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Third Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Meeting commenced in Nuku’alofa this morning

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 24/04/2017

The Deputy Prime minister, Hon Siaosi Sovaleni told the regional meeting which opened in Tonga today, that it is our responsibilities to provide reliable and sustainable transportation system and energy services for all as Energy and Transport Sectors are key.

They are drivers of the economy and there’s a need to create the conditions for better quality of life.  The Deputy PM was addressing the opening session of the Third Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Meeting in Nuku’alofa this morning.

The Deputy Prime Minister urged delegates as engines of their countries, to propose targeted solutions to achieve national and regional priorities.

“This region faces unique challenged in terms of geography, size of population and economies. Our joint and collective effort with regional actions that support our national development priorities and strategies is the most effective response to receive support from international community. As Small Islands Developing States including some Least Development Countries we have committed to face those challenges and turn them in development opportunities to achieve SDGs. But I would like to seize the opportunity to challenge you with specific issues you may wish to address today and propose solution”, says Sovaleni.

Hon. Sovaleni also questioned how both sectors will help achieve target goals in accordance with the Paris Agreement as all of the countries signed it and committed through the Nationally Determined Contributions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“How will both energy and transport sectors contribute to achieve their targets. improve energy efficiency and take up on renewable energy? Are we able together to contribute to international negotiations and ensure that there is special consideration from the international community to SIDS of LDCs in which is translated in to genuine and sustainable partnerships?  It is an opportunity to re-assess our approach to low carbon and resilient development. Perhaps we have been focusing too much on the efficiency on the power sector that it is high time that we give energy efficiency in transport a chance, after all it is the sector that consumes most of the fossil fuel imported into the region”, says sovaleni.

He added there’s a need to look at opportunities with a united voice to raise safety in the domestic shipping in recognizing maritime safety and pollution prevention standards for the whole region, a first in the world.

Acting CEO of Infrastructure – Kelela Tonga told the meeting that, throughout the years they highlighted the need for the Energy and Transport sectors to better respond to development challenges and ensure they provide quality and reliable services to all our people.

The theme of this one-week meeting is: Reliable, Affordable and Sustainable Energy and Transport Services for all.

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