for the Fourth International Conference for SIDS next month and a side event focusing on transforming SIDS economies through energy transition and climate action.

“I am pleased to announce that IRENA will be supporting Antigua and Barbuda in the hosting of the SIDS 4 and will also be co-hosting a side event focusing on “Transforming SIDS Economies through Energy Transition and Climate Action towards Prosperity, Resilience and Sustainable Development” to agree on concrete actions facilitated by action-oriented partnerships that will guide the future course for SIDS”.

La Camera also urged intensified support for SIDS and expressed gratitude to the SIDS LHI partners for their dedication.

He reiterated IRENA’s commitment to working with SIDS to deliver transformative solutions for a sustainable future.

“IRENA stands ready to continue to work with you to deliver transformative solutions that will empower SIDS to move beyond the status quo and unlock unprecedented opportunities and a sustainable future for generations to come,” La Camera said.