Innlegg ráðherra á þemafundi um mikilvægi fjölþjóðlegs samstarfs

Multi-stakeholders partnerships and voluntary commitments for sustainable development – ensuring accountability for all


Mr. President,

I welcome this opportunity to discuss partnerships and commitments for sustainable development. Sustainable development is at the core of Iceland’s policy on natural resources and the environment.

Today, when Iceland takes part in discussing global challenges on energy and climate issues, the oceans and desertification, our views are based on two main sources; from our own experiences and from working with experts and professionals in partner countries.

Forming partnerships has been an integral part of our policy especially in our development co-operation. Our experience shows, beyond any doubt, that partnerships must be characterized by three important elements. Partnerships must be inclusive (non-exclusive), progressive and dynamic.

We have managed to create and be a part of various partnerships, both on a state and none-state level, and they have been with multilateral agencies and with the private and public sectors.

The partnerships we are most proud of are capacity building in developing countries, where Iceland and the United Nations University offer postgraduate training for professionals. These partnerships are in four areas of expertise, in the field of geothermal energy, fisheries, land restoration and gender equality.

Mr. President

I would like to share with you our experience with the Geothermal Training program.

It is estimated that only 14% of global geothermal potential has been harnessed. In East Africa alone, geothermal energy could bring new, clean, sustainable energy to over 150 million people within a few years.

The United Nations University Geothermal Training Programme was established in Iceland in 1978.  Since then some six hundred professionals have received six months postgraduate training and 1.000 have participated in short courses organized in the field.

Good track is kept of all who have graduated, which has resulted in a strong alumni network which has promoted strong links between Iceland, the partner countries, public institutions and the private sector.

Currently work is under way in setting up new capacity programs in Central America and Africa modelled after the Icelandic program, in partnerships with financial institutions supporting geothermal development in these regions.

Another partnership, which we founded in 2012 in the field of geothermal, is with the World Bank Group aimed at enhancing geothermal deployment in East Africa. This is an ambitious project aiming to spur geothermal development along the Great African Rift Valley, where scientists have estimated over 14.000 Mega Watts available from this clean sustainable energy resource.

This partnership is an Open Compact, which is fundamental to its success. Already the Nordic Development Fund has joined our efforts and the same is true for the Climate Investment Funds, which have, through the Global Geothermal Development Plan operated by the World Bank, contributed 235 million USD for geothermal.

Countries that are already partnering with us are for example Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda. Each country takes part in its own way, including by adding other partners.

Here, I also must mention that other stakeholders have in the past few years also begun to support geothermal globally. Let me mention for example the German Development Bank and the Power Africa Initiative sponsored by the US Government. Both programs provide financing mechanisms to private geothermal developers, creating a significant example of public-private-partnerships.

Mr. President,

We believe that these are good examples of how partnerships can work and what they can achieve. In short we can do more and address bigger challenges if we work together.

This has lead Iceland to believe that it is high time to call up on all geothermal supporters, champion donors, recipient countries, multilateral agencies, green funds, the private sector and others to form a Global Geothermal Alliance for the main purpose of identifying new opportunities and support mechanisms to up-scale geothermal efforts.

Mr. President,

This idea has already been floated, when ministers and experts met during Abu Dhabi Ascent in early May, suggesting re-enforced initiatives to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

I call upon you to support the idea of Global Geothermal Alliance for the benefit of all people.

Thank you for you kind attention

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