Pacific energy and transport ministers outline key priorities in fulfilling sustainable development objectives

Photo caption: Fiji?s Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities, Hon. Mr Timoci Natuva presenting a gift to Tuvalu?s Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Public Utilities Hon. Mr Vete Sakaio.

Monday 7 April 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Nadi, Fiji.?Pacific ministers attending the second Pacific Regional Energy and Transport?(Aviation and Maritime) Ministers Meeting acknowledged that transport and energy are key enablers for development, reinforcing the importance of the nexus between sustainable energy and transport access, along with health, water, food and education.

Delegates from 19 Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) attended the week-long meeting, which concluded last Friday (4 April 2014) in Nadi, Fiji.

In endorsing the Denerau Communique, delegates recognised the important link between transport and energy and called for the inclusion of transport in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The delegates recognised the importance of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing?States (SIDS), to be held in Samoa in September, as an opportunity for the Pacific region to influence the post-2015 development agenda dialogue and ensure that the unique challenges of the region are reflected.

To ensure that the commitments made at the meeting are translated into concrete actions, Pacific ministers agreed to key priorities for the next three years. Recognising the important role played by the private sector in achieving sustainable energy and transport services, the meeting encouraged more private sector involvement and investment.

Furthermore, the ministers welcomed the Pacific Regional Data Repository for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative and commended United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific for leading the initial work in this important area. Ministers welcomed the decision for SPC to host the repository for 12 months on an interim basis.

The significance of access to timely, accurate and reliable data to provide the basis for informed decision-making and policy formulation in the area of transport is also vital. With this in mind, the meeting also agreed to the concept of a regional transport data repository in the maritime and aviation sectors and agreed to share ?non-sensitive? data with SPC under a data-sharing agreement.

The minsters requested that SPC continue to provide assistance to maritime administrations, maritime training institutions and other key stakeholders to enable compliance with the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping?for Seafarers (STCW) 2010 Manila Amendments.

In his closing remarks, Fiji?s Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities, the Honourable Mr Timoci Natuva, highlighted the challenges PICTs face in sustainable development and emphasised the importance of collaboration.

?With the rising cost of fossil fuels, the greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of climate change and the subsequent rising sea levels, its effect on food security and water, it re-emphasises the fact that we need to work together and in collaboration with each other so that we can chart a better roadmap for the sustainable development of our people and countries,? he said.

?At the same time, we need to have a collective voice at the global forum in our efforts to articulate important development issues that affect our people,? he added.

The ministers meeting was organised by SPC through its Economic Development Division in collaboration with the Government of Fiji and was attended by close to 200 delegates from the region?s transport and energy sectors, regional and international organisations, development partners and other stakeholders in the industries.

The next energy and transport ministers meeting will be held in Tonga in 2017.

SPC