Statement by Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson
Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations
High Level Segment
of the Fifteenth Session of the United Nations Commission
on Sustainable Development
During the lifetime of my parents, Iceland went from being totally dependent on coal, oil and other fossil fuel for our energy supply. Today nearly all the stationary energy and over 70% of total energy production in Iceland comes from renewable sources. And in my lifetime Iceland has developed from being at the receiving end of a transfer of industrial technological know-how to be at the forefront of transferring knowledge in the field of sustainable energy to developing countries.
And the key to this is of course Partnership.
Regional partnership in creating peace and security in our part of the world, political partnerships in creating a Nordic welfare society and trade partnership, both with North-American and European countries.
Within our specific fields of expertise, mainly fisheries and energy, we have later not only managed to successfully establish fully sustainable use of our resources for our economic benefit, but we have also increasingly taken part in various development and capacity building projects in partnership with stakeholders in developing countries.
For decades Iceland has been fortunate to be in the forefront of developing technology for harnessing climate-friendly, renewable energy sources, like geothermal power. Through the United Nations University Geothermal Training Program, Iceland has provided training and education in harnessing geothermal energy, to hundreds of experts from developing countries all over the world.
Icelandic authorities have been approached simultaneously by authorities in numerous Caribbean islands, as well as investors and developers in the Icelandic energy sector, with the interest of exploring the possibility of utilizing the geothermal power in the region.
Building on this interest the government of Iceland has decided to support public-private partnership with stakeholders in the Caribbean, to develop a pilot project in the geothermal energy sector.
The aim is to support the first vital steps in a process leading to a successful utilization of geothermal energy. Our government hopes to be able to bring together the relevant partners - local authorities, geothermal developers, investors and international financial institutions – to build up and encourage further investment in the geothermal sector in the Caribbean.
There are fundamental things that we can agree upon when it comes to forming policy options in the field of energy access for sustainable development. Firstly we agree that climate change is a present threat, intensified by human activities. We can therefore agree that we have to drastically limit our use of greenhouse-gas-emitting fuels. Secondly we can certainly agree that there is no one solution that fits all problems – but rather that we will have to strive for a diverse combination of methods and technologies, as well as encouraging consumer behavioral changes. And lastly we can most certainly agree that further use of renewable energy resources is a pivotal instrument in that toolbox of options.
Thank you Mr. Chairman