Cooks Aims To Access $300M For Climate Change Mitigation Projects From The Green Climate Fund

At Fund regional meeting commitment was given by Pacific leaders that climate change remains the most pressing concern in the context of sustainable development

By Rashneel Kumar

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, August 03, 2016) – The Cook Islands is preparing proposals to access $300 million for climate change mitigation projects from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

Finance minister Mark Brown, who attended the fund’s regional meeting in Suva, Fiji this week, said the GCF board aimed to distribute $2.5 billion for climate change projects this year.

Earlier this year the Cook Islands was the first country in the region to receive funding through GCF and government is eager to make the most of the opportunity to fund efforts to fight the effects of climate change.

“The high level discussions are to ensure countries have a means to table project proposals before the GCF board meeting in December this year,” Brown said.

“The board aims to distribute $2.5 billion for climate change projects this year. We are preparing a programme of proposals that will total $300m for our country.”

Office of the Prime Minister chief of staff Elizabeth Wright-Koteka, who is also at the meeting, said the primary objective was to find ways to maximise access to the fund.

This included learning more about the various funding pools available under the fund.

“We have accessed readiness support which we are using to strengthen our ability to access further funds.

“We have submitted two additional readiness proposals to the GCF.”

Wright-Koteka said the first proposal was to develop the country’s programme prioritising projects for submission to the GCF. This would use the Cook Islands National Infrastructure Investment Plan, the Joint Action Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Renewable Energy Chart, etc. 

The other proposal involved pursuing the Cook Islands’ direct access as an accredited entity. This built on the country’s recent success at achieving national implementing entity status for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) to the Adaptation Fund. 

“This meeting allows us to gain more knowledge on the GCF and to follow up on our applications, to discuss future applications, and to gauge and solicit possible future partners to progress our projects while we undergo our own accreditation,” Wright-Koteka said.

“The meeting also hopes to establish collective regional or multi-country priorities and projects that can be submitted to the GCF.”

On the opening day of the meeting, Brown and the ministers from the other countries in the region reaffirmed the commitment taken by their leaders that climate change remains the most pressing concern for Pacific Island countries in the context of sustainable development.

They also agreed that climate change adaptation is a critical component of development and said they would look at what must be done at both national and regional levels to deliver the outcomes needed to effectively deal with the climate challenges faced by Pacific countries.

The ministers then proposed that countries should sort out their priorities for direct access to the GCF according to their nationally-determined contributions (NDCs). This process would also involve the accredited agencies of their choice.

They also recognised renewable energy, insurance, sustainable transport, fresh water, oceans and forests and agriculture as regional priorities to be supported by both countries and accredited agencies.

MFEM’s Lavinia Tama and Bank of Cook Islands chief executive officer Vaine Arioka are also representing the Cook Islands at the meeting.

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