New Petroleum Producers Strive To Forge A New Development Path

(CMC)— The London-based Commonwealth Secretariat says emerging petroleum-producing countries in the Commonwealth, including the Caribbean are striving to break the historical mould of fossil fuel-driven growth and forge a new path towards economic resilience.

It said that government officials shared their experiences during a two-week pilot training programme on the theme ‘Aligning the Petroleum Sector with Climate, Energy and National Development Goals’ organised by the New Producers Group (NPG).

The NPG is a network of around 30 countries, including 15 from the Commonwealth, jointly managed by Chatham House, the Natural Resource Governance Institute and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The training was delivered virtually to multi-sectoral government teams from Guyana and Uganda (as well as Lebanon, Somalia and Suriname) through a series of plenary and national workshops.

The Secretariat said that during the workshops, officials responsible for petroleum, power, infrastructure, planning, energy, environment, climate change and finance shared their sectors’ plans, ambitions, challenges, as well as underlying assumptions.

It said that they also discussed commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change and explored opportunities for more integration and alignment.

The participants agreed that having a national vision and strategy were essential for coherence in policy-making, sector planning and improving inter-agency cooperation.

“The clear message that emerged was the need for a national long-term strategy for managing the energy transition,” said Economic Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Naadira Ogeer, who led several of the training sessions.

“Many emerging producers happen to be developing countries in extremely tenuous economic situations, who also face the daunting task of eradicating poverty, dealing with the harsh realities of climate change, while having to provide affordable and reliable energy for growing populations.”

She said that these were hugely complex issues; during discussions countries voiced concerns about the lack of technical expertise in their national agencies and inability to secure funding for low carbon energy projects.

“There needs to be more co-ordinated and collective international support to address these financing and capacity gaps – without it we will not be able to achieve an inclusive and fair energy transition,” she said.

The NPG says that building on the workshops, it plans to hold policy labs on areas pinpointed for development by members, such as emission reductions and green growth strategies.

The Commonwealth Secretariat said it would also be offering technical advice and support to member states who request it, through a number of key programmes.