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Press Release


  August 7, 2007

“We are perhaps seeing the emergence of a new sustainable energy order in our hemisphere,” Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin of the Organization of American States (OAS) declared at an international conference on bio-energy, citing the “great promise” which he said a new sustainable energy initiative holds for achieving a new development ethos in the Hemisphere.

That new development focus spells less poverty, greater prosperity, greater social equity and a cleaner environment for all, the OAS Assistant Secretary General argued as he addressed international experts and officials during the opening of the High-Level Seminar on Expanding Bio-Energy Opportunities in the Caribbean, in Georgetown, Guyana, on Monday.

The Seminar is a collaborative effort involving the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the OAS, with the support of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the Government of Guyana.

Among participants were Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo, Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud and Prime Minister Sam Hinds; IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno; CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington; and IICA Director General Chelston Braithwaite. Members of the Guyana Parliament, the diplomatic corps, business community, civil society and media were also on hand.

Ramdin cited the Panama Declaration on Energy for Sustainable Development—adopted at the OAS General Assembly this past June—noting its timeliness and relevance to this seminar, as the Foreign Ministers had recognized at the General Assembly the potential of bio-fuels for diversifying the energy mix of the Hemisphere. He noted the seminar is also relevant as it coincides with the finalization of the CARICOM Regional Energy Policy.

“Oil-dependent countries, especially those with sizeable land resources… simply cannot ignore the opportunities offered by bio-energy to achieve international competitiveness in the production of goods and services, and bring about economic growth and a better quality of life for their people,” the OAS Assistant Secretary General stressed. He repeated the organization’s call for more definitive and innovative policies and strategies to spur the rapid development of renewable energy sources.

Warning that the concerns that bio-energy generate cannot be ignored, Ambassador Ramdin urged due consideration, “at the earliest possible stages of planning,” to sustainability issues and to potential negative social and environmental impacts. Appropriate legislative frameworks are vital, in order to facilitate investment in the bio-energy sector, according to Ramdin.

Reference: E-189/07