On 26 and 27 September 2006 UNIDO organized jointly with the Secretariat for the Iberoamerican Summit (SEGIB) and the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mines of Uruguay (MIEM) in the city of Montevideo the Iberoamerican Ministerial Meeting on "Energy Security in the Latin American Region: Renewable Energy as a Viable Alternative".
The meeting was convened to provide a forum for representatives from the region's energy ministries to discuss energy security and agree on a regional cooperation programme to harness the potential of renewable energy technologies to meet the region's growing energy needs.
One of the main achievements of this meeting was the signature of the Ministerial Declaration by the Ministers of Energy and Representatives of the Iberoamerican Governments, which includes a call for a more sustainable use of energy, increased provision of renewable energy and regional integration as well as for research and technology development in this field. This declaration encouraged governments to study the creation of a Regional Observatory on Renewable Energy and UNIDO was requested to design, establish and mobilize funding for the set-up of the so called Observatory for Renewable Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In this scenario, the Observatory for Renewable Energy in LAC initiated activities in the year 2008 with funding from Spain and Italy, as a UNIDO regional programme that aims not only to promote renewable energy in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean but also to enhance investments in this area in order to increase energy access and encourage the integration of renewable energy technologies in industrial processes. Furthermore, seeking the deployment of renewable energy in LAC, the ultimate goal of the Observatory is to promote investments in renewable energy. Thus, strong efforts are currently being addressed in its implementation towards the development of solid projects portfolios in this field at the country level.
The Observatory for Renewable Energy in LAC is currently operating in 13 countries of the region namely: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. It is noteworthy to mention in this context, that this initiative is being implemented in joint cooperation and direct coordination with the corresponding national counterparts of each participating country, which are mainly the Ministries and institutions dealing with energy matters as well as with the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE).
It is foreseen that the Observatory expands in due course its activities to further additional countries of the LAC region.
The Observatory for Renewable Energy in LAC aims at joining efforts inside and outside the region to increase the presence of renewable energy in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Therefore, the mission of the Observatory is to provide assistance to the public and private sector to mobilize the necessary technical and financial resources to develop and implement renewable energy generation and distribution projects in the region.
Since many international and regional organizations are currently actively promoting renewable energy from different perspectives in the LAC region, this creates the need and at the same time offers the opportunity to put in place coordination mechanisms towards the promotion of investments in this field. The Observatory for Renewable Energy in LAC is therefore a tool that has set up the basis for the coordination and integration as well as the development and adoption of initiatives in LAC countries to meet the challenge of guaranteeing energy security in the region based on renewable energy sources. In addition, UNIDO has been addressing efforts to develop through the Observatory for Renewable Energy in LAC, an extensive pipeline of projects and programmes for the region.
In addition, UNIDO organized recently, within the framework of the Vienna Energy Forum that was celebrated on June 2011, a high-level meeting entitled “Towards a Center of Excellence on Renewable Energy in LAC” to discuss the need to establish one or various Centers of Excellence on Renewable Energy in the region, in the framework of the Observatory regional programme.
The Executive Secretary of the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), senior representatives of the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation and Development (AECID) and representatives from the 12 countries of the Observatory participated in the aforementioned meeting, and expressed their general interest and enthusiasm about the proposal to establish one or various Centres of Excellence on renewable energy that offer to public as well as private sector, specialized services in terms of advisory and technical assistance on renewable energy matters.
Therefore, the different parties agreed during the above-mentioned event that UNIDO would initiate jointly with OLADE and the support of the AECID, a vast consultation process to determine the services to be rendered as well as the specific structure of the Center(s) of Excellence with the aim to guarantee on a further stage, their absorption and ownership by the countries.
The Observatory for Renewable Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean is a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary technical cooperation programme opened to all LAC countries.
The overall objective of this regional programme is to contribute to the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) by increasing access to modern energy services and promoting renewable energy technologies for productive uses and industrial applications in the LAC region.
Thus, the Observatory for Renewable Energy in LAC has set up the basis in the participating countries of the LAC region to coordinate and promote the development and adoption of renewable energy initiatives in order to increase energy access and meet the challenge of diversifying the energy matrix.
On this regard, UNIDO has been addressing through the Observatory for Renewable Energy in LAC, strong efforts to develop an extensive pipeline of projects and programmes in the renewable energy field for the region.
Furthermore it has to be mentioned in this context, that UNIDO’s holistic approach to the renewable energy sector is demand driven and applicable to different settings and conditions in the LAC region. Implementing the project jointly with National Authorities on energy matters and with the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), is crucial to guarantee that the project is aligned with the national priorities on renewable energy and energy access of the different participating countries.
More specifically, UNIDO through the Observatory for Renewable Energy in LAC focuses on:
- Developing technical reports in the participating countries that reflect key issues to be considered in order to increase the presence of renewable in the region;
- Establishing solid links between key actors in the participating countries in order to develop joint initiatives;
- Creating adequate conditions through assisting the governments by developing policy and regulatory framework and supporting market facilitators and players;
- Developing a portfolio of projects in each participating country, oriented to increase access to modern energy services for poverty reduction; and focus on energy for productive uses to support value addition in decentralized communities, SMEs etc.
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