HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 583: 28 September 2011

Looking into the future
Where we want to be as a nation by 2020

Government plans to release the 2011-2015 section of the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) to the public for comment on 1 December 2011.
Consultations have already taken place with communities and key stakeholders and their feedback has helped to reshape the draft to better reflect what the communities want from the Plan.
According to the draft, “These include a thematic approach to the NSDP, capturing priority sectors and policy directions within and across sectors to establish a sound relationship between the Cook Islands economy, people and environment. At the same time, NSDP 2011-2015 reflects our regional and international obligations including the implementation of the Pacific Plan and various Pacific sectoral frameworks, the Millennium Development Goals, the Rio Declaration, Barbados Plan of Action and the Mauritius Strategy. Also integral to NSDP 2011-2015 is the promotion of our people’s human rights.
Depopulation continues to be the greatest challenge to our sustainable development. The NSDP 2011-2015 hopes lift the development of the Cook Islands to a level that will curb the depopulation trend and encourage the return migration of our people. This approach has been based on the understanding the best policies are not those specifically designed for migrants, but those designed for the entire home population from which the migrant can benefit from.
The NSDP 2011-2015 is another step to securing the transition, over time, to an environmentally sustainable society and economy, recognising that sustainable development is a continuing process which needs ongoing assessment and refinement. Therefore the NSDP is a living document.”
The draft is currently a 57 page document which includes 7 priorities. Within each priority area is a goal and a list of objectives and the strategies for achieving the objectives for each priority. Also set out are the steps that will be taken to measure the success or otherwise of the strategies.
The seven priority areas are;
Economic Development, Social Development, Ecological Sustainability, Infrastructure, Governance, Law and Order and Resilience.
The draft also looks at the first phase of the NSDP, 2007-2010 and what was achieved.
It was concluded more work was needed. According to the report,
“The NSDP 2007-2010 while it had its limitations, taught us some valuable lessons. It has taught us that while we must aspire to greater things, we must also be realistic about what we plan to do, our ability to finance the plan, and our capacity to implement the plan.
It has also taught us to promote a stronger emphasis on desired outcomes and be strategic in our thinking. We must continually ask what are the overall results that we are trying to achieve and how are we going to get there? What tradeoffs are we prepared to make in the pursuit of these outcomes? How will we know when we get there and how will we manage the risks along the way?
NSDP 2007-2010 has encouraged us to align strategies and interventions across agencies to achieve a more unified approach to government’s investment and invite alignment between central government, private sector, NGOs and our communities, where successive NSDPs should provide a resource for active citizen engagement in public policy.
In summary, these lessons should ensure that we build upon the foundation set by NSDP 2007-2010 to formulate a more robust NSDP 2011-2015 to achieve a balance, where economic, social and environmental development are mutually supporting and sustainable.”
The NSDP is an ambitious document setting out where we want to be as a country by the year 2020. It is a country vision of a future which is sustainable and brings benefits economically and socially.
To recap, the timelines for the NSDP document are;
23 September 2011-draft circulated for comment.
26 september-7 October 2011-review of draft and submission of comments.
17-28 October 2011-sector meetings.
15 November 2011-finalisation by Cabinet.
1 December 2011-publish to coincide with the Budget Policy Statement.
When the document is released for comment, get a copy and study it. It is important that as many people as possible have a say in the country’s future.
The first phase of the NSDP (2007-2010) took place under the Democratic Party government of PM Hon Jim Marurai. Expect this next phase (2011-2015) to align the vision more closely and in tune with the Cook Islands Party vision espoused under their election manifesto. -Charles Pitt

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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