Rarotonga, Cook Islands, 20 September 2023 - Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister the Honourable Mark Brown met with Tonga Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Fekitamoeloa Utoikamanu last week in the margins of the Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting (FFMM), which was chaired by Prime Minister Brown at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
Prime Minister Brown and Minister Utoikamanu discussed Tonga's candidacy for the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director position and development of their respective seabed minerals aspirations, which is grounded in the precautionary approach and supporting exploratory efforts to better understand the deep ocean.
Prime Minister Brown also provided an update on the Cook Islands' preparations to host the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting (PIFLM52), and discussed with Minister Utoikamanu their joint efforts together with Fiji, and supported by the Secretariat in operationalising the Forum Troika mechanism and the need for additional resources to ensure its operational effectiveness and sustainability.
The two also discussed finalisation of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Implementation Plan, and the Cook Islands proposal for Pacific Partnerships for Prosperity (PPfP).
"Amongst the nine initiatives the Cook Islands is proposing as PPfP, of particular interest to Tonga is the Weather-Ready Pacific Decadal Programme of Investment, which Tonga has been at the forefront of promoting, and the Pacific Centre of Excellence on Deep Ocean Science proposed to be established at the University of the South Pacific," said Prime Minister Brown.