Last month, the people of the Republic of Marshall Islands celebrated the handover of a solar powered desalination system and seventy-eight solar streetlights supported under the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund. In attendance to witness this occasion were senior representatives of the Government of Marshall Islands, the Majuro Atoll Local Government, representatives of the diplomatic corps, and the residents of Laura, Majuro.
“This ceremony is significant for it is a result of the efforts of national and regional collaboration in delivering on the Government of the Republic of Marshall Islands’ aspiration to not just provide energy to our people, but to also improve our services by providing clean and reliable energy throughout the country,” said Ms. Rebecca Lorrenij, Secretary, Ministry of Resources and Development at the opening ceremony.
“I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Japan and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat for their assistance” added Ms Lorrenij “What we are witnessing could not have happened without their help and support.”
The solar powered desalination system will improve access to safe and reliable drinking water to about 3,000 school children and residents in the 15 outer rural island communities of Marshall Islands. The installation of solar street lights in Laura, Majuro will reduce energy consumption by saving close to 17,000 litres of diesel per annum and security in urban areas.
“In the context of climate change, improvement in energy and water management is important for the Marshall Islands, as it has a history of natural disasters, including prolonged droughts,” said Mr. Hiroshi Watanabe, Charge d’Affaires at the Japan Embassy in Republic of the Marshall Islands.
“Across the Pacific region, the benefits of the PEC Fund are quite significant. Around three hundred thousand people throughout the Pacific have benefitted directly from this support” explained Mrs Andie Fong Toy, Deputy Secretary General of Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).
About PEC Fund:
The PEC Fund is a commitment by the Government of Japan to provide ¥6.8billion (approximately US$66 million) to Forum Island Countries to tackle environmental issues. Each Forum Island Country is provided with an indicative allocation of USD$4million to support projects that deliver solar power generation systems and seawater desalination plants, or a combination of both. The fund is coordinated and managed by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
The Governments of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga and Vanuatu have successfully accessed the PEC Fund for national renewable energy and seawater desalination projects.
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