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MFAI lead development of Cook Islands National Security Policy

[Media Release]

Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) has confirmed the appointment of Dr Jim Gosselin as National Security Adviser (NSA) to support the Ministry in developing the Cook Islands’ first-ever National Security Policy (NSP).

In launching MFAI’s Statement of Strategic Intentions (SOSI) in August this year, the Prime Minister, Hon Henry Puna, stressed the fundamental linkage between security and development. Rising security threats, he said, required the Cook Islands to step up national efforts to advance collective security and defend the rules-based international order through proactive engagement in regional security as well as multilateral engagement in global peace, security and disarmament initiatives. Towards that end, under the direction of the Prime Minister, supported by Cabinet, MFAI will lead in the development of the NSP to strengthen domestic security capability and provide guidance for the Cook Islands’ international engagement on security issues.

MFAI’s Secretary, Tepaeru Hermann, recalled one of the Ministry’s key strategic priorities, as set in the SOSI, was national security (‘Te Paruru tiratiratu’), that is, protecting and promoting the security of the Cook Islands. “A fundamental duty of any government is to safeguard the security of its country and its people. In today’s world, security concerns include not only traditional issues of defence, and safeguarding political sovereignty and territorial integrity but also such other areas as human security, environmental protection, transnational crime, and cybersecurity,” said Ms Herrmann. “Threats to our national security can have both human and natural causes and whilst a multitude of domestic entities, government and non-government, are active in the Cook Islands security space, and various international partners are engaged bilaterally and through multilateral organisations to support the Cook Islands security actions, there is need for greater co-ordination, coherence and consistency in the Cook Islands national security endeavours which is a major aim of the NSP.”

With the support of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ms Hermann said, the Ministry had secured the services of Dr Jim Gosselin as NSA to assist MFAI in drafting the NSP. “Dr Gosselin has resided in the Cook Islands for many years and is intimately familiar with this country and Cook Islands culture. With his academic qualifications (including a PhD in International Law from the Australian National University), extensive Cook Islands Government experience in various senior positions as well as lengthy experience in various capacities working for the UNDP, Forum Secretariat and Secretariat for the Pacific Community (SPC), Dr Gosselin is ideally placed to provide the independent, objective support needed to undertake this important work,” Ms Hermann observed.

As part of the Policy formulation process, consultations will be held with all relevant Ministries and agencies of Government, other Cook Islands stakeholders and regional and international security bodies. The objective of the consultations will be to identify areas where the Cook Islands’ national security can be strengthened, including through capacity-building in key security-related bodies. The aim is to present a draft NSP to the Prime Minister and Cabinet for consideration by 30 June 2020 after which it is intended that full implementation of the Policy can get underway.

The NSA may be contacted at MFAI (ph. 29347) and by e-mail,;

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