St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, I Rhonda King, who also serves as interim chair of the SIDS DOCK Island Women Open Network (IWON), will lead a delegation at the Vienna Energy Forum 2015 (VEF 2015).
The three-day forum, which will be held under the theme “Sustainable Energy for Inclusive Development,” provides an “ideal opportunity to increase awareness about the exceptional resilient attitude of Island Women despite their special vulnerabilities and mounting challenges faced due to the impacts of climate change and sea level rise,” according to the United Nations’ Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Sustainable Energy and Climate Resilience Initiative (SIDS DOCK).
The IWON is part of the organisational structure of SIDS DOCK, and was developed under the Denmark-funded SIDS DOCK Support Program.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) – the SIDS DOCK Institutional Partner – and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation, are the organisers of the VEF 2015.
VEF 2015 takes place only a few months before the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Summit in New York and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris, France.
By emphasizing the multiple benefits of the Post-2015 Development and the Climate Agenda and by showcasing best practices and actions on the ground, the VEF 2015 aims at contributing to both, SIDS DOCK said.
On this occasion, it said King will “seek the highest level of political commitment and leadership for gender equality and women’s empowerment in Island Nations, and will request donors and development partners to re-think how we report on Island Women in sustainable development and energy in the context of being recognized by the UN as a distinct group of countries.”
“In declaring 2014, the International Year of the SIDS, the UN also created recognition of climate change as a detrimental factor to Island Nations and our development,” SID DOCK said.
It said lack of access to energy and affordability, climate change and gender inequality are “inextricably linked in that they create obstacles to achieving poverty reduction and development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”
Furthermore, SIDS DOCK said climate change makes existing inequalities worse and generally slows progress toward gender equality.
“Similarly, gender inequality aggravates the impacts of climate change,” it said. “Therefore, attempts to ensure gender equality can help to reduce the impacts of climate change.”
On Friday, she will act as co-moderator for the Side Event, “Energizing the SAMOA Pathway – Launch of the SE4ALL Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), at the Hofburg Palace.
The side event will identify Island Nations priorities and provide input for the upcoming High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations, SIDS DOC said.
It also said the side event “will see the launch and update on the Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL) Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres for SIDS, namely the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) as the hub for African SIDS.”
In addition, the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) and Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) be launched, according to SIDS DOC.