Cook Islands will play an active role in charting the future of the Blue Pacific over the next 30 years.
A region-wide initiative endorsed in 2019 by Pacific Island Forum leaders, including Prime Minister Henry Puna, is calling for the development of a 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
As a first step in developing the regional strategy, Cook Islands and other Pacific Island Forum member countries will articulate “drivers of change” – which are emerging issues or trends that could have significant and multiple impacts on the region’s ability to achieve the region’s 2050 Vision.
The vision sees the Blue Pacific Continent as: “a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and increased prosperity so that all Pacific peoples are leading free, healthy and productive lives”.
Across the region, consultations are underway to seek the views of Pacific people on the most important drivers of change.
Three consultation sessions will be held on Rarotonga next week from September 15 – 17 to solicit the views of Cook Islanders on social, environmental and economic and technological drivers of change. These consultations will inform the direction and focus of the 2050 Strategy.
The national consultations will be coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
Ministry secretary Tepaeru Herrmann said: “The future of the Cook Islands is closely related to the future of our Pacific region and it is important for us to ensure that regional priorities, resource allocation and efforts to achieve the 2050 Vision incorporate our national interests and priorities as much as possible.”
“For that reason, these national consultations on the 2050 strategy are timely as the Cook Islands are currently working on a successor to Te Kaveinga Nui – the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) as well as our first-ever national security policy.”
Representatives of Government ministries and agencies, the private sector and non-governmental organisations and civil society will be invited to participate in next week’s consultations.
“While we are under time, financial and human resources constraints for these consultations, we wanted to ensure that a representative cross-section of our community had the opportunity in this first stage to contribute to development of the regional 2050 Strategy to engage in focused discussions on drivers of change,” Herrmann said.
“On the basis of next week’s consultations we will be able to pursue our interests in future development of the regional Strategy, including through further national consultations in the coming months as may be necessary.”