According to the director of Social Policy and Services at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Nooroa Numanga, it would be the second time for the Cook Islands to meet at this level since 2012.
Speaking at a workshop based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child at the University of the South Pacific Centre in Avarua last Tuesday, Numanga said it was important to progress the country’s position on the convention.
“The Cook Islands ratified the Convention in June 1997. From there we reported to the UN Committee in 2010. Then in 2012 a group went to a face-to-face dialogue with the committee.”
Numanga said in 2017 the Cook Islands then developed the National Children’s Policy Framework ‘Te Pito Manava o te Anau’, meaning the heartbeat of the children.
She said the workshop hosted by UNICEF last week was important for the key government stakeholders who took part.
“This is important because some here are new to this convention and we need to know what it is and what role we need to play and contribute as a country,” said Numanga.
“The Cook Islands appeared in 2012 at the UN meeting and little was done until 2017 when it became active, the roles are for the best interests of the child, this is fundamental.”
Meanwhile, Numanga said the workshop was about training government stakeholders and strengthening the awareness and understanding of the convention.
“Because the last time we had training similar to this was 20 years ago when the Cook Islands acceded to the convention.”
She said the objective of the workshop was to provide an opportunity for key stakeholders to reflect on achievements and challenges under the convention.
There were 26 participants at the workshop which also included non-government agencies.
Government stakeholders included Police, Ministry of Health, education and Internal Affairs.
UNICEF Pacific senior regional policy officer Talei Cama led the workshop and went over the UN treaty body, the Human Rights Conventions and took participants through the process of reporting.