Moving beyond the status quo: Actions towards accelerating SIDS Energy Transition to Strengthen Climate Resilience

The urgency of a just energy transition is glaringly evident within Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Despite facing significant challenges such as high dependence on fossil fuels, soaring energy costs, and increased vulnerability to natural disasters, SIDS have shown unwavering commitment by setting ambitious targets in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Their efforts have led to a remarkable 69% increase in unconditional targets for the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As of December 2022, SIDS collectively achieved a total renewable energy installed capacity of 7.7 GW, inching closer to the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative’s goal of 10 GW by 2030.

The progress in SIDS’ energy transition aligns with the objectives of the IRENA and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) Energy Compact, as well as the goals of the SAMOA Pathway. However, to minimize projected losses and damages, rapid and sustained mitigation, adaptation, and accelerated efforts are essential. According to IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook, achieving the necessary course correction in the energy transition requires bold, transformative measures, including the rapid scale-up of renewable energy and efficiency solutions.

Crucially, the achievement of SIDS’ conditional targets relies on external support, encompassing financing, technical assistance, technology transfer, capacity building, and tailored support. The call for scaled-up adaptation and mitigation financing and a firm mechanism for Loss and Damage was reiterated by SIDS during the 13th Session of IRENA Assembly.

Building on historic decisions at COP27 and the Sharm el-Sheikh Mitigation Ambition and Implementation Work Programme (MWP) for 2023, the first Global Stocktake at COP28 presents an opportunity to scale up SIDS’ existing energy transition and climate goals.

In this context, IRENA, through the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative, hosted a high-level event on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The event aims to showcase SIDS’ NDC implementation achievements, identify and prioritize energy transition actions and gaps across mitigation, adaptation, and resilience, and contribute to preparations for COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates 2023.

This event seeks to catalyze the development of concrete action plans, commitments, and partnerships to close the financing, technology, capacity, and knowledge gaps essential for SIDS to accelerate their progress towards achieving climate targets and transitioning to sustainable and resilient energy systems. It provides a platform for high-level representatives from governments, regional and international development partners, and other stakeholders to share insights on innovative financing, technological solutions, and partnerships that have proven effective and can be replicated in advancing climate action and energy transition projects within SIDS. Join us in driving meaningful change towards a sustainable and resilient future for Small Island Developing States.