REMARKS: Forum SG Puna at the Launch of the Cook Islands National Security Strategy

Pacific Islands Forum SG Henry Puna

Remarks at the 
Launch of the Cook Islands National Security Strategy
Monday 26 June 2023, Edgewater Resort, Rarotonga COOK ISLANDS


• Prime Minister Mark Brown
• Ministers of the Government of the Cook Islands
• National Security Coordinator Maara Tetava
• Head of the Australia Pacific Security College Dr Dave Peebles
• National Security Coordinators from across the Blue Pacific Continent,
• Distinguished Guests
• Ladies and Gentlemen

Kia Orana, Bula and G’day to you all,

It is an honour to be here today at the launch of the Cook Islands’ National Security Strategy.

As the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, I stand before you with a deep sense of appreciation for the progress and commitment shown by the Cook Islands in addressing the crucial issue of national security.

The Pacific region faces a unique set of challenges when it comes to security. As our Leaders highlighted in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, our nations are confronted with a range of threats, both traditional and emerging, that require a comprehensive and collaborative approach.

The Cook Islands, by formulating this national strategy, has taken a significant step towards safeguarding the well-being and prosperity of its people.

A National Security Strategy serves as a guiding document, providing a framework that allows a nation to anticipate and respond effectively to risks and challenges.

It is a testament to the foresight and dedication of the Cook Islands’ leadership and its people that this strategy has been developed.

By doing so, you have demonstrated your commitment to protecting your sovereignty, ensuring the safety of your citizens.

In today’s interconnected world, security challenges transcend geographical boundaries.

They demand regional cooperation, collaboration, and collective action.

The Pacific Islands Forum has long been a platform for our member nations to come together, share experiences, and address common security concerns.

In the Boe Declaration, Forum Leaders made highlighted a premise that we all hold true – that regional security is underpinned by national security.

The Cook Islands’ National Security Strategy aligns perfectly with our vision of a secure, stable, and resilient Pacific region.

I commend the Cook Islands for adopting a holistic approach to security, recognizing that it extends beyond defense and law enforcement, in line with broad concept of security as outlined by Forum Leaders in the Boe Declaration on Regional Security.

It encompasses a wide range of dimensions, including environmental security, economic resilience, health, climate change, and social stability.

This strategy underscores the interconnectedness of these areas and highlights the need for a comprehensive response that takes into account the unique context of the Cook Islands.

The National Security Strategy also recognizes the importance of partnerships, both within the region and beyond.

By fostering collaboration with neighboring countries, regional organizations, and international partners, the Cook Islands will be better equipped to address shared challenges and leverage collective expertise and resources.

Maara, my friend, you I know we often joke that I hired you, and then left you alone– a one-man band, to take forward this important role.

But I want to note here, on the public record, that I always knew that you were the right person for this important job.

I knew that you would get the job done.

Congratulations on this excellent achievement.

The launch of the Cook Islands’ National Security Strategy is a significant milestone in the nation’s journey towards a secure and prosperous future.

It reflects your commitment to protecting your people, preserving your culture and environment, and embracing regional cooperation.

And now the real work begins – the implementation of this strategy.

But please know that you are not in this on your own.

You, like all Forum Members, have the full support of the Pacific Islands Forum family.

The Pacific Islands Forum stands ready to support you in implementing this strategy, as we work together to safeguard the peace and stability of our Pacific family.

Thank you and may the Cook Islands continue to flourish under the banner of security, resilience, and unity. —ENDS



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