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Energy centre support studies

Pasifika people will continue to receive the support of the regions energy centre in developing their knowledge about sustainable energy options and what can work for the region. Energy consultant Solomone Fifita told the Pacific Resilience Meeting in Suva that the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PECREE) is open to hosting research teams from around the region and internationally.

Mr Fifita is also the manager of PECREE, which has its office in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. He confirmed that PECREE is continuing to help offer part-scholarships to regional students who are interested.

Presenting at the ‘Future Initiatives: Youth Participation and Entrepreneurship’ at the University of the South Pacific in Laucala Bay, Mr Fifita said PECREE is open to hosting research teams, while at the same time offering opportunities for Pacific people to learn more about renewable energy and energy efficiency. “We understand the importance of building capacities and the knowledge of our people in the sector and why it is important,” Mr Fifita said. “The office in Nuku’alofa has the space to host research groups, as we have done in the past, and we are also offering part-scholarships for those interested to go for further studies.” Three students – two from Tonga and one from Fiji – have been recipients of the scholarship so far.

Mr Fifita said the Centre had been working with all regional countries on their renewable energy plans, especially with a focus to cut fossil fuel use. There is unanimous concession amongst the regional countries to get Pacific youths and students to learn more about energy and energy efficiency. A decision was taken in 2016 to establish the PCREEE in Nuku’alofa, Tonga side by side with the Ministry for Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC), in conjunction with efforts of the Pacific Community (SPC) to strengthen its in-country presence in its members. The Government of Tonga agreed to provide office space and a number of staff to the centre.

PCREEE was inaugurated on April 26, 2017 in Nuku’alofa, at the margins of the Third Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers’ Meeting.PECREE was launched in 2014, after SPC, the Sustainable Energy Island and Climate Resilience Initiative (SIDS DOCK) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) initiated discussions on a potential Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE). The centre is part of wider SDG-7 multi-stakeholder partnership which aims at the establishment of a network of regional sustainable energy centres for small island developing states (SIDS) in Africa, Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean.

In 2014, SIDS DOCK, UNIDO and the Austrian Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding on technical and financial support for the network. The partnership is part of the SAMOA Pathway, which was adopted at the UN Third International Conference on SIDS in Samoa, in September 2014. In 2018 the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs joined the partnership and became a core partner of PCREEE.

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