Report – By Kathleen Leewai in Rio de Janeiro
Tokelau is committed to addressing fossil fuel alternatives in their effort to battle the impacts of climate change.
This was stated by the Ulu, or head of Tokelau, at the Pacific side event held at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20.
Following a strong message put forth in Durban, South Africa, at the UNFCCC COP17 – a pledge that the 1500 residents on the island nation of Tokelau would be 100 percent renewable energy efficient by September 2013 – the Ulu o Tokelau, Faipule Kerisiano Kalolo, outlined the progress the nation has made towards its goal.
“All people in Tokelau now have access to the power supply.”
Energy is one of the five key priority areas identified under the Tokelau National Strategic Plan for Infrastructure and Development, and they have been closely supported by the New Zealand government in creating their national energy strategy which was drawn up with technical support input from UNDP.
“Core to Tokelau’s energy strategy is the implementation of a renewable electricity system that is ecologically sustainable and lessens Tokelau’s dependence on imported and costly fossil fuels,” he said.
Speaking to Sefanaia Nawadra, director of the Environmental Monitoring and Governance Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), after the successful side event, he said: “Although Tokelau is not a full United Nations member, [it is] full members of SPREP and other regional organisations and we want to provide a platform for them to be profiled at these global events.”
The Ulu o Tokelau presented among a panel of five Pacific leaders at the Pacific side event, including the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Samoa, the President of Kiribati, the President of the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Prime Minister of Vanuatu.
Kathleen Leewai is a journalist with the SPREP team covering the Rio+20 global environmental conference.