Greening the Islands Foundation

Small Islands Leading the Energy Transition: Roadmaps to 100% Renewables

Co-hosted by UN-DESA, Greening the Islands Foundation and the Government of Tonga

4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States, Antigua & Barbuda

Wednesday 29 May 2024 

American University of Antigua, 14:00 – 15:30 AST, Room 4 


The 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) will be held on 27-30 May 2024 in St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda. This major UN Conference is organised every 10 years. Under the overarching theme of “Charting the course toward resilient prosperity”, the 4th edition aims at assessing the ability of SIDS to achieve sustainable development, including the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, and delivering an intergovernmentally agreed, focused, forward-looking and action-oriented political outcome document.


Event Description

Global awareness is growing about the need to accelerate the transition to fully renewable energy systems, yet there remains a lack of concrete cases due to complexities and barriers. COP28 was an important milestone for global climate action, signalling the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era and establishing global targets for renewables and energy efficiency. But it maintained significant shortcomings for islands, failing, once again, to fully recognise their higher vulnerability to climate change and adaptation needs.

The 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) will deliver a forward-looking programme of action for SIDS’ sustainable development, engaging the private sector, civil society, youth and other key stakeholders to develop practical and impactful solutions to address SIDS-specific challenges and ensure a bright future for everyone. This session will focus on the key role islands can play in accelerating the world’s energy transition – building on the Samoa Pathway – with 100% renewables as a central factor for the decarbonization and self-sufficiency of islands worldwide.


For SIDS in particular, the energy transition can generate higher economic and environmental security by creating more resilient and less costly power systems, new jobs, and a range of other socio-economic development opportunities, ultimately leading to a sustainable future for local communities. While SIDS face unique vulnerabilities, such as isolation, exposure to extreme weather events and high costs related to energy production, at the same time they have great potential to adapt quickly to renewable energy sources. This makes SIDS ideal testbeds for showcasing the technical and economic feasibility of transitioning to fully renewable energy systems. Small islands can lead the way in developing concrete case studies focused on a diversified mix of renewables, hybrid and storage solutions in a decentralized and smart grid approach, starting from the decarbonisation of power generation, and gradually including energy uses in other critical sectors. Indeed, renewable energy empowers crucial synergies with water, agriculture, and waste (e.g., the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem nexus) that are particularly evident on islands.


This side event will build on the outcomes of a side event co-hosted by DESA and Greening the Islands Foundation at COP28. The development of roadmaps to achieving 100% renewables will be presented for SIDS across the three regions: Tonga (Pacific), Curaçao (Caribbean) and Rodrigues (Mauritius, Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea). From the analysis of the potential of the renewable energy sources available on each island to the forecast of the future electricity demand, Greening the Islands Foundation and its partners have collaborated with these SIDS to develop best practices and recommendations, including on legislative and regulatory elements, to attract investments to support their energy transitions. Panel discussions with high-level representatives from these SIDS, global leaders from the renewables industry and key institutions and partners will discuss lessons learned with the objective of raising ambition and engaging other SIDS, as well as showcasing how SIDS can become models for the mainland.


Join us at SIDS4 as we unveil pathways with frontrunner islands and key global stakeholders of the sustainable transition and discover the role renewables can play to empower island communities around the globe to accelerate their energy transition and stimulate their economies.


5 min

Opening Remarks

High-level comments to establish context in regard to the importance of accelerating the energy transition in SIDS.

  • Li Junhua – Under-Secretary-General DESA, Secretary-General SIDS4 Conference

10 min

Keynote: presentation of roadmaps to 100% renewables

Ted-talk style presentation of the key methodology points, developed scenarios to 100% renewables for Rodrigues, Curaçao, Tonga, and outcomes of the initiative.
  • Gianni Chianetta – Chair, Greening the Islands Foundation

35 min

Panel discussion 1: Islands as models for 100% renewables – What are the challenges and the projects needed to help small islands achieve the transition to renewable energy.
The first panel discussion will explore the role of islands as testbeds to showcase technical and economic feasibility of fully renewable energy systems.


  • Sai Navoti – Chief of the SIDS Unit, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)


  • H.E. Ruisandro Cijntje – Minister of Economic Development, Government of Curaçao, Responsible for the energy transition
  • H.E. Viliami Va’inga Tōnē – Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Tonga to the UN
  • Ravi Shankar Sonea – Permanent Secretary, Environment and Climate Change Division, Ministry of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, Government of Mauritius
  • Arieta Gonelevu Rakai – Regional Programme Officer, Islands, IRENA

35 min

Panel discussion 2: How to unlock finance for islands to accelerate progress and deploy green investment projects, at public and private level.

The second panel discussion will focus on the key barriers to accessing finance for islands around the world, exploring the priority actions governments, investors, financial institutions and other stakeholders need to undertake to unlock larger and varied financial resource inflows.


  • Gianni Chianetta – Chair, Greening the Islands Foundation


  • H.E. Thoriq Ibrahim – Minister of Climate Change, Environment and Energy Maldives
  • Francesco Corvaro – Special Envoy for Climate Change, Italy
  • Celeste Connors – Co-Chair Local2030 Islands Network
  • Neha Mukhi – Senior Energy Specialist, World Bank
  • Roderick Gordon – Founder & Managing Director CERRA
  • Gianmarco Litterio – RE International Development Blusolar

5 min

Closing Remarks
Wrap-up of main takeaways of the panel discussion and promotion of the initiative.
  • Henk Rogers – Founder, Blue Planet Alliance

Our Plan for SIDS4

In an event co-organised by GTI and UN DESA, we will present roadmaps to 100% renewables for the islands involved in the GTI Observatory’s 100% RES Initiative, with high-level representatives from island governments, international institutions, global industries, and partners of the initiative. 

Highlights from the conference will be shared on the GTI Magazine and social media channels through articles, Greening the Islands Sofa -interviews, photos and videos.

● Greening the Islands Sofa

The GTI Sofa is a one-of-a-kind space dedicated to interviews and reflections with global leaders of the islands’ sustainable transition, a platform shared with Greening the Islands’ network and partners worldwide to amplify perspectives and experiences from diverse stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities for islands.

The Sofa is a new feature of the GTI Magazine that takes inspiration from the Green Energiewende Sofa, the icon of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, aiming to become a point of reference for the global dialogue on islands’ resilience and self-sufficiency.


The first stop of the GTI Sofa will be SIDS4, the most important island conference of the decade, to interact with policymakers, industry leaders, and institutions committed to brightening the islands’ future.