At the opening of the Bonn Climate Change Conference on Monday 5th June, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) met to sign a seminal Memorandum of Understanding. This significant move deepens a partnership between developing countries on the frontlines of severe climate change impacts and a lead intergovernmental agency committed to spearheading renewable energy transformation, innovative cooperation, and support for energy transition.
While authorizing the MOU, AOSIS and IRENA reiterated their commitment to work toward the acceleration and strengthening of the adaptative capacity and energy transition of Small Island States in the face of the adverse effects of climate change and foster resilient development.
Activities aim to advance Adaptation and foster a climate-resilient, low GHG emission environment for energy transition in SIDS, to achieve Sustainable Development Goals such as SDG 7 – Energy and SDG 13 – Climate Change. Actions will drive further capacity and knowledge exchange. Promoting access to finance for SIDS is also priority, as well as alleviating barriers to renewable energy.
AOSIS Chair, Ambassador Fatumanava-o-Upolu III Dr Pa’olelei Luteru stated: “On behalf of AOSIS, I welcome the continued cooperation between AOSIS and IRENA. For Small Island Developing States, energy plays a huge role in the process of development, and we believe that technology can help solve some of the challenges we face. We need technology for development but also to bolster our response to climate change. This partnership will help us join our resources to accomplish outcomes that will create maximum benefit for vulnerable communities.”
IRENA’s Director-General, Francesco La Camera stated: “We are delighted to be here today to announce the signature of this Memorandum of Understanding between the Alliance of Small Island States and IRENA. it is our responsibility to secure a sustainable future for SIDS, by increasing the pace and scale of the energy transition, as we all know the challenges the SIDS have because of access to affordable energy.”
Following the signing of the MoU, the two parties discussed areas for technical support and cooperation, including the challenges facing SIDS, such as access to essential finance to implement necessary adaptation initiatives.
For the duration of the cooperation, the IRENA-AOSIS Memorandum of Understanding will provide annual progress on the energy transition of Small Island States to a 1.5°C world IRENA-AOSIS Energy Compact operationalized through the SIDS Lighthouse Initiative.
Since 1990, AOSIS has represented the interests of the 39 small island and low-lying coastal developing states in international climate change, sustainable development negotiations and processes. As a voice for the vulnerable, its mandate is more than amplifying marginalised voices as it also advocates for these countries’ interests. In terms of size, AOSIS closely resembles the countries it represents on the global stage, but often punches far above its weight, negotiating historic global commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions, among other achievements.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is a lead global intergovernmental agency for energy transformation that serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, supports countries in their energy transitions, and provides state of the art data and analyses on technology, innovation, policy, finance and investment. IRENA drives the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, and energy security, for economic and social resilience and prosperity and a climate-proof future.