Forum Chair remarks at India – Pacific Islands Cooperation Summit

Forum Chair remarks at India – Pacific Islands Cooperation Summit


The Honourable Mark Brown, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands at the G7 Summit

Excellencies, Prime Minister of India, Colleague Leaders, Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General,

Kia Orana and warm Pacific greetings.

First and foremost, allow me to acknowledge the Government and people of Papua New Guinea for the arrangements and facilitation of this auspicious occasion.

I would like to sincerely thank Prime Minister Modi for facilitating my team, and I’s travel to Port Moresby for my team and I. We have held a series of critically important engagements in Bangkok and at the G7 Summit in Japan, and through your generous gesture, the ease of travel has assisted us greatly.

This third FIPIC Summit is an important engagement and partnership that India and the Pacific Island Countries share. To some degree, while we differ in size, we do face similar vulnerabilities, and our shared vision to address these through such joint efforts is welcome.

We share common interests in the energy sector, climate change, and creating sustainable oceans-based economies. Over the years, we applaud India for tactically tapping into the common interests and subsequently tailoring your assistance accordingly.

Prime Minister, while we are gracious for your support to the region, I also firmly believe that India can support the Pacific by joining our voices when we urge the global community to genuinely consider the plight of our Pacific peoples. For example, through the UNFCCC processes, it is imperative that climate finance is made more accessible to small island nations, such as the Cook Islands.

We recognise India’s effort to step up engagement with the Pacific; we also recognize India's efforts to strengthen ties through the QUAD. This FIPIC caters to a more inclusive region-wide cooperation instead of piecemeal engagement. These development partnerships, in my view, highlight the more normative element underpinning your engagement with the Pacific.

Your focus on south-south cooperation in the development agenda is warmly welcomed as it is essential that we strengthen local capacity through a demand-driven approach.

Your vision of creating a sustainable and climate-resilient “Blue Economy” through the use of ocean resources nicely complements our 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.

This year, the Cook Islands’ hosting of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting will be under the theme of “Our Voices, Our Choices, Our Pacific Way; Promote, Partner, Prosper.” It is our intention to adopt the Implementation Plan for the 2050 Strategy, and will strongly urge all our Partners, including India, to align their support to this blueprint for the Pacific.

We welcome genuine engagement from all our partners and see this engagement as an opportunity for collaboration. But this collaboration will be on our terms. This collaboration will be guided by our Voices, our Choices, and the Pacific Way.

We invite all of you and your partners to work with us and to learn from us, the Pacific, on how we can ensure the security, stability, and prosperity of the Blue Pacific and humanity at large.

Kia Orana e Kia Manuia.