Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 10, 2016 (SKNIS): The development of geothermal energy in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and its prospects for economic and sustainable contributions is being reviewed at the Regional Geothermal Forum from May 10 – 12 at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.
The forum, which is organized by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and the OECS Commission in collaboration with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, has as its theme: “Opportunities and Synergies for Collaboration”.
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who gave the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the forum, made known his Government’s stance in being a part of this renewable energy initiative as he reflected briefly on the theme.
“The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is happy to partner with you to discuss opportunities and synergies for regional collaboration as we strive to achieve the targets of the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS),” said Dr. Harris. While hinting to the choice of St. Kitts and Nevis as the event venue, the organizers said that “the commitment of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to geothermal development is exemplary and continues to be manifested through an active programme on both islands.”
Dr. Harris made mention of the Fourth Meeting of the Caribbean Development Roundtable held in St. Kitts on April 21, 2016. He noted that the Roundtable discussion formed part of the Twenty-Sixth Session of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC) that explored possible debt relief options for heavily indebted countries in the sub region.
“This is in light of the fact that the Caribbean countries are among the most highly indebted in the world due in large part to unanticipated external shocks, structural factors and extreme weather events,” he said. “A 2002 report by the IDB, for instance, said that between 1970 and 1999, a thirty year period, the Caribbean region suffered direct and indirect losses estimated at between US$700 million and US$3.3 billion due to natural disasters associated with extreme weather events.”
Geothermal production offers a clean energy alternative which will reduce the harmful impact of fossil fuel energy on the environment.
Prime Minister Harris noted that CARICOM member countries signed the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change at the United Nations on Earth Day April 22, 2016. Five CARICOM countries, including St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, and St. Lucia, received high accolades from the UN Secretary-General for being among the 15 Parties that deposited their instruments of ratification on the first day of the signing period.
“With the signing of the Paris Agreement, our Governments have committed to implement our national climate change action plans and to integrate them into our overall sustainable developmental goals,” said the prime minister. “We have also been working on a Roadmap for increasing ambition over time to achieve the overall aim of limiting global temperature rise to well below the 2 degrees Celsius.”
Prime Minister Harris congratulated the organizers of the Regional Geothermal Forum. He also recognized the sponsors of the forum, namely the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Present at today’s opening ceremony were Members of the Federal Cabinet, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, OECS Ministers of Energy, CARICOM and OECS officials, Government officials, specially invited guest and members of the media. The opening ceremony was chaired by Raymond O’Keiffe, OECS Communications Officer.