Workshop dedicated to future of Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre

The fourth Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers Meeting, was convened in Apia on Tuesday with the aim of extending environmentally friendly transport across the region including lowering emissions from sea freight. 

But ahead of the Ministers' forum a workshop was held on Monday concerning the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in the Pacific (M.T.C.C.-Pacific).

The M.T.C.C.-Pacific, which is based in Fiji and has been funded by the European Union and the International Maritime Organisation, aims to promote low-carbon transport options to help achieve United Nations sustainability targets. 

In a keynote address, the Minister of Works, Transportation and Infrastructure, Papali'i Niko Lee Hang, welcomed the participants by requesting all international and regional development partners to consider continuing their support of the M.T.C.C.-Pacific and in-country presence throughout the Pacific.

"We need to harness the scientific and technical expertise that is available, to support our maritime industries and governments to build and enhance capacity to conduct the necessary revolution for sustainable mobility in our Blue Pacific continent," he said, at the TATTE conference room.

A new branch office for the Centre was opened in Samoa on Tuesday, to be run with the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.). The Minister said that it the broader project underscored the need for making sea transport the next frontier for climate action. 

"Samoa’s view is that, it is not just about appointing a project officer here in Samoa, but it is also about extending excellence in low-carbon sea transport throughout the region," said Papali'i.

"Why is this seen as a revolution? Because it mirrors the transition from sails to the use of fossil fuels in the maritime sector.

"We need to steer and influence reforms in the sector so that we can effectively address the impacts of climate change towards sustainable sea transport in the region.

"We as leaders count on your technical advice and support to focus on relevant policies and initiatives to ensure we achieve our aspirations for sustainable sea transport."

The Minister said the Government's vision is to choose ships that are suited to Samoa's circumstances, safe and affordable, saying it is important to consider viable financial mechanisms that will ensure less dependency on international assistance.

"We envision low-carbon futures for the Pacific maritime industry that would lead to the development and empowerment of our private sector, to building the capacity within the region to design and operate new technology and new vessels, and to innovate in financing the transition and in policy making," he said.

"Importantly we would like to have access to reliable data, set ambitious targets that are time bound and measurable in order for us to make better informed decisions."

Papali'i said Samoa was privileged to host the event in partnership with Pacific Community (S.P.C.), saying they have in place a promising partnership with SPC to advance sustainable sea transport in the region:

"Our expectations are for a strengthened partnership between governments and our C.R.O.P. [Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific] agencies including S.P.C. and .S.P.R.E.P., and that the M.T.C.C.-Pacific office in Samoa continues to work for the region using country [or] regional experiences and lessons learnt."

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