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‘Exhausted’ Prime Minister home this weekend after busy month of travel

Saturday 7 October 2023 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in Economy, Local, National


‘Exhausted’ Prime Minister home this weekend after busy month of travel
Svenja Schulze (SPD), Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, next to Mark Brown, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, at the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Pledging Conference in Bonn, Germany. Photo: Thomas Banneyer/DPA/23100613

Prime Minister Mark Brown has been away from the country for over a month, attending a series of meetings around the world.

Brown, who is also the chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, is scheduled to return home this weekend, “likely exhausted”, his office said.

He left Rarotonga early last month to attend the 43rd ASEAN Indo Pacific Forum in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Brown signed a “cooperation agreement” with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) following a meeting with Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo.

He then attended and chaired the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting in Fiji on September 14.

The implementation plan of the 2050 Strategy – the five-year implementation plan scheduled to be endorsed at the upcoming Forum Leaders meeting in Rarotonga – was one of the key agenda. The 2050 Strategy, endorsed by Forum leaders in Suva in July 2022, is the long-term regional blueprint to tackle challenges facing the Pacific region.

The Forum Foreign Ministers also discussed global and regional strategic trends and dynamics, the climate crisis, and a revitalised gender equality declaration. Other matters included region’s key engagement and advocacy priorities, including the preparation for the 78th UN General Assembly and US-PIF Summit, the upcoming Forum Leaders Meeting, COP28, and the release of treated Fukushima nuclear wastewater by Japan into the Pacific Ocean.

Brown then jetted off to United States to attend the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York from September 18-22, including the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development on September 19 and 20.

He then led the Pacific leaders at the second US Pacific Islands Summit in Washington DC on September 25.

PM Brown and other regional leaders met with President Joe Biden who announced a number of initiatives including climate assistance. Biden also announced the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands and Niue during the Summit.

From the United States, PM Brown headed to Paris, France, for the International Energy Agency Critical Minerals and Clean Energy Summit on September 28. The Summit focused on measures to promote the secure, sustainable and responsible supply of raw materials that have a central role in the global clean energy transition. The Summit convened ministers from countries around the world – including both large mineral producers and consumers – as well as business leaders, investors, heads of international organisations and civil society representatives.

Brown then attended the Underwater Minerals Conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands, from October 1-3 and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Pledging Conference in Bonn, Germany, from October 2-5.

According to its website, the Underwater Minerals Conference is the world’s largest gathering of ocean mineral stakeholders, including government, academic, and commercial sector professionals. The Green Climate Fund Pledging Conference was held with the aim of securing finance for climate action in developing countries.

Meanwhile Cook Islands News has made an Official Information Act request to the government seeking the travel costs of MPs and Ministers. The newspaper has asked that each MP’s travel costs, including allowances, accommodation, dates, duration and reason for travel in the new financial year, July 1, 2023 to now, be provided.