Financial Secretary Office News

Financial Secretary Office News

PRESS RELEASE: 20th Forum Economic Ministers’ Meeting

The Cook Islands at the occasion of the 20th Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) 3 – 6 April 2017, was actively involved in the deliberations which focused on ‘Finances for development solutions’ within our region.

The delegation headed by Minister of Finance, Honourable Mark Brown and accompanied by Financial Secretary Mr Garth Henderson and Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative Ms Nukutau Pokura; attended the meeting which began with the Forum Economic Officials Meeting (FEOM), joint dialogue with Private Sector and Civil Society with officials and Minister, and thereafter the Economic Ministers Meeting proper.

At the presentation of the Regional SDGs Roadmap to the meeting, Minister Brown conveyed an intervention highlighting the greater need and attention for FEMM to support and resource the implementation of the SIS Strategic Plan with special focus on tasking the Forum Secretariat to mobilize further resources towards the SIS Attachment programme specifically.  This intervention was also supported by other SIS countries around the meeting table.

Ministers and officials expressed concerns of the difficulty in accessing finances globally for development and stressed the need for global development partners particularly the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank Group (WBG) to expand on their definition of vulnerability and fragility from conflict crisis to include natural disasters and climate change impacts.  The potential positive impacts on Forum Island countries (FICs) due to the expansion of the definition can include but is not limited to, increased and easier access to overseas development assistance (ODA). 

For the first time in the history of FEMM a joint dialogue with the Private Sector and Civil Society, and Economic Ministers and officials was conducted, to which the Ministers positively acknowledged the contribution of non-state actors (NSAs) to economic development on a domestic level.  A call for greater engagement and involvement of Private Sector and CSO in development at all level was expressed passionately.

“The two keys messages that came out of the meeting were firstly, climate finance as an integral component of financing for development and secondly the traditional measures of assessing the vulnerability of countries must be expanded to include the high exposure of countries to natural disasters and other factors such as poor economies of scale” says Minister Brown.

Meetings of the Economic Ministers will occur on an annual basis at the Forum Secretariats headquarters in Suva, Fiji.  However, should a member country wish to host the meeting they may do so, the Republic of Palau has request to host the 2018 FEMM which was accepted by the Ministers.

For access to the FEMM Action Plan 2017, refer to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat website, www.forumsec.org, or contact Ministry of Finance & Economic Management and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration.

20FEMM

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Press Release: Government adopts a more coordinated and effective response to water and waste water.

On the 8 November 2016, Cabinet endorsed a proposal to establish a more effective approach to water and waste water (sanitation) planning and management. The existing project management unit (PMU) for Te Mato Vai will incorporate the management of the Wastewater Project (currently the Sanitation Upgrade Programme). 

This new approach will bring together key government agencies under one steering group enabling consistent government policy development and direction, more effective and broader community and industry consultation and access to finance for technical expertise not available within government agencies. The lessons learnt during the design and delivery of Te Mato Vai Project will strengthen this new approach. This approach is expected to provide a high degree of certainty and confidence to our communities and industry.

The environmental impacts of the growth in domestic housing and tourism development in Rarotonga and Aitutaki in our foreshore area are major concern and need to be addressed urgently. The existing water quality data and bathymetry studies will need to be enhanced to support effective decisions making as well as the consultative process with the communities and general public.

As an immediate step, a full assessment of options to determine the most cost-effective and technically viable long-term solutions for the collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater on Rarotonga and Aitutaki is required. This preparatory work will commence immediately and is expected to take up to 18 months before construction commences.

Government recognises that in the interim period before effective systems are in place that address the treatment of our waste water, decisions need to be made to mitigate the environmental impacts of substandard systems. With special reference to Muri lagoon, government will work within the law, and work with communities to develop interim solutions that minimise the environmental impacts on our lagoons.

The direction of the current onsite domestic system upgrade will be outlined in a detailed work plan under development to determine where the on-site treatment can be installed with maximum effect. A temporary pause to the on-site wastewater treatment upgrade on Rarotonga is required while this plan is being completed.

Developing an effective solution to managing our waste water and its impacts on our environment, our communities and our economy is a complex process and government looks forward to undertaking this process in a participative and consultative manner based upon sound science in the best interest of all.

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15 November 2016

Vacancy: Economic Policy Advisor

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management is seeking a motivated individual for the position of Economic Policy Advisor. This position reports directly to the Financial Secretary and is responsible to provide economic and fiscal advice in order to strengthen economic policy decision making for effective national planning and to build staff capacity of the Budget and Planning Division and related Government departments.

The role of the Economic Policy Advisor is wide ranging but will primarily concentrate on the following areas: Economic analysis, modelling, monitoring and reporting; policy formulation, analysis and development; budget development and support; external MFEM representation; and other general tasks requested by the Financial Secretary.

To view the job description download below:

Economic Policy Adviser - Job Description

Applications Close 4pm, 21 November 2016 (Cook Islands Time).

Please ensure all applications are submitted to Financial Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, PO Box 120, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

For any enquiry or to submit your application please contact etuatina.drollett@cookislands.gov.ck.