The meeting will take place March 14-15, 2024, in Punta Cana, on the eastern tip of the island nation, and will focus on the theme “Renewable Energy in the Americas: Integration and Innovation.”
At the first preparatory meeting for the ministerial, held virtually on August 30, the Dominican Minister of Energy and Mines, Antonio Almonte, said that cooperation across borders is “imperative” if efforts to develop cleaner, more efficient energy systems and promote a just transition are to be successful.
“Nobody can wage that battle in isolation,” he said. He stressed that the ECPA platform encourages multilateral coordination and consensus and raises awareness about the importance of reaching climate and energy goals.
Not every country has the same priorities or faces the same circumstances, Almonte said in a recorded message. Even as they work together toward decarbonization, he said, countries may take different pathways to get there and have different means at their disposal.
“We need to continue to respond in a coordinated way to the climate and energy challenges without downplaying the levels of development, conditions of critical infrastructure, availability of natural resources, or difficulties in accessing those resources,” he said.
The ECPA initiative, which is implemented through the Department of Sustainable Development of the Organization of American States (OAS), promotes sustainable energy development and a future of net-zero emissions in the region. Its action plan centers on six basic pillars: cleaner energy sources, universal access to energy, energy efficiency, regional integration, energy resilience, and innovation. A Steering Committee made up of 10 countries guides ECPA’s activities.
Representatives of the Steering Committee and of several other OAS member states participated in the preparatory meeting. They discussed the agenda for the upcoming ministerial and shared some of their governments’ priorities related to the energy transition.
The ministerial meeting will include the participation not only of government ministers and other high-level officials but of the private sector as well, in recognition that governments often lack the technical or financial capacity to tackle energy and climate challenges alone.
The Americas Business Dialogue (ABD) will coordinate the private sector’s involvement through its Energy and Natural Resources Working Group, chaired by the AES Corporation. The private sector has also participated in the last three ECPA ministerial meetings, in Chile (2017), Jamaica (2020), and Panama (2022).
During the preparatory meeting, Gaelle Burkhart, Global Director for Stakeholder Relations at AES, talked about some of the activities the private sector is proposing for Punta Cana. She emphasized that the Energy and Natural Resources Working Group is fully aligned with the ECPA pillars and committed to supporting countries as they navigate the energy transition.
The group includes a diverse array of companies and organizations, she said, including renewable energy power developers, natural gas suppliers, technology innovators, business associations, and companies that are not in the energy business themselves but are committed to renewables.
“We may not always have the same focus, but we all share the goal to support a cleaner, more secure, more sustainable, and resilient energy sector for the people in our region,” she said.