Dr Simona Marinescu presenting her credentials to Hon. Henry Puna of Cook Islands. Photo credit: Cook Islands News/2018.

Dr.Simona Marinescu, the newly appointed UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for the Cook Islands, Samoa, Niue and Tokelau, said that the United Nations remains committed to support the Cook Islands even after the country graduates to developed status in the coming year.

Marinescu, who was in the Cook Islands to present her credentials to the government on Monday, highlighted the fact that there is currently a Pacific strategy signed off by the PM, Hon Henry Puna together with other leaders in the Pacific, and that this covers the period until 2022.

"No changes in our engagement will happen before the end of this strategy. I just want to make it very clear that the challenges the Cook Islands experience (after graduation) will always make the United Nations relevant."

In response, Hon Henry Puna told Marinescu that "Cook Islands has enjoyed its working relationship with the United Nations over the years and I'm sure that under your watch, that relationship will deepen and bear many fruits".
Dr Marinescu said the UN has changed its development focus to engaging youth through the establishment of “public governance labs” as well as digitisation, e-governance and having access to digital libraries that could positively impact on public and commercial services while making migration less attractive for Cook Island’s youth.

Prime Minister Hon Puna welcomed the appointment adding he was confident the Cook Islands would be able to configure a partnership with the UN that was meaningful and could deliver on the country’s aspirations towards the 2030 Agenda.

Ms. Tessa Tafua, Programme Analyst, Environment & Climate Change, UNDP Samoa. E. tessa.tafua@undp.org Ph. +685 23670  Ext: 21

Ms. Laufaleaina Lesa, Communications Officer, Environment & Climate Change, UNDP Samoa MCO laufaleaina.lesa@undp.org Ph. +685 23670  Ext: 25

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