Monday, 27 April 2009 9:21 AM

Energy Exposes Vulnerability of Pacific Island Countries

Press Statement - The question of energy, like no other, gives full exposure to the vulnerability of Pacific Island Countries.

This was highlighted by Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in his keynote address to the Pacific Energy Ministers' Meeting which met in Nuku'alofa, Tonga 23 - 24 April.

In his keynote address, Forum Secretary General, Mr Slade said: "Renewable, sustainable and clean energy is and must be, unequivocally, our ultimate goal. It would be short-sighted however to neglect what can be done now to better relieve the very real pressures that many Forum countries face in meeting their energy requirements. Particularly, in our smaller island states"

He also urged the Region's Energy Ministers to ensure that energy be viewed within a broader and more strategic context and encouraged that energy be integrated into national strategic development plans and policies.

The Forum Secretary General said all Forum member countries have to grapple with the effects of climate change and consequences of dependence on fossil fuels. He cited the importance of ensuring the region's response to these challenges was collective, as should the region's view of what energy means for all Forum members.

"Energy cannot be thought of as somehow separate to issues of economic development, infrastructure, transport, climate change or food security. In failing to grasp the often understated 'true' value of energy, we open the door to increasing national fragility and in some cases the very viability of some communities."

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