Senior officials responsible for energy and transport in Pacific Island countries and territories gathered in Nadi, Fiji on Monday to participate in two days of meetings ahead of the Pacific Regional Energy and Transport (Aviation and Maritime) Ministers’ Meeting, which starts today.
The officials’ meeting, organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in collaboration with the Government of Fiji, was attended by close to 150 participants from the region’s transport and energy sector, regional and international organisations, development partners and other stakeholders in the industry.
In his opening address, Director of SPC’s Economic Development Division John Hogan acknowledged the impressive turnout and said it highlighted the importance of transport and energy in Pacific Island countries and territories’ development outcomes.
“Transport and energy are drivers of economic development and it is pleasing to see such a good turnout. This is one of best attended series of meetings we have had in Fiji for a long time,” he said.
“It shows the importance of these two sectors to the livelihoods of Pacific Island people,” he added.
In his address, Fiji’s Deputy Secretary for Transport and Energy, Malakai Tadulala, pointed out the challenges Pacific governments face in delivering transport and energy services to their people.
“The cost of providing these two essential services to our people is huge. Because of our smallness, limited resources and vulnerability, these two sectors pose the greatest challenge to our sustainable development as nations,” he said.
“Regional meetings like these provide a forum for governments, regional organisations and development partners to come together to discuss issues and share ideas and experiences that can be used to map out policy frameworks,” he explained.
The meeting discussed progress in the energy and transport services to date and how Pacific Island countries and territories can effectively contribute to the post-2015 development agenda at regional and international levels.
Recommendations from the energy and transport officials’ meeting will be tabled for endorsement at the Pacific Regional Energy and Transport (Aviation and Maritime) Ministers’ Meeting, which will also be held in Nadi.
Close to 200 participants are expected to attend.