On Tuesday, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger met with Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and other Algerian leaders to sign a three year agreement establishing an R20 office that will advise Algerian states on solar energy projects, waste reduction and waste energy projects, energy-efficient streetlighting, and other sustainable technologies. The office will serve as a regional hub for the Mediterranean region, showcasing “best practices” and hosting conferences to help other countries in the region implement low-carbon projects and create green jobs.
Schwarzenegger then traveled to Oran, the future site of the R20 office, to participate in a parade and ceremony with the Governor of the province. In a keynote speech given at the Oran Congress Palace, Schwarzenegger addressed California’s success in implementing sustainable initiatives similar to those being undertaken in Algeria. As Governor of California, Schwarzenegger passed some of the most sweeping policies on climate change, renewable energy, and energy efficiency in the world.
In an excerpt from his keynote speech, Schwarzenegger stated:
We know how well people power works in California. The people have been our partners in conserving energy and using cleaner sources of power for years. Because of that, California is 40 percent more energy efficient than the rest of the United States. If the rest of the United States followed our lead, the country could close 75 percent of our coal-fired power plants. Think about that…That’s people power.
The partnership will enable Algeria to develop a portfolio of sustainable technology projects, thereby attracting investment to the region and creating thousands of new green jobs. R20, which was founded in partnership with the UNIDO, UNDP, UNEP, the Assembly of European Regions, and the Nobel Sustainability Trust, aims to demonstrate that the transformation of the energy system at sub-national levels is an essential step towards a global green economy.
“There is a massive weight to be lifted off of our world. The UN can’t do it alone. But together, we can. That’s why we launched the R20, our international environmental organization,” said Schwarzenegger as he addressed the crowd in his keynote speech. “The R20 is all about action. It brings together regional and national government and the public and private sectors to create strong green economies around the world and reduce greenhouse gases. We are already moving forward.”
Oran will be the R20’s first Member in Algeria, and will serve as the site of pilot projects to demonstrate low-carbon economic development programs. The role of this decentralized R20 office, similar to ones already existing in China, Brazil, Los Angeles, and Dakar, will be to reinforce local capacity building in designing concrete waste to energy, energy efficiency, and renewable projects. As part of the agreement with Algeria, R20 will arrange for government officials to tour technology facilities in the United States and European Union focused on waste reduction, recycling, and conversion.