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
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
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.