A NEW Oceania Centre for Sustainable Transport has been launched by the University of the South Pacific and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The centre is a one-stop shop for research, policy support, capacity-building and practical trials of projects that will assist deliver sustainable transport solutions for the Pacific Island countries.
USP's Professor Biman Prasad said the centre was the result of the hard work of the two organisations.
"It is exciting to finally see the establishment of the centre considering that despite access to appropriate and affordable sustainable transport being essential for social and economic wellbeing, there has been little regional focus on the issue to date," Prof Prasad said.
The centre will also help people in the Pacific get access to economic development and allow its people to have access to markets with products such as copra, seaweed, handicraft item and fruits and vegetables.
A joint statement by the organisations said, "for a number of years, IUCN and USP have campaigned for the need for sustainable sea transport in an ocean of islands where fuel is expensive and island transport is often inadequate". The Fiji Islands Voyaging Society has also been recognised as being actively involved in the fight to address sustainable transport.
The society's Colin Philp said their role was to provide training and capacity-building for seafarers interested in learning the use of renewable energy, such as sails for sea transport.