A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the governments of the Cook Islands and Republic of Kiribati to strengthen regional cooperation in the marine sector by providing skills training, employment opportunities and exchange of expertise in the pearl industry.
The new agreement to support and facilitate the Cook Islands Pearl Farmers’ Initiative (CIPFI) will allow Cook Islands pearl farms to employ Kiribati workers as pearl farm divers, labourers, cooks and housekeepers, Cook Islands News reports.
It was signed at the Office of the Prime Minister by Cook Islands prime minister Henry Puna and Kiribati’s minister of employment and human resource, Ioteba Redfern.
The pearl farmers’ initiative is a pearl farming employment scheme between the two governments.
A statement from MMR said the initiative aims to meet employment and skills gaps in areas of demand by the Cook Islands pearl industry.
Puna described the MOU as a milestone as the first agreement of its kind between the Cook Islands and another nation.
“Thank you for making history by your visit. This is a perfect example of South-South cooperation: two small countries in the Pacific coming together to see how they can possibly work together in order to help each other,” said Puna.