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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Regional workshop powers up sustainable development issues in the Pacific

Delegates from around the Pacific convened this week to discuss and deliberate on issues relating to renewable energy, rainwater harvesting and waste management in the region.

The Sustainable Development Workshop, facilitated by Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), kicked off on Monday at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji.

Workshop participants include representatives from the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, and observers including the the Indian High Commission, Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Forum Secretariat.

The workshop is an initiative of the Government of India, organised in collaboration with TERI and the Forum Secretariat.

“The Government of India last year announced grant aid to Forum Island Countries (FICs) worth US$1.4 million, alongside various capacity building training schemes, including this workshop,” explains Jared Morris, the Forum Secretariat’s Import Management Adviser.

“It is also important to note that India has aligned its development assistance to the region with priorities identified by Leaders in the Pacific Plan, such as renewable energy, water and waste management.”

The commitment from the Government of India was made at the 18th Post Forum Dialogue Partners’ Meeting, held following the Forum Leaders’ Meeting in Nadi, Fiji, last October.

“While building capacity in the three focal areas of this workshop, this is also an excellent opportunity for participants to further strengthen inter-country networks and share experiences,” said Ms Patricia Sachs-Cornish, the Forum Secretariat’s Officer-in-Charge, Sustainable Development and Good Governance, when opening the workshop.

Ms Sachs-Cornish explained that at the regional level, renewable energy is supported by the Pacific Islands Energy Policy (PIEP), and water harvesting through the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) Plan and the Harvesting the Heavens Guidelines and Participatory Manual. Waste management is covered in the Regional Waste Management Strategy.

“The challenge is translating these policies and strategies into actions and initiatives that make an impact on individuals and communities in-country.”

Over the course of the workshop, representatives of TERI will share practical examples of related initiatives, technologies and projects that have been successful in India.

“This offers participants an opportunity to consider how to transfer or adapt experiences from India to best suit our region and countries, where appropriate,” added Ms Sachs-Cornish.

The workshop aims to give participants a thorough appreciation of related sustainable development issues faced by PICs, common experiences and practical Government interventions.

The workshop also seeks to foster understanding amongst participants of tools available for data analysis and consequent development of national policies and action plans. Participants will consider the processes by which further multi-lateral and bi-lateral support can be applied for, and obtained from the Government of India and TERI.

A ‘Plan of Support’ will be developed to progress identified national and regional solutions to renewable energy, rainwater harvesting and waste management in the region. The workshop concludes on Friday 30th March.

Source: PIFS

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