Prime Minister calls for Blue Pacific continent recognition

By Soli Wilson 18 September 2019, 8:00PM

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, believes the new 2050 vision for the Pacific Islands countries must recognise the blue Pacific continent that makes up the territories and economic exclusive zones of the region. 

Tuilaepa made the point when he launched the fourth Regional Energy and Transport Minister's Meeting on Wednesday.

The meeting was preceded by a two-day Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in the Pacific (M.T.C.C.) workshop.

"The vision must determine how Pacific Island countries can form and effective union, building on the S.A.M.O.A. Pathway (Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action) and the Boe Declaration, to ensure a safe and secure future for the Pacific in the face of climate change," he said.

"Energy and transport are at the crux of global efforts to tackle climate change and achieve sustainable developments objectives. I am pleased to note in your agenda a session on the role of the energy and transport sectors to serve the Blue Pacific vision."

The blue Pacific continent is made up of 28 million square kilometers with 20 million people, 22 Pacific Island Countries and Territories and makes up for 20 per cent of the world's exclusive economic zone (E.E.Z.)

Tuilaepa said Pacific countries are already deeply engaged in the adoption of sectoral measures to give further effect to the S.A.M.O.A. Pathway in the Pacific and to serve our Blue Pacific vision. 

"I would encourage you all to be forward looking in the line with the new Pacific 2050 vision and let us focus on shaping resilient development and low-carbon futures served by sustainable energy and transport sectors," said the Prime Minister.

"There is room to take a coordinated approach towards ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets at the regional level for both the energy and transport sectors. 

"This will ensure these sectors contribute to our national targets, enhance the level of ambition and continue to lead by example at the global level."

Pacific Community Director-General, Dr. Colin Tukuitonga, said both energy and transport sectors in the Pacific are now engaged in low-carbon development as prioritiszed by the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific.

"Improving energy efficiency and investing in new technologies are imperative," he said.

"With M.T.C.C.-Pacific and P.C.R.E.E.E. (Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency), we are specifically working with the private sector to build capacity and accompany it in the shift to low-carbon futures."

For transport, Dr. Tukuitonga said S.P.C. relies on their advise in regards to a better integration of all transport issues and a balanced approach towards safety, security, capacity development, technology and energy, pollution prevention.

"More specifically for the Maritime sector, huge progress have been made in operationalising the MoU for domestic ship safety and in shaping the Blue Pacific Shipping Partnership and a vision for Pacific Ports 2030-2050, working towards targets of 40% greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030 and 0% by 2050."

Last month in Tuvalu, at the 50th Pacific Islands Forum, Pacific leaders endorsed the development of a 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent; outlining priorities for 'securing our future in the Pacific,' including through enhanced climate change and disaster resilience.

They also endorsed Blue Pacific Principles for collective P.I.F. dialogue and engagement such as a partnership approach and existing mechanism utilisation.

By Soli Wilson 18 September 2019, 8:00PM

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