RELEASES: Focus on Pacific future as SG Puna leads final mission to Pacific.

Media Releases and News
13 May 2024

SG Puna is leading a PIF delegation on his final mission to the Pacific - his homeland.


Rarotonga, Cook Islands, May 13th, 2024 – Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna is embarking on a pivotal mission, focusing on Pacific regionalism for the future.  

SG Puna’s visit to Rarotonga is part of a Forum program of national missions aimed at fostering stronger ties and understanding of regional unity and how the Forum delivers on its mandate. This mission also carries emotional significance in that it is SG Puna’s final mission before completing his tenure as PIF Secretary General, and it is in his homeland where it all began. The Cook Islands visit will begin with formal courtesy calls on the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown, Minister of Foreign Affairs Tingika Elikana, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs Tepaeru Herrmann.

The PIF delegation, with advisers supporting SG Puna and Director of Governance and Engagement Sione Tekiteki, will then spend the day in national consultations with Cook Islands representatives, speaking to the history and state of Pacific regionalism, the 2050 Strategy securing our Blue Pacific future, and action for gender equality. Other specific areas for discussions will cover the Small Islands States grouping within the Forum, and a review of how regional organisations serve their founding mandates towards the Pacific at 2050.

“There is strong agreement and focus on ensuring our regional agencies can work smarter to serve our Pacific nations. We are also taking a deeper look at how groupings such as the Small Islands States Leaders are serving unity and regional cooperation. All this work requires national talanoa sessions to really help us see how regional public policy is being delivered and implemented,” said SG Puna.

“Three years ago, I came into this role determined to ensure the values of Talanoa and respectful sharing and hearing of views, would be a strong feature of how the secretariat listens to the leaders, and the people of the Pacific. National consultations are an important part of our monitoring and evaluation and must continue to be a key feature of engagement with our Blue Pacific continent,” he said.

Mindful of the Forum’s founding mandate, Economic and Trade priorities will also feature in the consultations. Presentations and feedback on a new Pacific roadmap for Economic Development, Private Sector and Climate Finance strategies, and updates on the multi-million-dollar Pacific Resilience Facility will feature during the discussions today through to Wednesday 15th May. –ENDS

Link to Cook Islands MFAI release