Statement


AS WRITTEN

COOK ISLANDS DELEGATION
STATEMENT TO BE DELIVERED TO THE WORLD SUMMIT FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT,
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK, 6-12 MARCH 1995

BY THE HON. TIKI MATAPO


 MR PRESIDENT, DISTINGUISHED DELEGATES,

 1. 1 AM HONOURED TO LEAD THE COOK ISLANDS DELEGATION TO THIS GLOBAL SUMMIT 
ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT HERE IN COPENHAGEN.

 2. MR PRESIDENT, MY PRIME MINISTER, SIR GEOFFREY HENRY, THE GOVERNMENT AND 
PEOPLE OF THE COOK ISLANDS SEND GREETINGS TO ALL PARTICIPATING NATIONS IN 
THIS CONFERENCE. THEY EXTEND THEIR BEST WISHES FOR A SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME TO 
THE DELIBERATIONS OF THIS CONFERENCE.

 3. THE ISSUES BEFORE US ARE COMPLEMENTARY TO THOSE OF THE PLAN OF ACTION 
FROM THE CAIRO CONFERENCE ON POPULATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

 4. PACIFIC ISSUES OF CONCERN, ESPECIALLY THOSE RELATING TO SMALL ISLAND 
STATES, ARE CLEARLY ENSHRINED IN THE MANILA DECLARATION, AGREED TO BY ASIAN 
AND PACIFIC SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTERS IN THE PHILIPPINES IN OCTOBER LAST 
YEAR.

 5. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE COOK ISLANDS HAS BEEN ACTIVE IN THE SOCIAL 
DEVELOPMENT OF ITS PEOPLE SINCE ATTAINING SELF-GOVERNMENT IN FREE 
ASSOCIATION WITH NEW ZEALAND 1N 1965.

 6. MY COUNTRY, MR PRESIDENT, RECOGNISES AND APPRECIATES THE ROLE, REGIONAL 
AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS UNDERTAKE NOT ONLY IN THE SOCIAL BUT ALSO, 
THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF OUR PEOPLE THROUGH BILATERAL AND MULTI-LATERAL 
ASSISTANCE PROGRAMMES. SMALL ISLAND NATIONS SUCH AS THE COOK ISLANDS HAVE A 
NARROW BASE OF PHYSICAL RESOURCES. THE PROVISION OF APPROPRIATE 
TECHNOLOGIES AND OTHER SPECIALISED ASSISTANCE PACKAGES WILL CONTINUE TO 
ENHANCE OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH OUR DONOR COUNTRIES AND AGENCIES. AND MY 
DELEGATION CONSIDERS POSITIVELY THE NEGOTIATIONS UNDER WAY AT THIS SUMMIT 
TO IDENTIFY ADDITIONAL RESOURCES THAT CAN ENSURE OUR SUSTAINED DEVELOPMENT.

 7. HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT IS AN ONGOING DEVELOPMENT PROCESS. MY 
GOVERNMENT RECOGNISES THE IMPORTANT ROLE THAT EDUCATION HAS IN MEETING THE 
DEMANDS OF THE LABOUR MARKET ESPECIALLY IN THE PRIVATE SECTORS.

 8. OUR POPULATION HAS A HIGH RATE OF LITERACY AND A HIGH SCHOOL ENROLMENT 
RATIO. WHILE MY GOVERNMENT WILL CONTINUE TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF 
EDUCATION AT PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS, WE RECOGNISE THE NEED TO 
DEVELOP SENIOR SECONDARY AND POST SECONDARY EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN ORDER 
TO GENERATE PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYMENT.

 IN THIS RESPECT, WE WILL BE LOOKING AT OPTIONS FOR UPGRADING THE SKILLS OF 
THE EXISTING WORK FORCE AS WELL AS PROVIDING TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES FOR 
SPECIFIC INCOME GENERATING BUSINESS.

 9. THE HEALTH OF INDIVIDUALS IS A PRIORITY AND MY GOVERNMENT ENSURES THAT 
PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO GOOD HEALTH CARE SERVICES. INFORMATION THROUGH OUR 
PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAMMES ENSURES THAT PEOPLE MAXIMISE USE OF THESE 
SERVICES.

