Energy talks set for Tonga at the end of the month

NUKU’ALOFA-April 12: 11.45am (Environment): Over 100 high-level delegates and experts will convene in Tonga at the end of April for the Third Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministerial Meeting to discuss the latest international and regional developments in energy and transport sectors affecting the region.

The high-level meeting, which will be hosted at the Fa’onelua Convention Centre in Nuku’alofa, will cover energy and transport challenges and priorities included in the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific, the Framework for Action on Energy Security in the Pacific and the regional Framework for Action on Transport Services.

A joint statement from the Pacific Community and the Government of Tonga yesterday confirmed the meeting.

Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Energy, Hon Siaosi Sovaleni, will be the host Minister.

Tonga will be amongst at least 12 other countries that will be represented at the meeting.

“The meeting is timely. Individually as sovereign nations, we have obligations to these global and regional instruments, but more importantly, to our own respective nationally determined contributions and government’s energy and transport targets and aspirations. The meeting will therefore   look at adopting regional positions, which we can task our regional agencies and partners to assist us on and which we can go out to global forums and negotiations and promote with an united voice,” said Hon.Siaosi ‘Ofakivahafolau Sovaleni, Deputy PrimeMinister, Minister forMinistry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC) and Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Dr Colin Tukuitonga (SPC)

Dr Colin Tukuitonga (photo: SPC)

Pacific Community Director-General Dr Colin Tukuitonga said: “This meeting provides an important platform for energy and transport ministers to discuss and commit to regional positions and interventions that will complement national efforts towards achieving accessible, affordable, safe and clean energy and transport services for all in the Pacific region in the context of sustainable development.”

The theme of this year’s meeting is Affordable, Reliable and Sustainable Energy and Transport Services for All, which supports the vision of Pacific energy and transport ministers of their sectors being key pillars to enable sustainable development and eradicate poverty.

The week-long meeting will feature a combined plenary for energy and transport officials ahead of the ministers meeting.

High on the agenda for energy officials are discussions around needed reforms and regional commitments to facilitate the rapid transition of the region to a more cost competitive, reliable and low carbon economies.

Transport officials will have the opportunity to explore among other things, ways to improve the governance of the maritime sector; the energy efficiency and safety of shipping and ports; prevent marine pollution; facilitate access and contribution of women to the maritime sector; and improve coordination and contribution of Pacific Islands Countries to international negotiations.

The energy and transport ministers will consider the resolutions of the officials and will also discuss the concept of Green and Blue Economy as well as the challenges of access to multilateral environment funding to support addressing the region’s energy and transport challenges.

As part of the week’s events, SPC together with its members and partners will celebrate its 70th Anniversary in Tonga.

The inauguration of the Nuku’alofa-based Pacific Centre of Excellence on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) will also take place.

The Centre is part of a global network of regional centres and will work alongside Pacific Island countries and territories to accelerate their progress towards their respective national renewable energy and energy efficiency targets.

Among the high-level speakers at the meeting will be the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, LI Yong, the CEO of the Sustainable Energy for ALL (SE4ALL) & Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for ALL, Rachel Kyte, and the Director of the Technical Cooperation Division of the International Maritime Organization, Nicolaos Charalambous.

The Third Pacific Regional Meeting for Energy and Transport Ministers’ Meeting is scheduled for 24 to 28 April.

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