27 Aug 2009

Cooks submits shelf claim to UN Commission

4:54 pm on 27 August 2009

The Cook Islands government says its presentation to the United Nations to claim over 400,000 square kilometres of continental shelf has gone very well.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sir Terepai Maoate, has told the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in New York that his country is highly vulnerable environmentally and economically.

He says it has limited resources, is isolated, has a small size and population with a narrow economic diversification and, like the rest of the Pacific, has to face the regular threat of cyclones.

Sir Terepai says it only takes one major cyclone to wipe out a whole community, destroy critical links with the outside world and damage the country's most dynamic growth sectors, the first being tourism.

He says his government is aware that the seabed around the country contains rich deposits of manganese which they hope to mine eventually.

Sir Terepai told the Commission that his Government recognises what potential benefits access to the continental shelf could bring future generations of Cook Islanders.