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Small Island Nations Banding Together for Hydroelectric, Renewable Power Development

A declaration adopted by 20 small island developing states could potentially increase the percentage of hydroelectric power in their overall energy mixes.

The plan -- called "The Barbados Declaration" -- was adopted at the United Nations' Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in Small Island Developing States Conference that was hosted by Barbados this past week.

The declaration calls for "universal access to modern and affordable renewable energy services," while also helping to alleviate poverty through economic opportunity.

The declaration says delegates "remain deeply concerned that most Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are highly dependent on imported oil and other fossil fuels for transport and electricity generation."

"This is a major source of economic vulnerability for SIDS," the declaration continues. "This leaves SIDS highly exposed to oil-price volatility."

Amongst the hydropower-related measures included in the declaration are Barbados' pledge to increase its share of renewable energy to 29% by 2029; Mauritius' commitment to increase its share to 35% by 2025; Maldives' goal of carbon neutrality by 2020; and Seychelles' promise to produce 15% of its energy supply from renewable sources by 2030.

"These technologies must be made accessible, affordable and adaptable to the needs and particular circumstances of SIDS communities," the declaration says. "In this regard, we strongly urge the international community, particularly developed countries, to ensure the provision of financial resources, technology transfer and capacity building to SIDS."

The countries encompassed by the Barbados Declaration hope to get the backing of the United Nations, which will hold a summit on sustainable development, Rio+20, in June. "The outcomes of the Rio+20 conference must be ambitious and convey the urgency of fully embracing the sustainable development agenda, including the fulfillment of all commitments related to SIDS," the declaration says.

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