Second Maritime Technical Cooperation Centre Regional Workshop

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.

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Welcome address by the Honourable Papalii Niko Lee Hang, Minister for Works Transport and Infrastructure.

Distinguished Delegates
Deputy Director Oceans and Maritime SPC
Development Partners, international and regional organisations;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

I would like to extend to you all a warm welcome to the Second Regional Workshop of the Maritime Technical Cooperation Centre in the Pacific (MTCC-Pacific) to support your ministers and heads of delegation during the Fourth Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers’ Meeting.

Samoa is privileged to host  these events in partnership with SPC. I would like to acknowledge the cooperation of all staff of the various ministries of Government in partnership with SPC, in  putting together a comprehensive  program  that will generate interactive dialogue and debate on salient issues in the energy and transport sectors for better and informed decision making.

We have in place a promising partnership with SPC to advance sustainable sea transport in the region. The Branch Office of MTCC-Pacific in Samoa with SPREP will be launched tomorrow. 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. Our expectations are for a strengthened partnership between governments and our CROP agencies including SPC and SPREP, and that the MTCC-Pacific office in Samoa continues to work for the region using country/regional experiences and lessons learnt.

MTCC Workshop held at Sheraton Hotel Apia

Furthermore I would like to request all international and regional development partners to consider continued support to MTCC-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.

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.

Our forward looking vision is to be able to choose wisely the types of ships suited to our circumstances, safe and affordable. Wherever possible, it  is important to consider viable financial mechanisms that will ensure that we are not  completely dependent 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. 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.

Already we know of initiatives that are leading the way in the region as evident in the pilot projects of Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership led by Fiji and Marshall Islands is growing and forms a strong framework for financing the transition. The groundwork has begun but the future remains to be further defined.

I would urge you all to make the best use of these two days of the workshop. As we take account of the current results, do venture to assess what facilities, infrastructure and vessels will likely still be operated by 2030 and envision technologies and vessels further into 2050.  I wish you all successful deliberations.

On a more social note, I would like to extend an invitation to you all to the Welcoming Reception this evening.

Soifua, God Bless.