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Former Prime Minister’s visit part of the Pacific Islands Forum meeting preparations

Friday 30 June 2023 | Written by Joanne Holden | Published in Economy, National, Pacific Islands, Regional

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Former Prime Minister’s visit part of the Pacific Islands Forum meeting preparations
Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General and former Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna is visiting Rarotonga in lead-up to annual Forum Leaders meeting. MFAI

The Cook Islands’ preparations to host the 52nd annual Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting ramped up this week with an official visit from Forum Secretary-General Henry Puna.

The former Cook Islands Prime Minister landed in Rarotonga on Monday and has been meeting with national stakeholder leaders within Government, civil society, and the private sector on his five-day visit.

Namely, Puna has been working with the Cook Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration to co-ordinate the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in November, when the region’s leaders will discuss how to keep advancing the interests of its people.

The theme of the meeting will be ‘Our Voices, Our Choices, Our Pacific Way: Promote, Partner, Prosper’.

“It’s an honour for us to have Secretary-General Puna back home on our shores,” said Tepaeru Herrmann, MFAI Secretary and Special Envoy to the Forum.

“Our consultations this week follow discussions held in Suva, Fiji, last week with [Puna] and are aimed at progressing work to deliver on the decision of Leaders taken in 2022 and during the Special Leaders Retreat held in February 2023.

“Of particular importance is ensuring the Implementation Plan for the 2050 strategy, to be considered by leaders in November, which will ensure the security of and deliver partnerships for prosperity of our Pacific people.”

The event will include meetings with the Small Islands States, Pacific ACP States, and Forum Dialogue Partners. Most meetings will be held in Rarotonga, except for the Leaders Retreat in Aitutaki.

“As hosts and Chair of the Fifty-Second Pacific Islands Leaders Forum, the Cook Islands is committed to strengthening our Pacific Islands, bringing about better lives for us all.”

The event will be held November 6 to 10, after which a decision will be released through the Leaders Communique.

Herrmann said the Cook Islands was a “proud” founding member of the Pacific Islands Forum, which was established in 1971.