The Solomon Islands is making strides towards achieving its goal of net zero emissions by 2050 with the introduction of its first-ever fleet of electric buses.
The country is set to trial 10 e-buses in its capital, Honiara, as a part of its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (CCFAH) is providing technical assistance to support the project and ensure the country is accessing international climate funding.
The CCFAH has already helped countries access over $70 million (£56.46 million) in climate finance for 63 projects. The initiative is part of a wider programme that aims to assist Commonwealth small states and other vulnerable countries in accessing climate finance.
The government has approved $2 million (£1.6 million) of funding provided by the Global Environment Facility under the GEF 8 STAR allocation to go towards the e-mobility implementation. The proposed pilot will help assess the applicability and scalability of electric vehicles nationwide and the potential to support other e-vehicles.
Dr. Michael Ha’apio, the Commonwealth National Climate Finance Adviser (CNCFA) for Solomon Islands, has led the development and negotiation of the project concept with government authorities to ensure funding for this initiative.
“Being one of the highest fuel dependencies in the Pacific region, the Solomon Islands is committed to increasing the use of low carbon technologies,” said Dr. Ha’apio.
“However, the country needs the financial resources to first pilot the use of these technologies and then to scale up.”
The introduction of electric buses builds on the country’s progress made in the previous year by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM) in collaboration with the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification (MMERE) to develop the country’s e-mobility policy framework with the assistance of the UN Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN).
The CCFAH has deployed 18 Commonwealth National Climate Finance Advisers to support frontline ministries of various member countries.
The initiative ensures that Commonwealth small states and other vulnerable countries have improved access to climate finance by embedding these experts in government departments to support grant applications, capacity building, and implementation.
The Commonwealth Secretariat is actively promoting the adoption of smart technology among its member countries.
One recent collaboration involved the creation of a digital learning platform designed to assist the public sector in leveraging emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI).