“The Minister of Finance and Prime Minister Mark Brown will not be attending the forthcoming Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM 2022) in Vanuatu despite a successful election campaign due to post election commitments.
The Prime Minister stated, I am disappointed that I cannot attend. I am one of the longest serving Economic Ministers in the region and it is a pivotable moment in our regions history as we seek to recover from the economic crisis imposed by Covid 19. I will be sending the Financial Secretary Garth Henderson to represent the Cook Islands.
The Cook Islands looks forward to the opportunity to further discuss progress on the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific. We intend to continue to promote our cautious seabed endeavors within the context of the Blue Pacific. Further development of the Blue Pacific Economic Strategy is critically important and must recognize the short- and medium-term impacts of the economic crisis we face to enable ourselves to develop appropriate responses.
I am extremely proud of the way in which our country responded to Covid 19. We have sustained our businesses, opened our borders and protected our people. Many challenges remain as we seek to rebuild our economy. Like many of our fellow Forum Member countries, we need access to finance, more grants and debt at acceptable terms and conditions if we are to minimize the economic scarring. I will instruct the Financial Secretary to continue the strong statements I made at the Regional Debt Conference in April this year. However, we need to move beyond the rhetoric towards practical financial support. The sooner the better.
The Pacific Catastrophic Risk Insurance Company (PCRIC) is our only regional institution, unique and innovative, providing one of the few available public infrastructure insurance coverages across the region. Despite border closures, PCRIC has developed new rainfall insurance products due to member demands. FEMM 2022 provides the first face to face opportunity for member countries to discuss progress and efforts to strengthen support for PCRIC.
I would like to acknowledge the support over the years from the World Bank, the governments of Germany, Japan, UK, USA. Especially Germany for its grant of €10.0M in December 2021 for premium financing to help subsidise the cost of PCRIC insurance policies to vulnerable Pacific Island nations. At a time of major fiscal constraint, this support is welcome.
Congratulations to the government of Vanuatu for opening borders and providing an excellent venue for FEMM, I wish you well.”
See statement here: https://lnkd.in/gM4-KsUZ