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Partnership to support climate change initiatives in Pacific region

August 07, 2013

The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Pacific Vocational Training and Education for Clean Energy program has received a USD $394,000-grant contribution from New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (NZ MFAT) to expand the existing two-year program in the Pacific Islands.

Arizona State University’s College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) is leading the implementation of the Vocational Training and Education for Clean Energy (VOTEC) program, which is designed to help improve the sustainability of renewable energy investments and infrastructure in the Pacific region by increasing local awareness, knowledge and capacity in clean energy. 

New Zealand’s contribution will be used to create and deliver solar energy equipment trainings in the region, and to train additional trainers and technicians in up to five Pacific Island countries in the coming year.

USAID/Pacific Islands Mission director Gloria D. Steele said, “The U.S. Government is pleased to work with the New Zealand Government for the advancement of clean energy in the Pacific Islands. The VOCTEC program supports our overall objective to address the negative impacts of climate change in the Pacific region by increasing access to renewable energy.”

“With the support of USAID and NZ MFAT, we can continue to build local capacity to strengthen the sustainability of renewable energy investments in the Pacific Islands,” said Mitzi Montoya, dean and vice provost of ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation.

Since 2012, ASU has partnered with the University of the South Pacific and several other local institutions of higher and vocational learning. The program is customized for the conditions in the Pacific Islands to support the sustainability of off-grid solar energy installations and help in the reduction of carbon emissions.

VOCTEC has already conducted one educator-level training and four technician-level trainings in Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. With the new funding support, ASU also plans to strengthen the monitoring of the effectiveness of the trainings to ensure that best practices are captured for future programs in the region.

“This contribution from the New Zealand Government helps ASU in its mission to provide services in developing countries, support the sustainability of solar energy programs in the Pacific and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions” said Anshuman Razdan, associate dean of CTI.