Overview of the Outcomes of the Joint Japan-IRENA Workshop on "Accelerating Renewable Energy Deployment in the Pacific Island Countries: Meeting the Challenges"

May 27, 2012
Economic Security Division

  • (Photo)Overview of the Outcomes of the Joint Japan-IRENA Workshop on Accelerating Renewable Energy Deployment in the Pacific Island Countries: Meeting the Challenges

On the occasion of the Sixth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 6) held in Okinawa Prefecture on Friday, May 25, and Saturday, May 26, a workshop entitled "Accelerating Renewable Energy Deployment in the Pacific Island Countries: Meeting the Challenges" was jointly held by the Government of Japan and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST).

IRENA has designated the Pacific Island countries as one of its priority regions and the Government of Japan has also provided a variety of support to the Pacific Island countries related to the field of renewable energy. Moreover, Okinawa Prefecture, the host of the meeting, has also implemented the "Hawaii-Okinawa Partnership on Clean and Efficient Energy Development and Deployment" with the US State of Hawaii and has been proactively introducing renewable energy. In light of all of this, at the workshop, energy-related officials from Pacific Island countries (at the director-general level) were invited to discuss the acceleration of renewable energy deployment in Pacific Island countries from the perspectives of policies and technologies. At the same time, they introduced pioneering efforts in each island region by IRENA member countries, related organizations and the private sector.

1.Opening Addresses

At the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA, and Mr. Masahiko Saito, Deputy Director-General for Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, who acted as co-hosts for the workshop, gave opening addresses. These were followed by addresses from Mr. Marc E. Knapper, Director, Office of Japanese Affairs, US Department of State; and Mr. Toshiaki Taira, Director General, Department of Commerce, Industry and Labor of Okinawa Prefecture; who supported the workshop.

In his address, Director-General Amin expressed his gratitude for the support and cooperation of the Japanese Government toward the opening of the workshop. He noted that the location of this meeting is fitting as Japan has long supported the Pacific Island counties, and has been a key player in moving forward the global case for renewable energy. He offered his hopes for the success of the workshop and introduced IRENA's activities concerning Pacific Island countries and the future direction of its support.

2.Outline of Discussion

At the workshop, participants engaged in discussions on specific issues such as efforts within the policies of the Pacific Island countries and efforts in the field of technology, focusing especially on the securing of electric power system stability for the introduction of renewable energy in each country and the utilization of renewable energy in the transportation sector.The workshop will particularly focus on the following two areas that were pointed as the future challenges of the region at a meeting for the Oceania region held on the sidelines of the 2nd IRENA Assembly last January: one is ensuring grid stability, and the other is utilizing renewable energy in transportation. The workshop discussed the future efforts in these areas from the perspectives of both policy and technology.

During the discussion, the IRENA Secretariat, energy-related organizations from the Oceania region, and representatives from each of the Pacific Island countries reported on the renewable energy policy of each country, the current conditions and challenges therein, and successful examples achieved through the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund as well as Japan's governmental support for development. Following this, officials in charge of policy and representatives from research institutions and the private sector of Japan (especially Okinawa), Hawaii, Germany, and France and other IRENA member states- among them Mr. Masaki Suzuki, Director-General, Global Environment Bureau, Ministry of the Environment - explained about pioneering cases related to the above-mentioned challenges. Through approximately 20 reports, the participants, including those from the Pacific Island countries, shared a variety of knowledge and experience in addressing these challenges.

Based on the discussion, the participants exchanged opinions on the future possibilities for renewable energy in the Oceania region and the direction of international support, including that of IRENA.

3.Observation of the Workshop by the First Ladies of the Pacific Island Countries

As part of the program for the first ladies at PALM6, the first ladies who visited OIST also observed part of this workshop. In their address, Mrs. Hitomi Noda and Mrs. Akaiti Puna of the Cook Islands stated that the theme of the workshop was very significant given that renewable energy is a critical issue for the international community, including Japan and the Pacific Island countries. They expressed their sincere hopes for a fruitful workshop. There were also moments when the workshop participants from the Pacific Island countries and the first ladies mutually approached each other and exchanged greetings.

4.Closing Remarks

In his closing remarks, Mr. Joe Nakano, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, reported that the PALM6 leaders' declaration issued several hours earlier affirmed the importance of diversifying energy sources in Pacific Island countries, including renewable energy, and welcomed Japan's initiative in regard to the workshop. The Parliamentary Vice-Minister stated that in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the renewable energy challenges facing Pacific Island countries had also arisen as challenges for Japan. He remarked that Japan intends to contribute to the Pacific Island countries and the international society, by sharing cutting-edge models Japan is developing through its own efforts to meet its challenges. He also expressed his conviction that IRENA was its best partner in such endeavor.

At the commemorative reception held after the workshop, Mr. Haruhisa Takeuchi, Ambassador in charge of Okinawan Affairs, delivered opening remarks, and Mr. Billy Graham Talagi, Members Assisting Ministers, Premier's Department of Niue, made a toast. The participants deepened their relations while continuing to exchange opinions, following on from the workshop.

5.Feedback from the Participants

Participants from Pacific Island countries noted in their feedback that while until now the road to achieving any renewable energy targets had not been clear, they were able to learn a lot and obtain hints from the pioneering examples centered on the island region, and thus they intended to quickly make direct contact with and further learn from other countries. IRENA member governments, relevant organizations, and private companies noted that it was an extremely valuable and fulfilling opportunity where energy-related officials from the Pacific Island governments could gather together and conduct discussion on how to address the renewable energy situation and meet challenges of the Oceania region. They also stated that they would like to seize this opportunity to develop forums and a network for exchanging views among relevant stakeholders.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan hopes that the outcomes of the workshop will be harnessed in the series of activities carried out by IRENA, which positions the Oceania region as one of its areas of focus. The Ministry will continue to work together with IRENA and other stakeholders to promote renewable energy in the region.

[Participants from Pacific Island countries]
-- The Cook Islands:
Mr. Tangitamaiti Tereapii, Director,
Renewable Energy Division, Office of the Prime Minister
-- Federated States of Micronesia:
Mr. Hubert K. Yamada, Assistant Secretary,
Department of Resources and Development
-- Republic of the Fiji Islands:
Mr. Peceli Nakavulev, Director, Energy Department,
Ministry of Works, Transport and Public Utilities
-- Republic of Kiribati:
Mr. Tiaon Aukitino, Energy Project Engineer,
Ministry of Public Works and Utilities
-- Republic of the Marshall Islands:
Mr. Thomas Kijiner Jr.,
Secretary of Resources and Development,
Ministry of Resources and Development
-- Niue:
Mr. Billy Graham Talagi, Members Assisting Ministers,
Premier's Department
-- Republic of Palau:
Mr. Gustav Aitaro, Director,
Bureau of International Trade & Technical Assistance,
Ministry of State
-- Independent State of Papua New Guinea:
Mr. Idau Kopi, Assistant Director,
Policy and Planning Branch, Energy Division,
Department of Petroleum and Energy
-- Independent State of Samoa:
Mr. Tile Leia Tuimalealiifano, General Manager,
Electric Power Generation
-- Solomon Islands:
Mr. John Isidoro Korinihona, Director of Energy,
Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification
-- Kingdom of Tonga:
Honourable Akauola, Interim Director,
Tonga Energy Road Map Implementation Unit
-- Tuvalu:
Mr. Vitoli Faaoga Iosefa,
Assistant Secretory for Public Uitilitiesk,
Ministry of Transport, Communication and Public Utilities
(*The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of issue of the original version in Japanese.)

Back to Index