As the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly kicked into high gear this week, Antigua and Barbuda played a pivotal role in facilitating productive dialogue on the pressing issue of energy transition for small island states.
A release from the country’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations said the matter was the subject of an enthusiastic and insightful exchange of ideas during a side event at the United Nations headquarters on Monday.
The event was hosted jointly by the government of Antigua and Barbuda and the Scotia Group, which is a global network of prominent and influential thinkers in law, politics, academia, and business.
Another major partner involved was RAND Europe, a well-respected non-profit institution that seeks to help improve policy and decision making through research and analysis.
The discussions have brought RAND Europe and the Scotia Group a step closer to issuing a call to action that advocates a fundamental shift in the way climate finance is raised and deployed for small island developing states (SIDS).
As part of this undertaking, RAND Europe and the Scotia Group will reveal their findings in a document called “Roadmap for a Global Energy Transition”, which will introduce new financial and legal tools to encourage green investments in SIDS like Antigua and Barbuda.
News of this coincides with a major development that will take off in Antigua and Barbuda next year which will address the knowledge and data gaps that island nations experience.
“While we are not going to solve all issues here today, I am pleased to announce that Antigua and Barbuda initiated the establishment of a centre of excellence for SIDS so that we co-create solutions with our partners that are suitable for our case, that meet the special circumstances of SIDS,” Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations,Ambassador Walton Webson, said during the event.
“The centre will work across sectors in technology and innovation, advanced data science and financing and we look forward to working with you all – and Scotia and RAND in particular – in the implementation of the new programme of action including through the centre,” he affirmed.
The programme of action is the result of months of hard work in defining a 10-year agenda for SIDS and will be unveiled at the end of the fourth SIDS conference which will be held in Antigua and Barbuda in May 2024.
Regarding energy transition for SIDS, Ambassador Webson impressed on the meeting that “in our current terms, we cannot access sufficient resources at an affordable cost to complete the energy transition on time and adapt to climate change. But even if we do, we need the entire world to head into the same direction to reach net-zero by 2050”.
Also, in attendance and addressing the meeting were Prime Minister of St Maarten Silveria Jacobs; Executive Director of the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) Jorge Moreira da Silva; Director General, Africa and the Americas at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth’s Development Office Harriet Matthews; and the UN Senior Advisor to SIDS Simona Marinescu.
The event was moderated by Antigua and Barbuda’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Tumasie Blair.