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“Honourable Prime Minister shares Tonga’s statement at Polynesian Leaders meeting”

6 November 2023

Cook Islands, 6 November, 2023:- The Honourable Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku participated in the
12th Polynesian Leaders Group meeting in Rarotonga, Cook Islands on Monday, November 6, on the
fringes of the Pacific Leaders Forum.

Hon Hu’akavameiliku met with the leaders of American Samoa, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Niue,
Samoa, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Wallis and Futuna to discuss key issues affecting the Polynesian countries.

In thanking the leaders, the Hon Prime Minister shared Tonga’s views on the different issues including
air, maritime and digital connectivity.

“We welcome the efforts to develop telecommunication connectivity. Common challenges we all face
is the difficulty in attracting and fostering private sector financing in infrastructure development, on top
of that list is high cost of maintenance plans for infrastructure,” he said.

“At the same time – we have our concerns on cyber crime and threats, we call for collaborative efforts
to enhance cyber security.”

On maritime and air connectivity Hon Hu’akavameiliku said this will play a central role in facilitating
tourism, trade and the upgrade of our infrastructures that boost economic development.

He said Tonga recognizes the national and regional challenges on maritime and air connectivity.

“But we need to increase awareness and scale-up the actions needed to improve regional maritime and
air connectivity,” he said.

The Hon Prime Minister praised the inclusion of education on the meeting’s agenda.

He said quality Education is fundamental to the protection of the future of our Pacific people.-

“But this is not enough. As I mentioned in our last PLG meeting, I emphasised the importance of having
quality, accessible, affordable and inclusive education including skills development at all levels,
especially for our university and vocational students in the region to be exempt from paying international tuition fees, that other international students are paying.”

He said the 2050 Strategy, which promises a new way of making a transformational change for our
people, was important.

Tonga is of the view that the young people should be taught what the 30-year old vision is about and the impact would be phenomenal in 10 to 20 years time.

The meeting also discussed matters in regard to the PLG members’ international engagement and
advocacy on climate resilience, oceans and nuclear legacy issues and how the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and the review of the regional architecture will benefit the Polynesian Triangle.

The Members also revisited issues regarding the Governance arrangements of the PLG such at reviewing of its charter to consider other Polynesian member applications and finalize the set-up of a permanent secretariat office in Samoa, the founding member of PLG.

The 12th Meeting of the PLG was chaired by French Polynesia’s President, His Excellency Moeata
Brotherson, under the theme “To hiro’a, to ‘auhune – Our Identity, Our Prosperity”. Leaders
reaffirmed their support to the theme of the 12th PLG Meeting emphasizing the centrality of
Polynesian identity to build Prosperity.

The incoming Chair of the PLG is Niue, who is expected to host the 13th PLG Meeting.


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