Caribbean Regional Waste-to-Energy (WtE) Technology Expo and Conference frames main pillars for a regional waste to energy programme

Tuesday, 09 Feb 2016

ST. GEORGE’S, GRENADA, 9 FEBRUARY 2016 – From the 20-23 January 2016, over 100 senior professionals with expertise in energy, climate change, environment and waste management gathered at the Grenada Trade Centre to share lessons learned and perspectives on Waste-to-Energy solutions that are appropriate for small island developing states (SIDS). The First Caribbean Regional Waste-to-Energy (WtE) Technology Expo and Conference was deemed a "tremendous success" by the delegates, as over four days, they worked collectively to frame the main pillars of a regional programme to upscale WtE investments, markets and industries.

During the meeting, SIDS DOCK and UNIDO presented the “Energy Services from Organic Waste: Integrated Waste Management Solutions for Coastal, Marine and Freshwater Protection in the Caribbean” project as concrete outcome of the conference. Delegates expressed the need to transform untapped waste potentials and fossil fuel import dependency into local value creation and jobs.

The Expo showcased technology solutions and case studies via presentations by technology providers from the Caribbean, Austria, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. The conference was officially opened by The Rt. Hon. Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, on 20 January 2016. In declaring the WtE Technology Expo open, the Prime Minister said that as Island Nations, deployment of the technologies on display must be the priority. The Prime Minister said that the region must address improved management of waste and quickly deploy the waste-to-energy (WtE) solutions that we already know can contribute to environmental protection and strengthening coastal resilience due to climate change impacts.

It was highlighted during the conference that the greatness of Authentic Caribbean Rum and its superb taste is world-renowned and no cocktail hour would survive without the wonderful, aromatic and decadent smell and taste. Combined, members of CARICOM produce in excess of a billion litres of award-winning authentic rums, however, what is not known is the fact that for each litre of this tantalizing beverage, whether gold, dark-dark, dark, light, white or spicy, 14 litres of effluent is discharged directly into the environment – rivers, low-lying lands and seas. Liquid effluent from distilleries, along with other liquid waste such as sewerage and chemicals from agricultural run-off are rapidly killing coral reefs, and degrading beaches and fisheries which are major sources of income for almost all small islands.

The conference also provided the opportunity to convene the First Meeting of the SIDS DOCK Island Women Open Network (IWON) – SIDS DOCK is the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Sustainable Energy and Climate Resilience organisation established in 2009 by 32 members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) from the Caribbean, Pacific, Africa and Indian Ocean regions. The meeting was chaired by H.E. Ms. I. Rhonda King, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations (UN) and Interim Chair of the SIDS DOCK IWON, and presided over by H.E. Dr. Vince Henderson, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the UN, in Dominica’s capacity as President of the SIDS DOCK Assembly, and Chair of the WtE Conference.

Over 25 professional Caribbean women committed to help build the capacity of women at the community and grassroots levels in Caribbean small islands and low lying developing states to allow them to participate in the transformation of the Caribbean energy sector. The IWON will provide networking opportunities that promote empowerment of women to help build community resilience to a changing climate and sea level rise through capacity building, education and awareness, demonstration of SIDS-Appropriate Technologies, and financing for sustainable energy projects.

The conference was jointly organized by the Government of Grenada, Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Finance and Energy; SIDS DOCK; the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Energy Programme; the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC); the newly-established Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE); and the German cooperation agency, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The event was supported by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the Swedish Energy Agency and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).