Pacific Islands leaders attending the Small Island Developing States meeting expressed high regard for Puna, the Cook Islands Prime Minister.
He was seated next to the newly elected President for the Federal States of Micronesia David Panuelo, for whom it was a first time attending the forum.
Sopoaga welcomed Panuelo to the meeting and referred him to Puna whose experience on regional discussions for small developing states is well known.
“The Prime Minister of the Cook Islands is a seasoned guru,” said Sopoaga. “We can learn from him.”
Sopoaga said there were several issues to discuss such as maritime boundaries in the context of the sea level rising and climate change which is of specific importance to all pacific countries including the Cook Islands.
The Cook Islands' Exclusive Economic Zone covers 1,800,000 square kilometres of ocean and is part of Puna’s agenda for Climate change.
The Cook Islands is in pursuit of climate stability and this meeting is for the leaders to take their positions on important issues that they can take to the wider forum discussions.
Anneka Brown reporting from Tuvalu.