Decent work

ILO reaffirms support to Cook Islands constituents

Advancing decent work and social justice, and close participation in the UN cooperation processes.

Press release | Rarotonga, Cook Islands | 19 February 2023
Mr Matin Karimli (Director - ILO Pacific) joins Ms Simona Marinescu (UNRC for Samoa, Cooks, Niue, Tokelau) to meet Ms Tepaeru Hermann, Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Cook Islands.
RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (ILO News) - The ILO Pacific Office has successfully completed a mission to the Cook Islands to discuss the UN Country Implementation Plan with key stakeholders under the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, and to conduct bilateral meetings with ILO social partners.

As part of the joint mission led by the UNRC Samoa Office, discussions with bilateral partners through the Australian High Commission and the New Zealand High Commission took place. Opportunities including possible bilateral support for UN agencies and specific projects were also highlighted. The ILO emphasized the need for a collaborative approach, involving social partners and Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) Agencies to ensure targeted support to Cook Islands in achieving its goals.

The mission was also an opportunity for the ILO team to meet constituents: government, employers’ and workers’ organizations on an individual basis.

In the meeting with the Minister for Internal Affairs, Health, Parliamentary Services and Agriculture, Honorable Vainetutai Rose Toki-Brown, ILO acknowledged the close collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs over the previous years and the current work being undertaken.

Matin Karimli, Director of the ILO Office for Pacific Island Countries noted the completion of the Social Protection Project in 2022, and the ongoing work on reviewing the amendments to the Employment Relations Act, and the ILO supported proposed Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Bill. Planned activities for 2023 were also addressed, in particular, the National Employment Policy development and the Wages Policy. Including the ongoing support towards the Cook Islands Labour Force Survey planned for late 2023.

Mr Karimli reiterated ILO's commitment to ensuring these are completed in a timely manner in close collaboration with social partners. Mr Karimli also discussed possible support to the development of initiatives encompassing youth employment, raising awareness on labour standards, and incorporating ILO programmes on SIYB, Digital Business and green business which could be effectively piloted in rural locations around Cook Islands.

ILO Pacific Director, Mr Matin Karimli met with key constituents including the Cooks Islands Workers Association and Cooks Islands Chamber of Commerce. © ILO
The ILO team also met with the Cook Islands Workers Association (CIWA), the Cook Islands Teachers Union (CITU), the Cook Islands Nurses Association (CINA), the Cook Islands Police Service Association (CIPSA) and the Filipino Community Cook Islands (FCCI) in providing an update on the CIP discussions and identifying areas of focus for unions in 2023. CIWA noted the need to strengthen awareness across its membership highlighting the importance of the need for unions and raising awareness on workers’ rights.

In the meeting with the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the ILO team noted the proactive approach taken by the Chamber on various matters including providing support to industry partners when needed. Capacity building was noted as a key area of concern where the ILO and chamber would jointly explore ways in which this could be addressed through a targeted approach.

The ILO team concluded the mission on a positive note reaffirming support towards its tripartite partners and ensuring a collaborative approach in addressing the needs of the people of Cook Islands.