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National Security policy launched

Thursday 29 June 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Economy, National


National Security policy launched
Prime Minister Mark Brown. Photo: AP/23051602

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown has launched the country’s first-ever national security policy, calling on for greater cooperation in the Pacific.

The strategy comes as the Cook Islands prepares to host the Pacific Island Forum later this year.

“As both Prime Minister and Chair of the Pacific Island Leaders Forum, I am well aware that the delivery of our national and regional aspirations and action plans cannot be divorced from the realities of international political and social dynamics that are constantly at play,” Brown told an audience at a regional workshop at the Edgewater Resort on Monday.

“We are well aware of the great geopolitical interest in our region, and we know why there is great interest. To that end the national and regional security of both the Cook Islands and the wider Pacific is truly an endeavour in which we all must play our part.”

The regional workshop was attended by more than two dozen high-level representatives and security experts from around the Pacific, in addition to the country’s national security director Maara Tetava Ariki, Pacific Islands Forum secretary general Henry Puna, local Cook Islands Cabinet Ministers, members of the Ui Ariki, New Zealand and Australian High Commissioners, and other participants from both home and abroad.

“In formulating our own national security policy, the Cook Islands has also taken a broad-based policy approach, grounded in a realistic assessment of the current and potentially most serious security issues we face,” Brown said.

“This policy supports our national aspirations for a stable, sustainable, and prosperous nation, as set out in the National Sustainable Development Agenda 2020+ and the Economic Development Strategy 2030. It reflects our fundamental national values, including our respect for the rule of law, human rights, cultural and religious practices, economic stability, resource efficiency and social cohesion.”

Brown said “our priority security issues are economic security and climate security”.

“Maintaining economic stability is critical for maintaining national security,” he said.

“Debt management solutions are needed for micro economies where the economies of scale can greatly disadvantage our efforts to meet debt servicing obligations. There has been no real effort to address our concerns in the Pacific. The responses have been a ‘business as usual’ approach at a time when it was most definitely not business as usual.”

However, Brown noted that calls for reform of the global financial architecture to address debt and access to financing by the G7 are encouraging.

“We wait to see if there will be any action to those words,” he said.

Brown also spoke of the need to address the impacts of climate change.

“It has taken us many years to have our voice heard that in respect of climate change our priorities are financing to build resilience and adaptation,” he said.

“At the G7 I stated that we want more climate action on our priorities. Again, the sounds of the voices were very reassuring. We wait to see if that translates to action because to date the Paris commitments eight years later have not been met.”