MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica—Countries from across the Americas today wrapped up two days of intense discussions on topics as diverse as regional energy integration, energy poverty, and the role of natural gas at a time when renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are playing a bigger role in electric power generation in the region. Other topics on the table included electric mobility, energy efficiency, gender and energy, and bioenergy.
The Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) brought together energy ministers and other high-level officials from 29 countries, under the theme “Energy Resilience and Investment Opportunities.”
For the first time in the series of ECPA ministerial meetings, the agenda included a plenary session with representatives of the private sector, through the Americas Business Dialogue, an initiative that fosters the exchange of ideas between business and governments. Private sector participants talked about the need for a framework of clear policies and regulations to help drive investment and innovation in energy.
ECPA got its start more than a decade ago as a platform for cooperation on issues related to energy and resilience in the Americas. The ECPA Technical Coordination Unit is based at the Organization of American States (OAS).
In closing remarks on behalf of the OAS, Kim Osborne, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat for Sustainable Development, stressed that multilateral organizations like the OAS can enable all countries, large and small, to “rise together.”
“And equally important,” she added, “it allows new players to leapfrog and avoid the pitfalls of others.”
Pointing to the host country’s progress on renewable energy, Osborne said, “Jamaica’s journey is one that all Caribbean countries can join and learn from in the same way that Jamaica can learn from the experiences of other trailblazers in the hemispheric energy space, such as Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Canada, Mexico, and the United States.”
Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Fayval Williams, who chaired the two days of sessions, said that the ministerial meeting had offered the region “the opportunity to deepen integration, strengthen networks, scale up actions to achieve energy security, energy resilience, and to accelerate the pace for renewable energy action.”
Despite the progress made, the countries of the region need to keep striving to reach “the last mile” in achieving Sustainable Development Goal No. 7, which calls for access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, Williams said.
“We have a considerable way to go to reach the last mile in building out our energy infrastructure across the region,” she added. “We have a considerable way to go to reach the last mile in taking all of our people out of poverty by affording them access to clean and safe energy.”