 NOTICEABLE HEALTH PROBLEMS IN THE COOK ISLANDS ARE NON-COMMUNICABLE 
DISEASES, DIABETES, HYPERTENSION AND CANCER. THE THREAT BY THE AIDS 
EPIDEMIC AND ITS RAPID SPREAD IN THE WORLD IS ALSO A GRAVE CONCERN. AN 
IMPORTANT SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT MILESTONE FOR COOK ISLANDS PEOPLE IS THEIR 
HEIGHTENED AWARENESS OF THE NEED TO LEAD HEALTHY LIVES THROUGH REGULAR 
HEALTH-CARE EDUCATION PROGRAMMES SPECIFICALLY TARGETED AT NON-COMMUNICABLE 
DISEASES, WEIGHT REDUCING, MATERNAL CHILD HEALTH AND FAMILY PLANNING, TO 
NAME A FEW.

 10. IMPROVING AND SUSTAINING A GOOD QUALITY OF LIFE AS WE ALL KNOW IS AN 
IMPORTANT AIM OF DEVELOPMENT. IN THIS RESPECT, MY GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS THE 
MANY AGRICULTURAL PROGRAMMES WHICH ASSIST WITH PRODUCTION OF FOOD TO MEET 
THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE TOURISM AND EXPORT MARKETS AS WELL AS TO ENSURE OUR 
NATIONAL HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY.

 11. MY GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO EXPAND ITS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES 
IN OUR ATTEMPTS TO SUSTAIN SOCIAL AND HUMAN GROWTH BY FOCUSING ON TOURISM 
IN THE SOUTHERN COOK ISLANDS AND ON AGRICULTURE AND MARINE RESOURCES IN THE 
OUTER ISLANDS OF THE NORTHERN GROUP.

 THE BLACK PEARL FARMING INDUSTRY, SUPPORTED BY THE NEWLY ESTABLISHED PEARL 
AUTHORITY, IS ENDEAVOURING TO FURTHER DEVELOP A WORLD MARKET PEARL 
INDUSTRY.

 SUCH DEVELOPMENTS COULD NOT ONLY GENERATE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES BUT 
ALSO THE POSSIBILITY OF RICHES. OBVIOUSLY, THE SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF THIS 
MUST BE CAREFULLY MONITORED TOO. MY GOVERNMENT IS THEREFORE DEDICATED TO 
ENSURING THAT ANY BENEFITS DERIVED FROM DEVELOPMENTAL EFFORTS ARE EQUITABLY 
DISTRIBUTED AMONGST THE POPULATION.

 12. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES CONFRONT ALL NATIONS, LARGE AND SMALL. THROUGH 
COLLECTIVE EFFORTS, IT IS VITAL FOR PACIFIC ISLAND COUNTRIES TO PROTECT THE 
RICH AND VIBRANT ENVIRONMENT THAT WE ARE BLESSED WITH. EVERY ACTION, EVERY 
DEVELOPMENT MUST BE UNDERTAKEN WITH ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS FOREMOST.

 13. PRESERVATION OF OUR UNIQUE CULTURE IS CRUCIAL. REALISING THE 
IMPORTANCE OF CULTURE ON THE SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF OUR PEOPLE, MY 
GOVERNMENT RECENTLY ESTABLISHED THE MINISTRY OF CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT. THE 
PRIME OBJECTIVE OF THE MINISTRY IS TO REVIVE, PRESERVE AND PROMOTE THE MANY 
ASPECTS OF CULTURE THAT OUR PEOPLE WILL BENEFIT FROM.

 14. MR PRESIDENT, IN COMMON WITH MANY ISLAND NATIONS, THERE ARE 
SIGNIFICANT DISPARITIES IN THE COOK ISLANDS BETWEEN THE MAIN ISLAND OF 
RAROTONGA AND THE REMAINING OUTER ISLANDS OF THE COUNTRY. IN ORDER TO 
ENSURE THAT BENEFITS DERIVED FROM THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESSES ARE EQUITABLY 
DISTRIBUTED, GOVERNMENT HAS ESTABLISHED THE MINISTRY OF OUTER ISLANDS 
DEVELOPMENT WHOSE PRIME OBJECTIVE IS TO FACILITATE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC 
DEVELOPMENT IN OUTER ISLANDS COMMUNITIES.

