Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Henry Puna, received a warm welcome home on his first official visit to the Cook Islands since becoming the Secretary-General in 2021.
Secretary-General Puna is undertaking regional high-level consultations that have seen him most recently in Samoa and Australia.
The Cook Islands is host of the Fifty-Second Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting (PIFLM52) to be held from 06 to 10 November this year.
The Cook Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) is working with PIFS to coordinate the annual Meeting that unites Pacific Leaders who articulate regional collective actions for the year ahead to help advance the interests of Pacific Islands people.
The Cook Islands, through Prime MinisterMark Brown, will remain at the helm as Chair of the Forum until the Pacific baton is passed to Tonga as the next incoming Chair in 2024.
‘Our Voices, Our Choices, Our Pacific Way: Promote, Partner, Prosper’ is the theme that will underpin discussions led by Pacific Islands Leaders when they meet in November.
“As a proud founding member of our Pacific Islands Forum, formed in 1971, the Cook Islands looks forward to welcoming our Pacific Islands Leaders to our shores come November,” said Tepaeru Herrmann, Special Envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum and Secretary of the MFAI.
“Our consultations this week follow discussions held in Suva, Fiji last week with PIFS 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 Pacific Islands Leaders Forum in November will include standing meetings of PIF Leaders including the Small Islands States, Pacific ACP States, PIF Meetings and PIF Meetings with Forum Dialogue Partners.
All meetings will be held in Rarotonga, except for the Leaders Retreat, which will convene in Aitutaki, after which the decision of Leaders will be released through the Leaders Communique.
While in the Cook Islands, Secretary-General Puna will meet with a wide spectrum of national stakeholder leaders within government, civil society, and private sector levels. He will also be addressing the Cook Islands Parliament.
“It’s an honour for us to have Secretary-General Puna back home on our shores. As a former Cook Islands Prime Minister of a decade, he has played a pivotal role in shaping our nation and continues to contribute through his role as Secretary-General,” said Herrmann.
“Now working to make a difference on the Pacific regional stage, we look forward to working with him and his team. 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.”
Secretary-General Puna and the delegation from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat will be in the Cook Islands from 26 – 30 June 2023.
The Fifty-Second Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting will be hosted in Rarotonga, Cook Islands from 06 – 10 November 2023 with the Pacific Leaders Retreat to take place in Aitutaki.
SOURCE: COOK ISLANDS GOVT/PACNEWS