Cook Islands is one of a few island countries in the region to complete the development of their State of Environment Report, says the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.
The 2018 Environment report updates the 1993 report, aiming to identify the keys and pressures behind the changing environment in Cook Islands.
It was approved by Cabinet on March 6 this year.
Minister of Environment, Robert Tapaitau said if the environment is ignored now, there is real risk to the country’s own development as a strong and independent nation.
Tapaitau recommended that all government agencies, all development partners and donors, and civil society representatives use the State of Environment Report 2018 to inform their actions related to the seven areas covered in the document.
The report will help document the social, economic and environmental impacts that result from changes in the state of the environment and current responses by Cook Islands to address changes in the state of the environment that better protect and manage resources.
Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Kosi Latu, congratulated Cook Islands on the completion of the report.
“The State of Environment Report is a new baseline for future reports and can help with national, regional and international reporting obligations including multi-lateral environmental agreements,” Latu said.
He said the achievement is the direct result of the hard work prioritising environmental data collection in order to ensure informed decision making at government, legislative, and policy levels.
The report also charts Cook Islands journey towards its national development goals in Te Kaveinga Nui, the National Sustainable Development Plan 2016 - 2020, reporting on the status and trends of 24 environmental indicators across seven themes: Atmosphere and Climate, Inland Waters, Land, Marine, Biodiversity, Culture and Heritage and Built Environment.
SPREP partnered with the Cooks Islands’ National Environment Service in developing this document, other agencies and Civil Society Organisations that contributed to the consultative process.