United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Mr. Al Binger, Secretary-General of SIDS Dock




6-9 AUGUST 2018



Excellencies, distinguished guests and colleagues, good morning, and many thanks to the organizers for the invitation, it is a wonderful opportunity to be in San Pedro, with you.

In September 2014, when we left Samoa, there was hope that there would be real action on climate change and getting real action to keep the temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius, on average. Today, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue on the wrong gradient and with increasing emissions, year after year. In September 2017, Dominica experienced the destructive force of the changing climate; two hundred-plus percent of gross domestic product (200+% of GDP) disappeared in a few hours, representing twenty (20) years of development – now gone.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face the reality we have all feared - bigger hydro-meteorological events. One of the outcomes of Samoa, was the signing of the SIDS DOCK Statute by an unprecedented 22 Heads of State and Delegation, establishing SIDS DOCK, the SIDS Sustainable Energy and Climate Resilience organization, registered in 2015, as the SIDS Intergovernmental organization with all the rights and privileges of a United Nations organization and with all the rights and privileges for addressing climate change, resilience, and energy security in SIDS. SIDS DOCK serves 32 countries that are part of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) – 16 Countries have either ratified or acceded to the SIDS DOCK Treaty.

Established as a SIDS-SIDS partnership to assist member countries in transforming the energy sector and building resilience to climate change, SIDS DOCK achieves this through implementation of its Work Programme. The Work Programme of SIDS DOCK is established by its members at the annual Assembly of SIDS DOCK, convened on the margins of the UN General Assembly, each September. The organization is governed by an Executive Council, whose members are selected from the membership. The members also select Heads of State or Government to serve as President and two Vice Presidents of the Assembly, with regional representation. The current President of the third Assembly is His Excellency Mr. Danny Faure, President of the Republic of the Seychelles, whose term ends in December 2018.

The following is a brief overview of activities in our Work Programme, which is heavily dependent on private sector and institutional partnerships, and volunteers who provide pro bono assistance for implementing activities, with support from development partners. To date, we have received support for projects in member states from the Governments of Austria, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Sweden. Mobilization of financial resources continue to be the major challenge to the implementation of activities as Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) support to SIDS continue to decline, continuing the trend since the 1990s, despite the vast expansion in the global economy, the recognition of the special case for SIDS, and the increasing devastation due to the changing global climate. It is, “Business Worse Than Usual,” as SIDS remain the most indebted group of countries, with the most vulnerable economies, and many of them are becoming more and more dependent on remittances.

Highly anticipated mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the increasing use of Request For Proposals (RFPs) as the sole basis for selection of service providers is limiting technological innovation to help solve the long existing problems of SIDS, such as having a greater than 90 percent dependence on imports of energy and food, and the increasing pressure this is placing on the fragile environmental ecosystems, and where SIDS are now being asked to provide greater resilience to the impacts of a changing climate.

• Deployment of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC): OTEC has been identified as the key technology to build resilience to climate change impacts. OTEC technology generates a number of products from SIDS’ largest natural resource - the tropical ocean; products include food protein, energy, desalinated water, and the basis for new potential industries like maricultural and cosmetics to replace jobs that are expected to be lost in agriculture, fishing, and tourism, over the longer-term. In partnership with the Italians, the first project is being developed for Grenada – estimated cost US$17.5 million; implementation to start in mid-2019.
• SIDS DOCK Island Energy Open Network (IWON): The network focuses on gender equity in the energy transformation and climate resilience building by creating sustainable livelihoods for women and youths and building small and medium energy enterprises (SMEE). The Sustainable Livelihoods projects are estimated to cost US$ 40 million, to start in 2020. The CCCCC is supporting the development and submission of a US$ 50 million proposal to the GCF to support female energy entrepreneurs to plan and implement sustainable energy projects.
• Blue Guardians: Promotes the blue economy across the SIDS including addressing Waste-to-energy (WtE) projects for the countries to protect the coastal and marine ecosystem, secure fish protein for food security; and support sustainable tourism and public health. The First Caribbean Regional Waste-to-energy Conference and Expo was convened in partnership with the Government of Grenada, in St Georges, in January 2016. The Blue Guardians program is expected to cost US$ 80 million, over five years, beginning in 2020, in partnership with UNEP; a GCF proposal is being prepared. Waste-to-energy projects are under planning in Belize, St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, for implementation in 2019, with the private sector; combined estimated cost is US$ 52 million.
• Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Risk Platform (REERP): Aimed at bringing about a reduction in the cost of financing for energy projects, and thereby generating savings to the customers and economy. The Platform also is designed to provide technical assistance and support for feasibility studies. A proposal has been submitted via the CCCCC to the GCF for a PPF of US$ 1.5 million to support a grant application for US$ 500 million.
• Insurance mechanism for SIDS: Exploring ways to address climate-related losses and damages in member states resulting from increased impacts of climate change. A programme to design a Captive Insurance Facility (owned by the SIDS and partners) is for approval by the members at the fourth Assembly of SIDS DOCK, in September 2018. Establishment of the facility will require mobilization of $500 million in seed capital. Partnership with the AOSIS, UNFCCC Negotiating team, is critical. Work with the Private sector and AOSIS to begin in 2019.
• Sustainable Transportation: Focus on fuel substitution and Electric propulsion. An Electric Vehicle (EV) programme is being developed based on the use of Government procurement to disrupt normal market behaviour to effect faster introduction. The intent it to minimize dependence on internal combustion engines and the importation of gasoline and diesel fuel and to promote the use of cleaner and less costly options such as electric mobility and alternate fuels like gas. Minimizing the use of gasoline and diesel will improve air quality and positively impact public health. Implementation at the scale of 250 vehicles, per year, for a 5-year pilot is estimated at US$50 million.

Implementation of the Work Programme
Our programmes rely on committed and sustained partnerships – durable partnerships, in the spirit of Samoa. In partnership with the Government of Austria and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), two new regional renewable energy and energy efficiency centers have been established in the Caribbean (CCREEE) in Barbados, and the Pacific (PCREEE) in Tonga. A partnership exists with the ECOWAS ECREEE, Cabo Verde, for the SIDS in AIMS Region. The Centres are the critical mechanism for up-scaling national efforts, particularly in the areas of project execution, capacity development, and knowledge and data management, as well as investment and business promotion, within the sustainable energy sector.

Many thanks for your attention.