The Governments of Kenya and Eswatini have stepped forward to take the lead in championing action on geothermal energy and energy literacy, as part of the Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition (CSET) Agenda.
The announcements were made during a side event at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda, where leaders have gathered to discuss pressing global issues facing member countries and to decide actions and work programmes for the organisation.
In their new roles, Kenya and Eswatini will take the lead in forming voluntary coalitions made up of member countries willing to work together to develop shared strategies and align action plans.
“The Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition Agenda is the Commonwealth flagship for accelerating the global energy transition,” said Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Dr. Arjoon Suddhoo.
“Our Commonwealth is blessed with a wealth of precious natural resources, including renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, tidal and wave energy. However, our shared economic recovery will depend upon learning from the past and continuing to learn from one other as we build a better future.
“The Sustainable Development Goals point the way, particularly SDG7 on sustainable energy, SDG13 on climate change, and SDG14 concerning the ocean.”
At present, four Commonwealth member countries have installed geothermal energy. New Zealand and Kenya have the highest installed capacity at 984 megawatts and 823.8 megawatts, respectively, followed by Papua New Guinea (56 megawatts) and Australia (0.31 megawatts).
At the same event, Senator Manqoba Khumalo, Minister for Commerce, Industry and Trade of Eswatini, invited other countries to join the Action Group on Energy Literacy: “Knowledge is power, and energy literacy empowers people to make informed and better decisions concerning energy.
“Research has shown that despite increasing concerns about sustainable energy and its role in addressing climate change, energy literacy levels remain low among most people.
“Eswatini is proud to steer this Action Group with the hope of collaborating with other likeminded Commonwealth countries to raise awareness among our societies about energy issues, and then translate these into concrete actions that will help achieve a more sustainable future for all.”
The Action Group on Energy Literacy will share information and best practices to support energy literacy amongst children, young people and local communities; facilitate dialogue on sustainable energy amongst stakeholders; and encourage cooperation with potential partners.
Malta, Ghana, Seychelles, and Sri Lanka have already signed up to join the Action Group.
At the recently concluded CHOGM, Commonwealth leaders officially adopted the Living Lands Charter which commits all 56 member countries to safeguarding global land resources – as well as taking coordinated action on climate change, biodiversity loss, and sustainable land management.