Excellency Mr. Jone Usamate, Minister of Infrastructure and Meteorological Services of Fiji
Mr. Sanaka Samarasinha, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Fiji
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Very good afternoon and good morning, greetings from Bangkok!
I would like to welcome you to this launch of Fiji’s roadmap for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7.
Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Asia and the Pacific have been working steadfastly to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. At heart is the Goal on energy which is SDG7.
For more than two years now, COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected countries in this region, including Fiji.
Frequent tropical cyclones continue to disrupt countries in the Pacific and certainly in Fiji as well. Protecting the energy infrastructure and supplying the population with reliable and uninterrupted energy remains a challenge for the Government.
Transitioning to a sustainable, secure and least-cost energy system can form a key part of the sustainable recovery.
Progressing the transition to sustainable energy, guided by SDG7, offers a means to increase the resilience of the energy sector, such as by increasing decentralized renewable energy systems and reducing reliance on imported energy.
This reliance on imported fossil fuel increases the Pacific region’s vulnerability to supply disruption as well as fuel price spikes. Burning fossil fuels leads to more air pollution and is not compatible with the long-term climate goals agreed to by the Pacific countries.
Fiji is fortunate in its endowment of renewable energy resources – not only hydropower but also other renewable energy sources in abundance such as wind, solar and biomass. Thus, Fiji is very well-positioned to be a leader of a green transformation built on sustainable and modern energy for all.
With the sharp decline in the cost of renewable energy technologies, the economic feasibility of moving towards a system largely based on sustainable energy is becoming clearer than ever.
The energy transition is also in line with the small island developing States Accelerated Modality of Action (SAMOA) Pathway, emphasizing the urgent need to build renewable energy-based energy systems for the Pacific.
Minister Usamate, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
Fiji has demonstrated its leadership by developing one of the first SDG7 roadmaps in the Pacific. I would like to congratulate the Government of Fiji for achieving this very important milestone.
This roadmap presents a set of technological options and recommended policy measures that form a pathway for Fiji to achieve SDG7.
It suggests that an early ramp-up of renewable power generation will provide a larger financial benefit and pave the path towards a 100 per cent renewable power goal by 2036.
The roadmap has recommended a focus on energy efficiency measures in the marine transport sector – an important area for Fiji and other Pacific countries.
The roadmap presents a detailed economic analysis for the energy transition to help policymakers make informed decisions. It offers a number of measures to leverage the least-cost sustainable energy development and direct the investment savings to other critical sectors, which will help recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am very happy to know that the SDG7 roadmap has contributed to the development of the Fiji National Energy Policy. This represents an ideal outcome where the analysis in the SDG7 roadmap can directly support the development of national policies and strategies.
I am also very glad to hear that the SDG 7 roadmap has secured the approval of the national Cabinet. This is a sign of the strong political commitment of Fiji to achieving SDG 7.
Minister Usamate, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of Fiji, particularly to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Meteorological Services and the Ministry of Economy, for their continued leadership, cooperation and support in developing the SDG7 roadmap.
I am also thankful to our partner, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGI), for its excellent work facilitating this initiative.
This roadmap is not the endpoint of the collaboration with the Government of Fiji. Rather, we will seek future opportunities for collaboration to ensure that the recommendations are implemented in achieving the SDG7 and Nationally Determined Contribution targets by 2030.
I have requested our office in Suva to remain in close contact with the Government of Fiji to discuss opportunities for future collaboration.
I am confident that Fiji will continue to lead the way in building a secure, resilient and sustainable energy future for the Pacific region and beyond.
Taking this opportunity, I would like again to thank the Honourable Minister, Mr. Jone Usamate, for serving as the Chair of the third session of the Committee on Energy in February 2021.
We appreciate your support for regional cooperation on sustainable energy and count on your continued leadership.
Thank you very much.