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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

New EU support: renewable energy and climate change in the Pacific

European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, and New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, will undertake a joint mission to the Pacific on 23-27 April to further strengthen development cooperation in that region. The visit will focus above all on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, several of them co-financed by New Zealand and the EU in Samoa, Tuvalu, Kiribati (including Christmas Island) and the Cook Islands. Commissioner Piebalgs will also travel to Papua New Guinea from 28 – 30 April to discuss development challenges with members of the government and will launch two projects worth almost €60 million.
The Pacific islands are victims of the adverse effects of climate change where rising sea levels have an impact upon every aspect of citizens' lives and hamper economic development. The difficulties they face are exacerbated by extremely high fossil fuel costs due to their isolated location and by the lack of access to electricity in outer islands.
Ahead of the trip, European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, said: "Renewable energy is something that I am strongly committed to. Energy is crucial for education and healthcare, for growth, tourism and even for the supply of water. In short, renewable energy is a country’s main route towards growth and development.”
New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said: “New Zealand places great value on our partnership with the EU in the Pacific. Converting the region to renewable energy is critical and it is only happening at such a rapid pace because of our close cooperation with EU.”
Source: European Commission