Cook Islands PM happy with Pacific Islands Forum meeting success

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in Cook Islands. PHOTO: PIFS 2023

Forum Chair and Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown is happy with the outcome of the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting.

“I am very happy with our outcomes as leaders. Of course, there are a number of issues, some very sensitive that we managed to deal with,” PM Brown said.

He said he was very pleased with the reengagement with dialogue partners and looking to how they can adjust their meeting setting so that they can have more fruitful engagements.

He said there were more constructive engagements with some civil society organisations and private sectors.

“But we really wanted an opportunity for dialogue partners in particular to hear what we were talking about and to see what our priorities are and to focus their responses on the theme agenda items we have set.”

Brown said all the leaders had been overwhelmed with the hosting of the Forum.

“The ability to enable them to really contribute to the two sessions that we have had as Forum leaders, Wednesday and Thursday, the retreat provided a way for us to have really good meaningful engagements, but in the lead up to those, the Pacific ACP meeting was fruitful, the plenary, Monday the sub regional group and smaller island states,” Brown said.

He said member countries had plenty of opportunity to raise issues to discuss issues and concerns in various forums.

Brown added that they received some great support from the government of Australia, New Zealand and other dialogue partners to make the forum a success.” 

Meanwhile, the newly endorsed Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF) has received US$50million from Saudi Arabia.

Pacific Islands Forum Chair and Cook Islands Prime Minister, Mark Brown, who was speaking in Aitutaki last Thursday, said: “This is quite a landmark that the Forum has achieved. It was initiated more than six years ago when I was Finance Minister and Prime Minister PM Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni of Tonga was Finance Minister and Finance Minister of Samoa to develop a financing facility so that donor partners could put money into it.”

He said it was designed in a way that’s simplified and accessible for Pacific countries.

Brown said its endorsement was a big success and they will now look to potential donors and contributors to the fund.

And as Friday was the final stretch of the Forum Leaders meeting, Brown revealed that Saudi Arabia announced a US$50million donation for the Pacific Resilient Facility.

This is after the Forum Leaders had reaffirmed their support for the Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF), which Brown had said was as a Pacific-led, Member-owned and managed community resilience financing facility.

Leaders had noted the review, reframe and re-design of the facility in a post-Covid-19 landscape, as considered and endorsed in 2023 by Forum Economic Ministers.

He said there have been hearing about a lot of contributions and the Secretariat would be gathering the comments and statements made by dialogue partners.

He said Saudi Arabia’s US$50million contribution to start the facility is a tremendous contribution and sets the tone for the type of engagement that the Pacific is looking for.

“We looking forward to seeing what other levels of engagement will come from dialogue partners and from observer members.” The Forum Leaders Meeting ended on Friday.