In 2015, the Cook Islands reached new milestones in being the first country in the Pacific region to receive a Readiness Grant from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to help prepare them to work with the fund.
They have since proposed and accessed three readiness grants. All build upon the previous works under these grants to assist government agencies and non-governmental organisations improve their understanding of the GCF. They also promote concept ideas for development projects that mitigate or adapt to climate change, to help strengthen the resilience of Cook Islands peoples to the impacts of climate change. In late 2018, the Cook Islands reached a milestone as the first Pacific country to be accredited for Direct Access to the GCF.
The Cook Islands has also received funding from the Adaptation Fund, firstly under the “Strengthening the Resilience of our Islands and our Communities to Climate Change” project, a five-year $US5.3 million project that ended in early 2018, followed by the “Pa Enua Action for Resilient Livelihoods (PEARL)” Project from 2018 to 2021 for which around $US3 million has been allocated.
The adaptation fund provides funding to help vulnerable countries adapt to climate change, alongside the GCF. In the Cook Islands, funding received from both the GCF and adaptation fund are administered and managed through the Cook Islands Ministry of Finance and Economic Management and the Climate Change Cook Islands office, located at the Office of the Prime Minister.
With climate negotiations now underway at COP24, the Cook Islands and other small island developing states - known as the Alliance of Small Island States, are calling for all funding mechanisms under the Paris Agreement, the Adaptation Fund, and the Green Climate Fund to be replenished by developed world countries. This would enable those countries impacted by climate change to adapt and mitigate those impacts with financial resources.
“We have benefitted from the adaptation fund, and now the Green Climate Fund’s support is assisting us to address climate change across all of our society on the islands back in the Pacific,” a spokesperson for the Cook Islands conference delegation said.
“In this changing world, adapting to the impacts of climate change is crucial for our way of life, we must continue to breathe life into this Fund by moving it to serve the Paris Agreement. This is also a prime example of where the work we do at the conferences flows down to have real action on the ground in our country.”
The Green Climate Fund helps fund activities to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries and assists vulnerable countries adapt to the impacts of climate change. Formed under the UNFCCC, developed countries have committed to jointly raise $US100 billion by 2020. As of May this year, $10.3 billion had been reached.
The Cook Islands has received approximately USD15 million from the GCF approved project with the Asian Development Bank on Renewable Energy, aiming to reach 100% renewable energy generation by 2020
“We are now calling on developed countries to honour their commitment to reach the USD 100 billion goal by 2020. There is still a long way to go, however, we are buoyed by the most recent announcement by the Government of Germany who pledged 1.5 billion euro to the GCF first call for replenishment. We are expecting more pledges and many of our partner countries agree that globally we need to act together, while many countries need support to achieve those goals,” said Mr King.
“The Green Climate Fund is a major source of support to help bring about climate action on the ground. We need the financial resources to make things happen. When funds are mobilised as committed to the Green Climate Fund, this then sees funds disbursed in countries that need help to mitigate and adapt to climate change.”