Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown has called on the United States to join in the global fight against climate change during a busy first day of the inaugural United States-Pacific Islands summit.
At the summit,
Prime Minister Brown welcomed the U.S. Government’s re-engagement in the global
fight against climate change.
He said President
Joseph Biden’s commitment to climate change action through the appointment of
Special Envoy on Climate Action John Kerry has been impressive.
However, PM Brown called
on the U.S. and developed nations to “move beyond political pledges to
implementation and deliver on climate finance commitments”.
During the first
day’s engagements, Brown spoke of the “triple whammy” of crises confronting the
Pacific – the existential threat of climate change (consequent sea level rise
and increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters), health crisis
(non-communicable diseases and Covid-19) and rebuilding economies that have
been destroyed by Covid-19’s impact over the past two years.
“The U.S. and
developed nations have to step up and deliver now on their climate finance
commitments,” PM Brown said.
“We need increased
grant and concessional lending and support to reform debt financing modalities so
Pacific Island Countries, and particularly those assessed through the flawed
GDP/capita measure as ‘high income’ can provide and ensure the health and
security of our Pacific people.”
supported by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration officials, together
with 12 Pacific Islands Country (PIC) Leaders, began the two-day US-PIC Summit
with a full day of discussions held at the Department of State in Washington DC
The first session
began with a working lunch chaired by Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken,
focusing on People Centered Development in the Pacific. The session covered
economic, cultural, educational and sporting opportunities for PICs with the
session, a multilateral discussion convened between U.S. Secretary of Commerce
Gina Raimondo and PIC Leaders, focused on economic and trade opportunities
between PICs and the United States.
The third session
was a Roundtable with U.S. Special Envoy John Kerry on Climate Action. The discussions
covered climate action, climate resilience, and clean energy
The day’s final
engagement was a discussion on challenges in the maritime domain – maritime
domain awareness, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, and
maritime law enforcement followed by dinner hosted by the U.S. Coast Guard at
“The Cook Islands
has always been interested in greater direct engagement with the U.S. and the face-to-face
engagement opportunities today and tomorrow afford the Cook Islands, PICs and
the U.S. administration the chance for a new chapter to our relationship,” PM
Brown said at the end of the first day’s engagements.
The second day of
the summit which began early today promises to be a big day, with anticipated
announcements by President Biden who will host PIC Leaders to a dinner at the
White House to close the Summit.
In addition to
MFAI officials, PM Brown and PIC Leaders and their delegations are also being
supported at the Summit by officials of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
headed by Secretary General Henry Puna.