Our Perspective

      • Latin America at a crossroads on climate and access to energy | Susan McDade

        22 Sep 2014

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        ABOUT 10 MILLION PEOPLE, MOSTLY RURAL POOR, HAVE GAINED ACCESS TO MODERN ENERGY SERVICES THROUGH UNDP-SUPPORTED PROJECTS OVER THE PAST DECADE. PHOTO: UNDP IN NICARAGUA

        World leaders gathered at the Climate Change Summit during the United Nations General Assembly on Sep. 23 will have a crucial opportunity to mobilise political will and advance solutions to climate change. They will also need to address its closely connected challenges of increasing access to sustainable energy as a key tool to secure and advance gains in the social, economic and environmental realms. This is more important than ever for Latin America and the Caribbean. Even though the region is responsible for a relatively low share of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 12 percent, according to UN figures, it will be one of the most severely affected by temperature spikes, according a World Bank Report. For the Caribbean region in particular, reliance on imported fuels challenges balance of payments stability and increases the vulnerability of key ecosystems that underpin important productive sectors, including tourism. And the region faces new challenges. Demand for electricity is expected to double by 2030, as per capita income rises and countries become increasingly industrialised—and urban. Although the region has a clean electricity matrix, with nearly 60 percent generated from hydroelectric resources, the share of fossil fuel-based generation has increased substantially in the past 10 years, mainly from natural gas. Now is theRead More

      • Latin America at a Climate Crossroads | Susan McDade

        17 Sep 2014

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        Turbines at WindWatt Nevis Limited. In most countries of the region, the abundance of renewable resources creates an opportunity to increase reliance on domestic energy sources rather than imported oil and gas. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

        World leaders gathered at the Climate Change Summit during the United Nations General Assembly on Sep. 23 will have a crucial opportunity to mobilize political will and advance solutions to climate change. They will also need to address its closely connected challenges of increasing access sustainable energy as a key tool to secure and advance gains in the social, economic and environmental realms. This is more important than ever for Latin America and the Caribbean. Even though the region is responsible for a relatively low share of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 12 percent, according to U.N. figures, it will be one of the most severely affected by temperature spikes, according a World Bank Report.   For the Caribbean region in particular, reliance on imported fuels challenges balance of payments stability and increases the vulnerability of key ecosystems that underpin important productive sectors, including tourism. And the region faces new challenges. Demand for electricity is expected to double by 2030, as per capita income rises and countries become increasingly industrialized—and urban. Although the region has a clean electricity matrix, with nearly 60 percent generated from hydroelectric resources, the share of fossil fuel-based generation has increased substantially in the past 10 years, mainly from natural gas.Read More

      • Boosting resilience in the Caribbean | Jessica Faieta

        29 Aug 2014

        Having lived and worked for more than a decade in four Caribbean countries I have witnessed firsthand how Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are extremely vulnerable to challenges ranging from debt and unemployment to climate change and sea level rise. Such aspects make their paths towards sustainable development probably more complex than non-SIDS countries. That was my experience, working closely with governments, civil society organizations and the people of Belize, Cuba, Guyana and Haiti – where I led the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) reconstruction efforts after the devastating January 2010 earthquake. That’s why the upcoming UN Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), taking place in Samoa, 1-4 September is so important. It will provide an opportunity to increase international cooperation and knowledge sharing between and within regions. And it takes place at a key moment, ahead of the Climate Change Summit at the UN General Assembly, to be held on 23 September. Climate change—and all natural hazards, in fact—hit Small Island Developing States hard, even though these countries haven’t historically contributed to the problem. Extreme exposure to disasters such as flooding, hurricanes, droughts, landslides and earthquakes place these countries at a particularly vulnerable position. In the Caribbean, two key sectors,Read More