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Collaborative Maritime Framework Set to Transform Pacific Island Maritime Sector


Nadi, Fiji (Tuesday 23 April 2024)
Despite being surrounded by vast oceans, Pacific Island
Countries and Territories (PICTs) encounter significant
challenges in their maritime transport sector. Maritime
safety is crucial in the Pacific, where remote islands rely
heavily on it for essential services. Over half of the
region’s population depends exclusively on maritime
transport.

Responding to a request
from Pacific Transport ministers
, the Pacific Community
(SPC) has convened a meeting with Heads of Maritime from 15
PICTs in Nadi this week. This gathering of SPC Heads of
Maritime Meeting aims to co-develop the Pacific Regional One
Maritime Framework (POMF), enhancing the resilience and
safety of maritime operations across the region.

The
challenges are severe, including ageing vessels, extreme
cargo imbalances, and routes that are economically essential
yet commercially unviable. Compounding these issues, the Pacific
has the world’s highest per capita fatality rate
from
maritime incidents, driven by overcrowding and inadequate
safety equipment.

The POMF is a strategic initiative
set to revolutionise maritime safety and efficiency,
focusing on enhancing security, promoting decarbonisation,
and improving service affordability and accessibility for
isolated communities.

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In February this year, the
European Union (EU) and SPC signed a funding agreement to
support the development and implementation of this
framework, facilitating the mobilisation of financial,
technological, and infrastructural resources.

Safe and
reliable transportation is essential for reducing inequality
and social exclusion, particularly benefiting women and
girls by improving access to educational, professional, and
public opportunities. Given the ocean’s prominence in the
Blue Pacific continent, secure maritime transport is vital
for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

In
his opening remarks, Deputy Secretary Operations at Fiji’s
Ministry of Public Works, Meteorological Services, and
Transport, Mr. George Tavo, expressed gratitude for the
support that has been instrumental in advancing maritime
initiatives critical to regional development.

“Sea
transport is the lifeline for our communities, facilitating
the movement of people, goods, and resources across the
Pacific,” said Mr Tavo. “This meeting underscores our
collective commitment to addressing the maritime sector’s
challenges.”

Additionally, the EU reiterated its
support for the Pacific region. The Programme Manager for
Climate Change, Mitigation and Energy at the EU Delegation
for the Pacific highlighted the focus on maritime security,
decarbonisation, and ocean governance.

“We have
various projects aimed at supporting PICTs in these areas,
including the recent agreement with SPC to develop a new
maritime framework aligned with the 2050 Strategy for the
Blue Pacific,” she said.

The Director of the SPC
Geoscience, Energy and Maritime (GEM) Division, Ms Rhonda
Robinson, outlined the comprehensive nature of the
POMF.

“This framework not only strategises sustainable
maritime development but also aligns with our broader vision
for a resilient Blue Pacific, guiding our efforts to meet
the diverse needs of our maritime sector,” she
said.

In line with the Efate Outcome Statement from
the Fifth Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers’
Meeting, there is a reinforced commitment to fostering
genuine and inclusive partnerships to accelerate
decarbonisation of the energy and maritime transport
sectors. This initiative reflects a regional collaboration
that not only anticipates the adaptation challenges but
actively seeks sustainable and inclusive
solutions.

The work to develop and implement the POMF
will be implemented in a partnership-based manner with
consultations regionally and nationally. SPC will be
co-implementing this work with partners from the region,
including the International Maritime Organization (IMO) the
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme
(SPREP) and the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility
(PRIF).

The second SPC Heads of Maritime Meeting and
first POMPF steering committee meeting finishes on Friday 26
April,
2024.

© Scoop Media

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