FIJI NEWS

Think outside rocks: Puna

By MAIKELI SERU The Prime Minister of Cook Islands and chair of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), Henry Puna is calling for a fresh approach in ensuring greater economic growth
29 Oct 2012 12:22

By MAIKELI SERU

The Prime Minister of Cook Islands and chair of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), Henry Puna is calling for a fresh approach in ensuring greater economic growth and sustainability in the Pacific.
He made the comment at a lecture at the University of the South Pacific (USP) last week.
Delivering his talk on ‘Thinking Outside the Rocks: Re-imagining the Pacific’, Mr Puna said there was a need to reverse the global thinking that the Pacific were simply “dots on a map.”
“A changing world demands changing mindsets, and those demands are pressing for a renewed effort on our part to re-define our thinking in ways that reflect who we are, and what we want to be, on our own terms. For too long we’ve allowed a sense of smallness to underscore our outlook and projection to the rest of the world,” Mr Puna said.
He said island nations carried enormous significance well beyond our tiny volcanic specks and atolls as a vast, collective territory of the Pacific Ocean.
“These collective territories are nearly two times the size of Russia, and more than three times the size of the People’s Republic of China.”
In business and trade, Mr Puna said, Pacific governments are being pressed and shaped towards a new Pacific Order – one that would not necessarily meet the expectations of others or the perceptions of outsiders.
“What is important is that we choose what’s best for us. We have the ability to define what’s good, and we have the right to take commanding ownership of our future. I think the time is right that we take on a more concerted effort, as a region, to define ourselves on our own terms,” he said.
He said the USP was a microcosm of Pacific relations and the “seed” of the Pacific way of regionalism.
He said nations were being enriched through the USP as it has represented the region’s interests in strengthening cooperative ties since its establishment in 1968.




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