THE relationship between transport and energy and how this affects economic development and growth in the Pacific was highlighted by Secretariat of the Pacific Community director general Dr Colin Tukuitonga.
Speaking to delegates from 19 Pacific Island nations attending the second Pacific Regional Energy and Transport (Aviation and Maritime) Ministers' meeting in Nadi, Dr Tukuitonga called on island representatives to share and exchange ideas on how energy and transport challenges can be met.
"I know there is no silver bullet for the challenges and risks we face," he said.
"But if we fail to address these, we will undermine the hard-fought development gains our region has made over the past decades.
"Let us not lose sight of our uniqueness but challenge ourselves this week to make progress with what we can do, as a region, to ensure sustainable energy and transport services for all Pacific islanders."
Dr Tukuitonga also highlighted how global prices affected countries in the region.
"The relationship between transport and energy is a critical one.
"That the economic development and growth of Pacific nations is highly reliant on fossil fuel energy sources is unquestionable — we are vulnerable to global forces such as world fuel prices, and costs associated with transporting fuel to our region."
Acting Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities Jone Usamate said addressing sustainable development challenges was a Pacific-wide concern and a Pacific solution had to be sought.
"As Pacific people, we have many development problems in the area of energy and transport services that are common to all of us," he said.
The four-day meeting ended yesterday.