SG's Remarks, Samoa PEC Fund Project Financing Agreement Signing

REMARKS by Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat


17 June 2011
Apia, Samoa

Hon. Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa
Honourable Ministers,
Distinguished Guests, and
Ladies and Gentlemen:

1. The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is honoured and very pleased to be here for this important event. I want to thank the Government of Samoa and the Electric Power Corporation for the arrangements for the signing of the Financing Agreement that will enable the implementation of Samoa’s 400kWp Solar PV Project to be financed from the Pacific Environment Community funds.

2. The occasion is of particular importance in that Samoa is the first Forum Island Country to access its indicative country allocation of US$4million under the Pacific Environment Community Fund that has been made available by the Government of Japan. In my capacity as the Chairman of the Pacific Environment Community Fund Joint Committee I congratulate the Government of Samoa for being the first and the quickest off the mark, and for the submission of its detailed project proposal which the Joint Committee approved on 1 April 2011.

3. In that connection, I want to acknowledge the presence of the Ambassador of Japan to Fiji, H.E. Mr Yutaka Yoshizawa, who serves together with me on the Joint Committee. I’m sure Ambassador Yoshizawa would not mind my saying that the two of us took part in the meeting which approved the first PEC Fund project proposal submitted by Samoa. And so, on behalf of us all gathered here, I would take this opportunity most warmly to thank the Government and people of Japan for the generosity of the PEC funds; and, in particular, for what this form of Japanese assistance means for countries like Samoa and for the Forum region in their collective efforts to reduce carbon emissions through increasing the use of renewable energy options and also to reduce heavy reliance on the use of fossil fuels.

4. By way of background, let me briefly say that the Pacific Environment Community Fund or the PEC Fund was a major outcome of the 5th meeting in 2009 in Kokkaido, Japan, of what is known as the PALM dialogue between Japan and Pacific Island Leaders. At the PALM 5 Summit, Leaders issued the Islanders’ Hokkaido Declaration which reaffirmed Leaders’ commitment to collaborate and cooperate on a wide range of issues. The Hokkaido Declaration launched the PEC Fund, under which the Government of Japan provided a ¥6.8billion contribution (or approximately US$66 million dollars) to help Forum Island Countries to tackle climate change issues with a focus on the provision of solar power generation systems and sea water desalination plants or a combination of both.

5. It was further agreed that the PEC Funds would be managed by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. Since the PALM 5 meeting in 2009, the governance arrangements have been established, including a Joint Committee (JC) comprising senior representatives of the Government of Japan and the Forum Secretariat, which makes the necessary decisions on the implementation of the PEC Fund. To support the Joint Committee, a PEC Fund Project Management Unit (PMU) has also been established at the Forum Secretariat tasked with administering and managing the PEC Fund. In addition to this, an independent Technical Advisory Group (TAG) comprising nominated experts in the fields of climate change, renewable energy, water and sanitation has been established to assist in the appraisal of project concept notes, detailed project proposals and to make recommendations to the Joint Committee for decision making.

6. The procedures for accessing the PEC funds have also been agreed; and Forum Island Countries have since been informed and invited, through a two -phase process, to submit proposals to access their indicative country allocation of US$4million each. Phase 1 involves member countries in the submission of a concept note, which is assessed by the Project Management Unit and Technical Advisory Group and, if approved, countries are invited to proceed to Phase 2 which involves the development of their detailed project proposals based on the approved concept note. Once submitted, the detailed project proposals are assessed and recommendations are then made to the Joint Committee which makes the final decision for funding. If a detailed project proposal is approved by the Joint Committee, the Forum Secretariat then enters into a Financing Agreement with the recipient country and the project begins implementation.

7. It is that point we have reached today: with Samoa having completed the two phases and the Financing Agreement now ready to be signed in order to begin the implementation of Samoa’s 400kWp solar PV project.

8. The 400kWp grid connected solar PV project to be implemented will provide significant benefits to the EPC and the people of Samoa. There will be important shifts and innovations in that I understand that the power generated by the solar panels will be passed directly into the national grid system. While this approach is not entirely new, it will provide an additional avenue for reducing EPC’s and Samoa’s reliance on fossil fuels for power generation. As stated in the project proposal, it is expected that the project will displace approximately 135,000 liters of fuel per annum, which now represents approximately SAT$350,000 or approximately US$150,000 per year in fuel cost savings. In the long term, the cost savings accumulated will represent significant savings that can be utilised in other priority areas. Most importantly, the detailed project proposal highlights the environmental benefits that will contribute to Samoa’s efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change through the use of renewable energy to displace the use of fossil fuels. It is even more encouraging to learn that the project will reduce Samoa’s Green House Gas emissions per annum and that this will be measured and reported on.

9. In their Call to Action in 2009 Forum Leaders declared climate change as the great challenge of our time, for it threatens not only our vulnerable livelihoods, economies and environment but the very viability of some Pacific communities. It is well acknowledged that the role of Pacific Island Countries in the causes of global climate change is miniscule, though the impact on them is great and the security and sustainability of Forum island countries at risk and in many cases highly compromised. Now is the time to act and I commend the Government of Samoa for all its efforts to mitigate against the impacts of climate change through the generous contribution from the Government of Japan.

10. For any project to be effective and sustainable over the long term, clear linkages need to be established between the proposed intervention and the relevant national, regional and international instruments. This provides a clear pathway to ensuring that a proposed project is addressing a national priority and in doing so, contributes towards an effective response to a major global challenge like climate change.

11. Samoa’s detailed project proposal does exactly this through linkages established to the Strategy for the Development of Samoa 2008 – 12 and the Samoa National Energy Policy. The project is also linked to international and regional policies and plans, including but not limited to the Millennium Development Goals; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Pacific Plan; Pacific Islands Framework for Action 2006 – 15 and the recently endorsed Framework for Action on Energy Security in the Pacific. As the linkages between your project and the relevant regional and international policies and plans has now been established, I encourage the implementers of Samoa’s 400kWp solar PV project, EPC, to continually report on the impacts and outcomes of this project through the various national, regional and international instruments.

12. With these words, I thank you all for your kind attention and wish the Government of Samoa every success in the implementation of the approved project.



zoom out zoom in print this page