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    Story Highlights

    • CELAC came to a close on Friday, October 25 with the issuing of two critical documents.
    • Special attention was given to renewable energy projects, the use of biofuels, and supply chains in the region.
    • The resultant two documents were Declaration of Montego Bay, and its accompanying Montego Bay Plan of Action.

    The second meeting of the Ministers of Energy of the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC), came to a close on Friday (Oct. 25) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in St. James with the issuing of two critical documents. Out of the forum has emerged the Declaration of Montego Bay on Regional Energy Security and Integration, and a Montego Bay Plan of Action.

    According to Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, both documents will define for CELAC the course that will be pursued to ensure that its lofty ideals and objectives are properly and appropriately implemented.

    With over 100 attendees representing some 22 states and regional organisations including the Latin American Energy Organisation (OLADE); the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF); and the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of our America and PetroCaribe,, the meeting focused on regional energy security.

    Special attention was given to renewable energy projects, the use of biofuels, and the feasibility of interconnections and supply chains in the region.

    The resultant two documents, Declaration of Montego Bay, and its accompanying Montego Bay Plan of Action, are designed to guide key activities towards strengthening CELAC’s capacity in those areas going forward.

    Meanwhile, the Montego Bay Declaration acknowledges that “the region has sufficient renewable and non-renewable energy resources to meet the energy requirements of the people of the region, has access to vast and underutilized renewable energy resources, and the importance of securing a socially inclusive, reliable, and competitive energy supply that is respectful of the environment and of the legal and regulatory frameworks of the countries concerned”.

    There is also a 13-point agreement, which includes encouraging Latin American and Caribbean Governments to sign/ratify regional agreements and initiatives, which serve to strengthen national, sub-regional and regional strategies for the development of an affordable and sustainable energy supply.

    The plan of action calls for the strengthening of initiatives towards a unified approach to renewable energy projects with a view to solving common problems to energy security.

    It speaks to the establishment of an ad hoc working group, with countries such as Jamaica, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Peru and Venezuela indicating an interest in participating in that group.

    The Working Group will keep all CELAC member countries informed about activities on a regular basis, and will submit the analysis of scenarios and results to the next meeting of CELAC Energy Ministers.

    At the closing press conference for the two-day meeting, Minister Paulwell expressed gratitude to CELAC Chair, Cuba, for asking Jamaica to host the meeting.

    “We are very happy that we were given this opportunity, and we basically have jointly arranged this meeting, and I really want to commend the minister for Cuba, minister Valdez for the tremendous support and the level of collaboration we have been able to achieve with the group in Jamaica and our counterparts in Cuba, to ensure that we could have a successful meeting,” he stated.

    Mr. Paulwell also acknowledged the support of the many other energy ministers and heads of delegation who attended the conference with special mention of the attendance of the representative minister from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

    He said that the presence of a representative from Venezuela was reminiscent of the two previous visits to Jamaica of former president, Hugo Chavez, towards the signing of the historic PetroCaribe agreement.

    “Indeed that agreement continues to be a shining example of the level of collaboration, cooperation and indeed kindness on the part of one that is endowed with the resources, and is committed to sharing those resources with less fortunate countries,” he stated.

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