SIDS High level forum in Bridgetown to focus on a Barbados Declaration as their framework of action leading up to Rio+20

Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart, QC and the United Nations Development Programme’s Resident Representative, Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, will open discussions in Barbados on the 7 May in a High Level Conference of the Small Island Developing States Achieving Sustainable Energy for All and Rio+20 Informal Ministerial Preparatory Meeting here with Ministers of Energy and Environment in Small Island Developing States from Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean, top UN officials and development experts, private sector, and civil society to discuss policies and actions needed to advance SIDS sustainable development through sustainable energy access.

Rio+20 will be an opportunity for SIDS to rally the international community with a unified voice, sharing their aspiration, needs, interests and concerns, including critical policy assessments. In Barbados, the Rio+20 Informal Ministerial Preparatory Meeting will focus on two themes of Rio+20, namely the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty reduction and a framework for achieving sustainable development.

With less than two months before the conference begins in Rio de Janeiro, the small island developing states will seek to arrive at the Barbados Declaration on sustainable energy for all. It will seek to highlight and gain support for the unique circumstances, vulnerabilities and needs of island states, articulating their support and commitments to ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix; and doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency the goals to be reached by 2030 as part of the UN Secretary initiative on Sustainable Energy for All. The high level conference is hosted and organised with the full support of the Government of Barbados.

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The high level conference will feature a rollout of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All 2012, the launch of Feasibility Studies on Renewable Energy for the Caribbean and its replicability for SIDS commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, and a Knowledge Fair. The agenda will include discussions and presentations on UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, and address the existing challenges, gaps and needs of SIDS in ensuring sustainable energy access; the link between sustainable energy and reducing poverty levels and achieving sustainable development; as well as a discussion on the Sustainable Energy for All Action Agenda.

The meeting will conclude with the adoption by consensus of a “Barbados Declaration” articulating agreed goals and priorities of the SIDS ahead of the Rio +20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012.

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