The Solomon Islands is one step closer to making history with its first-ever fleet of electric buses, in line with the nation’s ambitious climate target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (CCFAH) is providing technical advice to support the proposed initiative, as part of its wider work programme to assist Commonwealth small states and other vulnerable countries in accessing international climate funding.
To date, the CCFAH has helped countries to access more than US$ 70 million in climate finance for 63 projects.
The Pacific Island country plans to trial ten e-buses in the capital city, Honiara, with the aim of increasing the fleet over the next five years. The proposed pilot will help assess the applicability and scalability nationwide, as well as the potential to support other e-vehicles.
The initiative reflects the country’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as part of its national climate action plans or Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs), despite emitting minimal levels of emissions compared to most countries in the world.
To support the proposed project, the government has approved USD$2 million of funding provided by the Global Environment Facility under the GEF 8 STAR allocation, to go towards e-mobility implementation.
The Commonwealth National Climate Finance Adviser (CNCFA) for Solomon Islands, Dr Michael Ha’apio, led the development and negotiation of the project concept with government authorities to ensure funding for this landmark initiative. Dr Ha’apio said:
“Being one of the highest fuel dependencies in the Pacific region, the Solomon Islands is committed to increasing the use of low carbon technologies. However, the country needs the financial resources to first pilot the use of these technologies and then to scale up.”
The work builds on progress delivered last 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).
Deputy Secretary Technical Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM), Mr Channel Iroi, stated:
“I was so pleased with the level of technical assistance the Commonwealth National Climate Finance Adviser brings into formulation and development of this important national project for the country. We are grateful for this collaboration and hopefully it is only the beginning of fruitful years of partnership ahead”.
Dr Ha’apio will be working through the MECDM’s Project Management Unit to accelerate access to the GEF funds and advance the implementation of the Honiara Intra E-Bus Project, in close collaboration with the implementing agency for the project, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Dr Ha’apio is one of the 18 Commonwealth National Climate Finance Advisers deployed by the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (CCFAH) to support frontline ministries of various member countries. The CCFAH ensures that Commonwealth small states, as well as other vulnerable countries, have improved access to climate finance by embedding these experts in government departments to support grant applications, capacity building and implementation.
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