TECHNICAL co-operation, regional integration and pooling of resources are some of the ways Small Island Developing States in the Pacific can assist each other in complying with international maritime safety standards, says Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities, Captain Timoci Natuva.
He was speaking at the 15th Asia Pacific Heads of Maritime Safety Agencies meeting in Nadi yesterday.
Mr Natuva said the focus on four key pillars — regional co-operation, protection of marine environment, safety at sea and maritime search and rescue — during the three day forum presented challenges to Pacific Island Countries.
"On the whole, this agenda and its four key pillars pose the great challenge to our developing nations especially to smaller pacific islands states because of the cost of complying with applicable international conventions, the lack of employment opportunities for our seafarers in the pacific and the lack of resources and equipment to cover large search and rescue region allocated to each state," he said.
Mr Natuva stressed the importance of developing solutions that worked for each island state.
"The major challenge for States today, is how do we achieve it, given all our vulnerability and therefore, the focus of this forum must be in the development of a strategic plan or framework centering on the four pillars on how developing small island states could be assisted in achieving compliance."
Maritime heads from more than 20 Asia-Pacific countries are attending the three-day meeting which ends today.