Achieving Sustainable Energy for All by 2030

High-level Policy Dialogue

Statement by H.E Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister of Environment and Energy

April 21, 2016 | 11:30 – 12:00 | Conference Room 4 


Part I: Aligning the objectives: From Paris to the 2030 Agenda

Part II: Scaling Up Sustainable Energy to achieve SDG7

From the onset I wish to thank Sustainable Energy for All and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) for hosting this high-level policy dialogue on an issues of very high importance to SIDS. For as you are aware, SIDS are highly reliant on imported petroleum products to supply our energy needs due to remote location and many other reasons. The high cost burden of these fossil fuels, due to the current oil price fluctuations and high transportation costs, contributes to SIDS' vulnerability and runs counter to SIDS desire to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to seriously draining our already limited national financial resources. However, through partnerships with IRENA and others we are hard at work shifting our economies to a more green and sustainable energy, which inevitably help us to disburse needed finances to other areas of priority such as building resilience, adaptation and improving infrastructure.

We took note with great interest of the dynamics as laid out by Mr. Oppenheim as to the creative ways in which the Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development hopes to engage and facilitate in enabling us to make the most appropriate economic transitions to achieve the very ambitious mandates set out in the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda, respectively.

Maldives, like most other SIDS, aims to move towards low carbon development. Our INDC is to reduce our emission by 10% from Business as Usual. We believe that with assistance we will be able to do much more, reaching 24%.

In the Maldives, we have begun to do our part by crafting our national policies to favour and benefit renewables greately. New regulations have been effected in the town areas allowing individuals to use net metering. Building codes have also been updated with energy efficiency embedded in them, in an effort to greatly reduce energy demand of the buildings.

Additionally, Maldives has made several targets in our energy sector throughout our islands, including making 30% of day peak demand on electricity met by renewable sources of energy. I am happy to share this good news as we have successfully done this and have installed renewable energy in many of our islands. We are on track on this.

Our continued struggles is getting private sector onboard in addressing Climate Change and mainstreaming renewable. Our main success story comes from a 100% solar powered luxury resort island. This island shows a perfect example of how private sector can adopt low carbon development. We need more of these types of investments, and we believe that where IRENA and others can provide some guidance and assistance.

SIDS noting the current financing dynamics, which because of limited national human, technical and financial capacities, have opted to establish SIDS DOCK and SIDS Light House Initiative as SIDS lead organizations that can address the pressing needs to transition to a green, low-carbon, high-energy efficient economy in small island states. It acts as an interface for SIDS in sourcing and soliciting financing for projects, and technology transfer, while providing technical assistance and capacity building to member states. I take this opportunity to thank IRENA for partnering with SIDS DOCK and SIDS Light House Initiative.

For SIDS to successfully make this transition and place themselves on the path to sustainable development will require collective action of an unprecedented manner, as individual actions by countries has little chances of success based on the nature of the challenges.   For SIDS, adapting to climate change and developing a low carbon economy will require significant additional resources and investments, given the low level of investments in SIDS, compared to other group of countries and the increased risk posed to SIDS by climate change.  The technologies that would provide a foundation for a low carbon and energy efficient economy in SIDS are at a disadvantage due to relatively high initial costs which have served to slow the rate of commercialization. Disadvantages of the technologies that fulfill the characteristics of facilitating the transition to a sustainable energy sector on the supply side include:

· Investors do not have enough historical performance information to assess the level of risk – this is an obstacle to private sector financing as a major source of funding.

· In the case of ocean thermal energy, the resource is located primarily in the tropical oceans so there is limited incentive for development for the application in large energy markets.

· Limited national and regional technical capacity in the majority of SIDS.

· Insufficient coordination among SIDS in jointly advocating technological preferences for a blue-green economy. We are hopeful that our SIDS Platforms will be provide assistance in this area

· The economic situation of the SIDS – many are highly indebted.