Cook Islands secure adaptation funds for outer island communities

Eleven outer island communities of the Cook Islands will strength their resilience to climate change impacts across key development sectors, with support from the Kyoto Protocol Adaptation Fund.

A five million dollar Climate Change Adaptation Programme will be implemented from 2012 to 2017 with the guidance of the Pa Enua or outer island communities, targeting sectors such as the water, health, agriculture and marine resources.

The Inception workshop held in July pulled together key stakeholders from the Pa Enua and government ministries to confirm the working arrangements for the five-year Adaptation Programme.

cookislands adaptationPhoto by Diane McFadzien: Joseph Brider (right) and Mii Matamaki (left) from Cook Islands National Environment Service working with stakeholders to seek their input into project governance structures.

Climate change issues will be addressed through this programme, such as the risk of salt water intrusion and longer periods of less rainfall, particularly the northern atolls that rely on rain water.

Activities will ensure that tourism operations are made more climate change resilient on islands that have tourist activities, coastal protection will be planned through island specific solutions.

Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Climate Change Adaptation Advisor Ms Diane McFadzien said that due to the diversity of the islands, the implementation carried out will be specific to each island.

"One size solution will not fit all - so island specific Joint National Action Plans (JNAPs) will be implemented, based on their specific vulnerabilities."

McFadzien was invited by the Cook Islands government to provide direct support and technical input into the programme's planning process.

"This programme is a muribeachparticularly exciting one as it focuses primarily on implementation with the majority of resources directed at the Pa Enua communities," said McFadzien.

Muri Beach, Rarotonga
© D. McFadzien

The inception workshop was important to not only update communities on the next steps, but to also ensure that they remain an integral part of the programme throughout its implementation.

Part of the programme is to also help enhance the capacity of the island agencies and community groups so they are better equipped to implement solutions.

This project resulted from a series of national level consultations which were carried out in the Cook Islands early 2011. The Funds were accessed by the Cook Islands government through the Adaptation Fund with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme, the official Implementation Agency.

This new Adaptation Programme will be managed by the Climate Change Cook Islands Division and implementation will be carried out in partnership with the 11 Pa Enua, key government and civil society stakeholders.

The United Nations Development Programme and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community were also present at the inception workshop held in Rarotonga from 2 – 6 July.

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