The Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, called on Pacific energy and transport ministers to discuss, share and exchange ideas on how Pacific Island countries and territories can address challenges and ensure energy security and good transport services for all the people in the Pacific region.
Delegates from 19 Pacific Island nations are attending the second Pacific Regional Energy and Transport (Aviation and Maritime) Ministers’ Meeting, which is being held in Nadi, Fiji, from 2 to 4 April 2014.
‘I know there is no silver bullet for the challenges and risks we face. But if we fail to address these, we will undermine the hard-fought development gains our region has made over the past decades…. Let us not lose sight of our uniqueness but challenge ourselves this week to make progress with what we can do, as a region, to ensure sustainable energy and transport services for all Pacific Islanders,’ he said.
He highlighted the important links between energy and transport as engines for economic growth and social development.
‘The relationship between transport and energy is a critical one. That the economic development and growth of Pacific nations is highly reliant on fossil fuel energy sources is unquestionable – we are vulnerable to global forces such as world fuel prices, and costs associated with transporting fuel to our region,’ he said.
In his keynote address, Fiji’s Acting Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities, the Honourable Jone Usamate noted the importance of such meetings to address sustainable development challenges where energy and transport services are of concern.
‘As Pacific people we have many development problems that are common to all of us: problems in the area of energy and transport services. We are confident that we can seek and find solutions to our development problems the Pacific way – through dialogue and sharing ideas and experiences that can assist us in our development effort,’ he said.