Waterloo, Canada - April 14, 2009 - A project report released today by The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) concludes that strategic needs of the Western Hemisphere for a sustainable energy future can be achieved through three pathways, which are timely, relevant, politically and economically feasible and can positively impact socio-economic development of the Americas.

The Blueprint for a Sustainable Energy Partnership for the Americas identifies three opportunities to lay the groundwork for the development of a lasting sustainable energy partnership: (1) an energy and environment hemispheric research initiative, (2) an agenda for a sustainable Amazon, (3) a new approach to the electricity sector in Central America and the Caribbean.

"If the last decades were defined by a desire for integration and a belief that markets provide most of the solutions, the decades that follow will likely provide a counterpoint," says Annette Hester, CIGI senior fellow and the lead author of the report.

As well, notes Ms. Hester, "Focusing on conservation and increasing the efficiency of processes and systems will yield economical and social benefits for the region. The Americas have an opportunity to demonstrate to the world how sustainable energy security can be achieved in a peaceful and constructive manner."

The report suggests that the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago presents an opportune moment for the hemisphere to transform its energy matrix.

"Each of the three pathways provides the opportunity to incorporate the relevant domestic agenda, challenge the status quo, strengthen cooperation and move the hemisphere towards a sustainable energy partnership," emphasized Ms. Hester.

The authors of the report argue that the current approach to research investment restricts collaboration and benefits single companies, which slows down adoption of new technologies. Instead, they propose an energy and environment hemispheric research initiative that would see Canada and the U.S. inviting like-minded countries to participate in a joint program focused on collaborative technology development within a public-private partnership, but where the government retains the control of the new patents paving the way to a rapid technology diffusion.

Although the report calls for each Amazon country to design a national plan, the authors single out the role of Brazil.

"Brazilian leadership on an innovative agenda for a sustainable Amazon is likely to make a difference long before the protracted climate change negotiations will show results, "states the report.

"As the largest of the Amazon countries, Brazil must take responsibility for the monumental challenge of implementing an effective sustainability plan and then share its experience with its neighbours, forming the basis for an effective regional approach," adds Ms. Hester.

In addition, the report argues that a sustainable development plan for Amazon could be presented as the hemisphere's contribution to the global climate change negotiations.

The third recommendation is for the Central American governments to place efficiency gains ahead of integration plans, as this will yield better returns on the investment of time, energy and finances of all governments involved. The report further recommends that the governments of Caribbean states explore alternative fuel micro-generation and other alternative electricity generation technologies and with the help of developed countries adapt these new technologies to Caribbean conditions.

Blueprint for Sustainable Energy Partnership is published by CIGI and will be presented at the upcoming Summit of the Americas. The four hemispheric organizations collaborating to produce the final blueprint policy report are: CIGI, the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York, The Brazilian Centre for International Relations (CEBRI) in Rio de Janeiro, and the Institute of International Relations at the University of West Indies in Trinidad.

To view or download a free copy of this report, please visit: www.cigionline.org/publications


Neve Peric
Media Relations, CIGI

Phone: +1.519.885.2444, ext. 390

Email: [email protected]

The opinions expressed in this article/multimedia are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or its Board of Directors.
  • Neve Peric provides oversight of the organization's finance and human resources departments. She is also responsible for facilities, including the CIGI Campus.