The Permanent Mission of Iceland
to the United Nations
Statement by Ambassador Gunnar Pálsson
Director, Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
at the Fourteenth Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development
New York, 8 May 2006
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In the course of our session so far, we have become more aware of the close interlinkages that exist between the themes chosen for this particular cycle of the CSD´s work. Some of those interlinkages are widely acknowledged to be of particular significance to small island developing states (SIDS), for whom the impact of climate change, should it continue at the rate projected by many scientists, will be catastrophic.
Prompt action to reduce globally our dependence on fossil fuels and improve energy efficiency may, in the long term, mitigate such impacts. In the meantime, measures should also be taken to assist developing countries, including SIDS, adapting to the effects of climate change, among other things through economically and environmentally beneficial programs in the energy sector.
In this context, Iceland shares the emphasis placed on the urgent need for real action on renewable energy in the Mauritius Strategy for Sustainable Development of SIDS and is encouraged to see that steps are being taken in this direction. Here the issue is to both improve access for SIDS to affordable energy services and adapt emerging energy efficient technologies to the needs of SIDS and other developing countries.
Transitioning to a global low carbon economy will require substantial new investments in capacity building and renewable energy technologies (investments that tend to be front-loaded as the panelists have observed) and here Governments need to join forces with private enterprise and International Financial Institutions (IFI). In this connection, my Government welcomes the recent initiative of the World Bank, which, in a joint effort with other IFIs and Development Banks, has come up with a systematic approach to this colossal task, proposing, among other things, a track of activities to generate new knowledge on technology options and programs of action for selected countries.
Iceland stands ready to do its part in assisting the SIDS in this regard. At Mauritius, my Government pledged one million US dollars over a three year period to support projects and programs that are part of the Mauritius Strategy. This initiative as been bolstered since then, as more than one million US dollars has been granted to projects and programs for the SIDS.
Further projects are under consideration, among them in the field of renewable energy and adaptation to climate change, and we look forward to continuing to exchange views with the SIDS during the current CSD cycle and beyond.