EU Announces New Funding To Boost Growth And Access To Energy In The Pacific
European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, today announced new EU funding which amounts to €10 million to boost access to sustainable energy in the Pacific Islands. Speaking ahead of the Pacific Energy Summit, due to take place in Auckland, New Zealand, on 24 – 26 March, the Commissioner underlined that the funding would provide access to affordable and safe energy to the poorest living in some of the most remote areas of the Pacific, helping to significantly increase trade and growth opportunities in the region.
The new support adds up to a previous commitment from the Investment Facility for the Pacific (IFP), which aims at closing funding gaps for projects by blending grants with funds from financial institutions and the private sector. The initial allocation from the IFP is €10 million, announced last year, and more funding might be provided in the future (up to €10 million more). Therefore, the IFP will help to leverage crucial additional funding, focusing on investments in different infrastructure areas such as energy, climate change and water.
Speaking about the announcement, Commissioner Piebalgs said: “At the moment, the Pacific is held back by its remote location and lack of energy access. It is clear that there can be no development without sustainable and affordable energy. At the same time, there are considerable opportunities for the private sector in this area. That’s why our new investment facility is so crucial and is a key opportunity for donors, financial institutions and businesses alike to come together and reduce poverty by investing in sustainable and environmental projects. Let’s make the most out of this region’s huge potential and get the Pacific even further on the road to growth.”
The isolated location of the Pacific Islands and subsequent high costs of importing fuel leads to a real lack of access to affordable and sustainable energy. This considerably affects health, education and trade opportunities in the region. Around 46% of people in the Pacific are thought to be disadvantaged.
Later on (3 – 4 April), Commissioner Piebalgs will participate in a high level meeting bringing together EU and national authorities of the Pacific islands in Samoa, to discuss priorities of the EU-Pacific cooperation for the coming years.
The European Union currently provides €100 million for energy in the Pacific, which is expected to benefit 100,000 people.
The ACP EU Energy Facility was set up to provide affordable, accessible energy for the African, Caribbean and Pacific region. The EU has provided €140 million for the energy facility between 2008 and 2013 and over 15 million people are expected to benefit from the more than 150 projects financed.
Today’s new funding comes from the EU’s Energising Development Initiative, part of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which the Commission announced last spring at a high level event with UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon. The initiative included a pledge to provide 500 million people with access to sustainable energy.
Featured image by pacificenergysummit2013.com