Regional Workshop on National Security Strategies
The Australia Pacific Security College, in partnership with the Cook Islands Government hosted the Regional Workshop on National Security Strategies in Rarotonga, Cook Islands from July 26-27. Country representatives, security experts and regional organisations from across the Pacific gathered to discuss national security strategies as a means of safeguarding the region from the range of security threats we face.
The workshop highlighted the Boe Declaration on Regional Security 2018 call for all Forum members to develop their own national security strategies. These strategies reflect each country’s unique context and enhance transparency, cooperation and prioritisation within the region.
Central to the workshop was the launch of the Cook Islands National Security Policy 2023-2026 by Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown; with remarks from Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna. Attendees congratulated Cook Islands on their national security strategy and shared their experiences and observations on developing national security strategies as Forum Island Countries (FICs).
APSC are honoured to support the Cook Islands Government in the development and launch of the inaugural national security strategy. The policy outlines the threats Cook Islands face in a complex security environment and national initiatives to address them. It provides a clear pathway to continue building resilience and secure a future of happiness, safety and wellbeing for Cook Islands people.
We continue to work with Cook Islands through the development of a performance framework and action plan. APSC Deputy Director Dr Henry Ivarature will be returning to Rarotonga in September to present the performance framework.
The two days of dialogue and cooperation in Cook Islands concluded with the Rarotonga Communique. The communique captures the key messages and insights of the workshop including the need for a whole of government approach to both traditional and expanded concepts of security, as well as the importance of integrating community concerns on issues such as human security and climate change. The communique encouraged and offered help to Forum Members who are yet to develop their strategies, recognising that efforts taken on the national level enable collective security for our region. The communique will be presented by Cook Islands to the next meeting of the Forum Sub Committee on Regional Security.