The Cook Islands Government concluded a series of bilateral discussions today with its development partners stating the talks had set a very positive tone for tomorrow’s Round Table Meeting
Development partners including representatives of New Zealand, Australia, the European Union, the Asian Development Bank and China met separately with Cook Islands government officials throughout the day “to discuss priorities for the Round Table Meeting and to focus on issues of mutual interest and overlap,” said Prime Minister Hon Henry Puna.
He said improved coordination of effort and support by development partners in the Cook Islands, clarity of funding flows into the country over the next five years and development partner priorities and new programmes of assistance were all broad areas of discussion.
“Multi-agency partnerships and joined up national programs, and the country’s new Official Development Assistance policy were also raised. Particular emphasis was placed on our priorities including water services and renewable energy and how our development partners could best assist and support us in those two areas.”
“More discussion on these as well as the National Sustainable Development Plan, and the review of the public sector will occur at the Round Table Meeting tomorrow,” the Prime Minister said.
As well as development partners involved in the bilateral discussions, representatives from Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, World Health Organisation, Food and Agriculture Organisation, the University of the South Pacific, South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Applied Geoscience & Technology Division (SOPAC), and UN Development Programme will also be present at tomorrow’s Round Table Meeting which begins at 8.30am.
The Round Table will be preceded tonight at 6.00pm by an informal networking event for development partner representatives to meet with HoMs, representatives of civil society organisations and the private sector.