MFAI appoint returning Cook Islander Smaller Island States (SIS) Officer

RAROTONGA, 20 FEBRUARY 2019 (COOKS FOREIGN MINISTRY) – Cook Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) has announced returning Cook Islander Ewan Cameron as its newly appointed Smaller Island States OFficer (SISO).

In 2007 Ewan and his family relocated to Samoa for work within the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

The Smaller Island States (SIS) group of the Pacific Islands Forum comprise of the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu. This grouping within the Forum reaffirms the position of Pacific Leaders of the unique and particular vulnerabilities linked to the SIS relating to their size, natural resources constraints, remoteness, and specific development challenges.

The Cook Islands values the opportunity to work with fellow SIS Members to address common issues through building durable partnerships in sustainable regional development. A cornerstone of these efforts is the Smaller Island States Regional Strategy which has identified five priority areas for increased cooperation which encompasses climate change, labour mobility, Non-Communicable Diseases, marine resources, and transportation.

The SIS group offers the chance for the smaller members of the Pacific Islands Forum to ensure that the specific priorities of the SIS are reflected and captured in the regional public policy process. Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Tepaeru Herrmann, notes the importance of the group and as “a member of SIS, our voice and views become amplified regionally through working with seven other like-minded countries that we share challenges with, but also provides us opportunities to actively pursue joint solutions with greater influence.

The SIS group is especially relevant in the face of potential ODA graduation where the Cook Islands needs more avenues of influence to pursue foreign policy initiatives that falls outside traditional donor partner relationships.”

Ewan’s new role with MFAI as the SISO will focus on supporting the needs of the Cook Islands and assisting with facilitating the work of the Small Island States Unit located within the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) in Suva, Fiji. Cameron said he “jumped at the chance to work with a Ministry that was a good fit with his experience and advocates for the interests of the Cook Islands globally; gave him the opportunity to engage with international partners and has a great reputation with regional agencies.”

MFAI welcomes Ewan Cameron to the team and will also be looking to recruit further in the Foreign Affairs space in the coming weeks.

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