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Monday, May 14, 2007

Pacific transport officials converge in Fiji today to identify principles to guide regional transport development

Senior transport officials from the Pacific including Solomon Islands converged today in Nadi, Fiji, to identify practical approaches for engaging the Forum Principles on Regional Transport Services (FPRTS).

The two-day Workshop on the Implementation of the Transport Principles, also focusing on the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO), and the Pacific Islands Air Services Agreement (PIASA), is being convened by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

“This is an opportunity for our region’s transport experts to analyse and dissect pertinent development issues, as well as to share and discuss experiences on what works and what doesn’t work at the regional level,” says Forum Secretary General, Greg Urwin.

Mr Urwin notes that implementation of the Transport Principles is a key milestone for implementation under the Pacific Plan, the region’s guide for strengthening regional cooperation and integration.

“The Principles are specifically identified in the Plan’s priority area of Economic Growth,” explains Mr Urwin. “However, improved transport infrastructure and service delivery will inevitably play a significant role in also propelling the Plan’s overarching thematic goals of Sustainable Development, Good Governance and Security.”

In addition, Forum Secretariat Transport Sector Adviser, Seiuli Alvin Tuala, explains that the principles serve as guidelines for improving infrastructure and service delivery for both air and shipping services in the region.

“The purpose of this workshop is not to set new policy frameworks or guidelines, but to consolidate our efforts to implement the Principles,” says Mr Tuala.

“It is important for the region to engage in practical solutions to those specific priority areas that require further technical and financial assistance.”

The workshop is being attended by delegates from Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Observers include the Association of South Pacific Airlines (ASPA), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association (PITA) and the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC).

Source: PIFS

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