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Fifteen officials representing Cooks at COP27 in Egypt

Saturday 5 November 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Business, Economy, Environment, National

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Fifteen officials  representing Cooks  at COP27 in Egypt
Prime Minister Mark Brown. PM’s Office/22110426

The Cook Islands has taken a delegation of 15 people to a major Climate Change Conference in Egypt, but is still remaining schtum on how much it is costing.

The delegation to the 27th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27), which starts on November 6, is being led by Prime Minister Mark Brown, with PM’s Office chief of staff Ben Ponia assisting.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) negotiations will be led by Wayne King, the director for Climate Change Office at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).

A Government spokesperson told Cook Islands News that the delegation also includes officials and consultants from the OPM Climate Change Office and OPM Central Policy and Planning Office, officials from Ministry for Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) Development Coordination Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann and officials.

“Around 15 persons (including international consultants) are in the Cook Islands delegation, with the majority of them having been funded by development partners and regional funding streams,” the spokesperson said.

“These include South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Pacific Youth Council, UN Climate Convention, Women Environment and Development Organisation, self-funding, Alliance of Small Island States, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. All these organisations are paying full costs for the attendance of 13 people.”

However, the spokesperson would not say how much the trip and the delegation cost either the organisations or the Government.

“The PM will attend the High-Level Segment of the COP27 during which he will address the delegates through a national statement,” the spokesperson said.

“As the Pacific Islands Forum regional champion for climate financing, he will also participate in a high-level roundtable discussion on climate financing.”

The spokesperson said the primary objective of COP 27 is to uphold the global commitment under the Paris Agreement of 2015 to ensure that global temperature rise does not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Under the current emission trends this temperature threshold will almost certainly be exceeded, this poses an existential threat to the Cook Islands, particularly those living on our low-lying atolls,” the spokesperson said.

“The PM will also advocate for the leaders of our global economy to begin the transition away from fossil fuels and support the Cook Islands as we begin our journey to explore our deep-sea minerals as a new source for clean renewable energy, that will ultimately help save our planet.”

The spokesperson said the Cook Islands “is at this COP to link our advocacy as above to the role we have as a party to the Climate Convention and Paris Agreement, with our role through the Prime Minister as a Pacific Regional Climate Champion on climate finance and his role as the incoming Forum leaders host in 2023”.

COP 27 wraps up on November 18.