Cook Islands participate in Governing Council Meeting of the Pacific Community

Cook Islands participate in Governing Council Meeting of the Pacific Community
Director of the Pacific and Regional Affairs Division within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Antonina Browne, sitting behind the Cook Islands flag at CRGA53.

Rarotonga, Cook Islands, 27 October 2023 - The 53rd meeting of the Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations (CRGA53) took place from 23 – 24 October 2023 at the Pacific Community (SPC) Headquarters in Noumea, New Caledonia.

Chaired by Collin Beck, Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Solomon Islands, CRGA53 brought together 27 Senior Official Representatives from member countries and territories to discuss essential matters of regional significance.

During the meeting, members discussed a range of topics, including the alignment of the organisation's annual work programs with the implementation of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. This Strategy, endorsed by Pacific Leaders in 2022, provides a guiding framework for future regional development and cooperation.

As a central theme, the committee acknowledged the key role of SPC in attracting innovative and meaningful partnerships to enhance the delivery of member priorities. Furthermore, members collectively stressed the importance of ensuring SPC's core functions and mandates continue to align with the priorities and expectations of its member states. In this regard, CRGA53 continued the work towards a comprehensive institutional review aimed at refining SPC's internal systems and processes.

These improvements will provide crucial support for the coordination and implementation of member priorities outlined within SPC's Strategic Plan 2022 – 2031 and the 2050 Strategy Implementation Plan.

Throughout the deliberations, a consistent thread emphasised the centrality of member involvement in guiding SPC's work. Director-General of SPC, Dr Stuart Minchin, echoed members' calls for enhanced regional cooperation and the harmonisation of resource mobilisation efforts to achieve regional goals and priorities.

The Cook Islands actively engages in the work of the Pacific Community through various SPC bodies, including the CRGA Strategic Plan Sub-Committee and the Remuneration Working Group.

Director of the Pacific and Regional Affairs Division (PRAD) within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI), Antonina Browne, led the Cook Islands delegation to CRGA.

She commended the committee and SPC for their firm commitment to advancing the 2050 Strategy's implementation, and acknowledged SPC's pivotal role as the region's lead scientific and technical agency in further leveraging the region on the global stage to mobilise essential resources.

"As a founding member of SPC, the Cook Islands is committed to ensuring the overall well-being and integrity of SPC through our participation in this governing council," she said.

"We look forward to further deepening our collaboration with DG Minchin and the staff of SPC. With over 750 local and international employees, SPC stands as our largest regional organisation. Maintaining a transparent channel of dialogue through this governing body is fundamental to ensuring SPC remains fit-for-purpose and responsive to the needs of its member countries."

The outcomes of CRGA53 will be presented to Pacific Leaders for their consideration at the 13th Conference of the Pacific Community.

Tuvalu's Minister for Justice, Communications, and Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Panapasi Nelesone will Chair the Conference with the Cook Islands, represented by MFAI Director of the Pacific and Regional Affairs Division, Antonina Browne, as Cook Islands Special Envoy to the Conference, and supported by Foreign Service Officer, Eden Brown.