Last week, the Government of Cook Islands announced its first Green Climate Fund country programme which captures the government’s strategy and approach towards dealing with climate threats. It also includes climate projects and ideas the government intends to submit to the GCF in the coming years. The Country Programme, adopted by the Cabinet on 5 March, was announced at a high-level donor round table on climate change, a first of its kind organised by the country.
The Cook Islands GCF Country Programme requests NZD 203 million from GCF. This includes projects covering a wide range of areas such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, building resilient infrastructure, coastal management and water resources, as well as boosting the involvement of the private sector.
The Cook Islands is one of only a few countries in the Pacific to have a direct access entity. The Cook Islands Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) has been successfully accredited to GCF, and together with their country programme, will enable the country to directly bring projects forward to GCF and access GCF financing.
The GCF delegation attended the high level-donor round table on climate change from 14-15 March. The delegation also engaged with a number of government agencies on how to develop high-quality climate change projects on infrastructure, grant award mechanisms for local communities and the Simplified Approval Process. The team also met high-level government officials and visited potential project sites in Rarotonga.
"The Cook Islands are extremely vulnerable to the increasing impacts of extreme events such as cyclones and storm surges. We are proactively dealing with these threats through our development plan which also includes substantial participation by the private sector," said Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown, who is also the Minister of Finance and Economic Management.
"We commend Cook Islands for their strong leadership and proactive efforts to facing climate threats. Their long-term strategic approach dealing with climate threats and the proposed solutions involving all development partners set a great example for other countries to follow," said Jerry Velasquez, Director of Mitigation and Adaptation at GCF.
Currently, GCF is providing funding to 10 projects in the Pacific region. In total, GCF has approved funding to 102 projects with total investments exceeding USD 5 billion. The Fund is committed that at least 50% of its adaptation funding goes to particularly vulnerable countries, including LDCs, SIDS and African States.