Puna has just attended the the Ninth International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) with the Office of the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Ben Ponia.
In a statement earlier last week, Puna said he would once again press the issue of climate change for the Pacific region at the IRENA session.
The Cook Islands have previously assumed high level responsibilities at IRENA including chairing plenary sessions, delivering statements on the national renewable energy journey, participating on high-level panels, and reporting to the main Assembly on behalf of working groups and special side sessions.
Last year, according to the IRENA Twitter page, Puna said the Cook Islands was well on the way for renewable energy.
He further stated that the country was moving towards 100 per cent deployment of renewable energy.
“There are six islands in the southern Cook Islands and one has already been done another three will be completed in the next few months and the two big islands of Aitutaki and Rarotonga have been deliberately left last because they are more challenging.
“Particularly in terms of energy storage, that’s still the missing gap with solar energy and yet we believe we have found the solution and our authorities are moving to develop those options clearly for us.”
The Assembly is the Agency’s supreme decision-making body and brings together Heads of State, Ministers, government officials, and representatives from the private sector, civil society and other international organisations to reaffirm the global renewable energy agenda and make concrete steps to accelerate the global energy transition.
Two ministerial roundtables took place during the Assembly, featuring ministers and high-level participants. They were to discuss the role of renewables in achieving universal energy access and the transformative impact innovation is having in the renewable energy sector.
Thematic meetings, organised by IRENA, and in collaboration with stakeholders, were held over the course of the Assembly. The main objectives of these were to raise awareness of the importance of renewable energy and its impact on sustainable development, connect policy makers, experts and three innovators from many countries to learn from each other, share good practices and inform decision makers by identifying shared needs and finding common ground on shared priorities.
The Assembly takes place at the outset of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and is followed by the World Future Energy Summit, from 14 to 17 January 2019, which will also feature a number of events hosted by IRENA.