Pacific region. It is a fundamental input to most economic and social activities and a prerequisite for development in other sectors such as education, health, and communications.
Implementation of the Forum Secretariat's Energy work programme component is through the development, coordination and implementation of energy and sustainable development policy in the region, and associated activities and services reflecting the priorities determined by Forum Energy Officials and Ministers, Forum Economic Ministers and Forum Leaders, including those determined under the Pacific Plan.
Pacific island countries and territories face a unique and challenging situation with respect to energy for sustainable development:
• Demographics vary widely between countries, but often feature small, isolated population centres;
• Markets are very thin, difficult to serve, and without significant economies of scale;
• 70% of the regional population is without access to electricity, but access varies widely, from 10% to 100% at the national level;
• Pacific island countries (PICs) comprise a wide range of ecosystems, predominantly influenced by marine systems, that make infrastructure development difficult and environmental impacts significant;
• Most PICs do not have indigenous petroleum resources and only a minority have hydropower potential;
• PICs have special concerns arising from their situation that have motivated the development of the Regional Energy Policy;
• Environmental vulnerability through climate change and sea level rise is very high, particularly for small islands and low-lying atolls;
• Environmental damage, habitat loss and pollution resulting from development and use of conventional energy sources have significant effects on fragile island ecosystems;
• Energy supply security is vulnerable given the limited storage for bulk petroleum fuels, which are sourced over a long supply chain at relatively high prices;
• The development of renewable energy resources has been limited by the availability of appropriate technology, poor institutional mechanisms, and the challenges of developing systems for small remote markets at reasonable cost;
• There is limited scope for market reforms considering the variation in size and density of markets, therefore appropriate alternatives very between countries;
• The region has limited human and institutional capacity to respond to these challenges; and
• While women and youth are significant energy users, they are poorly represented in energy policy, planning and development.
(source: Pacific Islands Energy Policy, 2004)
To respond to and address the obstacles and the challenges, a regional policy, the Pacific Islands Energy Policy and Plan (PIEPP) was developed in 2001 - 2002 to be used as a guideline for national energy policy development and initiatives. This was endorsed in July 2002 at the Regional Energy Meeting convened in Rarotonga, Cook Islands with the following vision:
Available, reliable, affordable and environmentally sound energy for the sustainable development of all Pacific Island communities.
In December 2004, the PIEPP became separate and distinct, but complimentary documents - the Pacific Islands Energy Policy (PIEP), and the Pacific Islands Energy Strategic Action Plan (PIESAP); the former to set the policy framework for the next decade, and the Plan recognised that it is to be working document to be reviewed at regular intervals by the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific Energy Working Group (CROP EWG). The PIEPP was endorsed by Senior Energy Officials at their Regional Energy Meeting held in December 2004 in Madang, Papua New Guinea. The PIESAP has also since been endorsed.
At the regional level, coordination of the PIESAP, is undertaken by the CROP EWG. The CROP EWG membership comprises CROP organisations and invited members, as follows:
• Greenpeace (Fiji)
• Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC)
• Pacific Power Association (PPA)