The Parliament of one of the world’s smallest nations, Cook Islands in the Pacific, has become the latest nation to establish a Parliamentary Group on Population and Sustainable Development.
Vice chair of the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD), Senator Claire Moore, praised the Cook Islands parliamentarians for wanting to join the 26 other Asian-Pacific parliamentary groups dedicated to progressing the rights-based implementation of the ICPD.
“Cook Island parliamentarians have played a strong role in progressing a rights-based approach to reproductive health and population programmes to benefit their constituents,” said Senator Moore.
“The Cooks’ Health Minister and AFPPD advocate Nandi Glassie played a leading role in last year’s Asia Pacific Population Conference and we hope the Pacific nations will continue their commitment to evidence-based best policies at April’s gathering of all the world’s nations at the UN, the Conference on Population and Development.”
The Cook Islands parliamentarians formed their PGPSD during a workshop in the capital Rarotonga with AFPPD’s deputy executive director John Hyde, as they developed an action plan for the coming year.
Veteran Opposition MP Tangata Vavia was elected chair of the PGPSD, with Government Minister Atatoa Herman as vice chair, new Opposition MP Mrs Selina Napa as secretary, and the government’s population and development advocate MP Tai Tura as treasurer. More than half of the Parliament’s MPs attended the workshop.
Senator Moore also welcomed the parliamentary group’s willingness to work with AFPPD’s civil society partner, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).
IPPF in London helped sponsor the workshop and the Cook Islands local IPPF branch’s vice-president is the Cook Islands Parliament’s Clerk, John Tangi.
Senator Moore praised the commitment of Speaker Niki Rattle, a long time gender advocate, who attended the workshop and the support of parliamentary staff and executive director of the Pacific Legislatures for Population and Governance, based at Cook Islands Parliament, Tangata Vainerere, who will operate as the secretariat for the PGPSD Cook Islands.