 15. MY GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO PROMOTE THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN BY 
ADVOCATING THEIR EMPOWERMENT THROUGH A VARIETY OF DEVELOPMENTAL PROGRAMMES 
INCLUDING INFORMATION SHARING, SKILLS AND MANAGEMENT TRAINING, AWARENESS-
RAISING AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION IN A WIDE SPECTRUM OF SOCIAL ISSUES.

 16. TO FACILITATE THE EFFECTIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY OF DEVELOPMENTAL 
EFFORTS BEING UNDERTAKEN FOR WOMEN, MR PRESIDENT, MY GOVERNMENT IS IN THE 
PROCESS OF FORMULATING A NATIONAL POLICY ON WOMEN, THE FIRST OF THE 
POPULATION SECTORS TO BE ADDRESSED SO.

 17. MY GOVERNMENT RECOGNISES THE EFFORTS OF NGOs FOR YOUNG PEOPLE,. WOMEN, 
AND THOSE WITH AN IMPAIRMENT AND IN GENERAL, FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE COOK 
ISLANDS. GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS THE ROLE OF NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANISATIONS SUCH 
AS THE NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL, THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN, THE COOK 
ISLANDS SPORTS AND OLYMPIC ASSOCIATION, TO NAME THREE, IN CO-ORDINATING AND 
FACILITATING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES FOR COOK ISLANDS PEOPLE. IN FACT 
MR PRESIDENT, MY GOVERNMENT IS HIGHLY SUPPORTIVE OF OUR SPORTS-PEOPLE AND 
ENCOURAGES THEIR INDIVIDUAL AND TEAM PARTICIPATION IN NATIONAL, REGIONAL 
AND INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS.

 18. THE AGEING POPULATION OF OUR COUNTRY IS EMERGING AN ISSUE OF CONCERN. 
THE PEOPLE OF THE COOK ISLANDS HOWEVER ARE HIGHLY CONSCIOUS OF SOCIO-
ECONOMIC CHANGES WHICH HAVE ALREADY IMPACTED ON OUR CULTURAL AND 
TRADITIONAL SYSTEMS WHICH CATER TO THE NEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS OF VARIOUS 
POPULATION GROUPS SUCH AS OUR SENIOR CITIZENS. MY GOVERNMENT WILL ENSURE 
MECHANISMS ARE IN PLACE TO COPE WITH THE EXPECTED INCREASE OF OUR AGEING 
POPULATION.

 19. THE SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLE WITH AN IMPAIRMENT IS ANOTHER ISSUE 
OF CONCERN WHICH MY GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO ADDRESS DESPITE OUR MEAGRE 
HUMAN AND FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND LACK OF KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE IN THIS 
FIELD. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A CENTRE IN RAROTONGA FOR PEOPLE WITH 
DISABILITIES HAS GIVEN FURTHER RECOGNITION TO THE RIGHTS OF THOSE WITH AN 
IMPAIRMENT TO EDUCATION AND OTHER SOCIAL SERVICES WHICH EACH INDIVIDUAL HAS 
A RIGHT.

 20. ALL OF THE ABOVE INDICATORS MR PRESIDENT, RELATE TO CURRENT SOCIAL 
DEVELOPMENT OCCURRENCES WHICH MY COUNTRY HAS ENCOUNTERED AND UNDOUBTEDLY 
WILL CONTINUE TO ENCOUNTER INTO THE FUTURE.

 21. MR PRESIDENT, IN THE SPIRIT OF INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION AT THIS 
HISTORIC SUMMIT, I AM SURE WE WILL BE ABLE TO ARRIVE AT A COMPREHENSIVE 
DECLARATION AND PROGRAMME OF ACTION FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT THAT WILL GUIDE 
OUR NATIONS INTO THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY AND BEYOND.

 THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT.
 

The electronic version of this document was prepared at the World Summit for Social Development by the United Nations Development Programme in collaboration with the United Nations Department for Public Information.This version has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last posted: 25/01/2000 15:35:30
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