HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 593: 7 December2011

Making reforms happen
Minister Brown’s Speech on Effective Institutions and Policies presented at Busan Korea on 1 Dec.

Plenary Session 3 – Catalysing Development: How to maximise impact on development.
The Cook Islands supports the “New Consensus on Effective Institutions” and the rationale of partner led approaches to institutional reform which assists in driving sustainable change.
Specifically, I would like to focus on knowledge sharing at the regional and global levels. How do we facilitate what works in different settings to ensure that our institutions become more effective and reforms do happen?
The Cook Islands is small in population but sits within 2 million square kilometres of the vast Pacific Ocean. We are often regarded as a SIS but we see ourselves as a large ocean state. We have only 20,000 people to manage a modern country. We need to rely on effective institutions and policies for development. We strengthen our institutions because we need to become effective in how we use our limited resources.
The systems we established are based on solid democratic principles, the rule of law, the principle of transparent governance, attaining results and mutual accountability.
We have recently undertaken a PEFA, and from it developed a public financial management roadmap. A map that we developed to ensure that our journey to a reformed and improved public financial management system is ours.
We have also completed a functional review of government, one that will provide us with options on how to get the best from our public service.
We have now developed an ODA policy, overhauled our financial services industry and have begun the process to reinvigorate our parliamentary oversight mechanisms.
We are putting these systems in place with the view of improving government’s performance and also trying to assist our development partners to use our systems to deliver budget support and programme based aid. We are doing the hard work to improve our administrative efficiency. It is crucial that our partners recognise our efforts, understand why we are doing it and then come to the party.
How does our experience translate to knowledge sharing at a regional level?
The Cook Islands is a member of a regional body called the Pacific Islands Forum.
In August 2009, Pacific leaders adopted the Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination in the Pacific.
A key principle which the Compact is based upon is that country leadership, mutual accountability and mutual responsibility between Pacific countries and their development partners are fundamental to successful development outcomes.
The Compact encourages Pacific countries and their development partners to examine systematically how national development plans and budgets, financial management systems, monitoring and reporting of results, links between governments, parliamentarians, the private sector, civil society, and external aid all combine to produce growth and development.
It looks at the system as a whole and encompasses development effectiveness.
The Compact provides an opportunity for the Cook Islands to share their experiences at a regional level through a peer to peer learning process. We also learn from the experiences of our Pacific neighbours in a frank exchange of ideas and good practices.
Through the Compact we track regional progress against the MDGs and the leaders of our diverse nations of the Pacific come together annually to assess progress against results.
The Compact provides an opportunity to share knowledge of approaches to strengthening institutions and policies in a forum that has existed for 40 years. The Pacific Forum is an established regional mechanism that serves the member governments well.
Finally I would like to stress that when the delegates leave Busan, it is at the Country level that changes will be led, made and sustained. The Cook Islands would like to see that the changes we are making in our systems will encourage donors to take a less risk adverse approach to using them.

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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