Cook Islands applies for direct access to multi-million dollar Adaptation Fund

At the UN Climate Convention in Lima, Peru this month, the Cook Islands has lodged an application to become accredited to the Adaptation Fund as a National Implementing Entity.

The Cook Islands has already accessed USD 5 million through the Adaptation Fund, established to provide financial support for concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

With a USD 10 million dollar limit to funding allowed per country the Cook Islands are working towards seeking the remaining USD 5 million with this first official step in this process.

Applying for National Implementing Entity Status (NIE) has taken 12 months of preparation led by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) of the Cook Islands in collaboration with numerous partners and stakeholders.

“If we are successful with our application this means that the Cook Islands eliminates the ‘middle man’ allowing us to seek direct budget support so that access to climate finances comes directly into our national systems,” said Ms. Lavinia Tama, representative of MFEM , also a member of the Cook Islands delegation at the UN Climate Convention in Peru.

“We’re really confident and encouraged that this will give us better access and we can apply these funds directly to addressing our national priorities.”

The Adaptation Fund Board will consider the proposal in April next year. Preparing the Cook Islands to develop their application to become a National Implementing Entity, the island national received support from the Frankfurt Economic School of Management with financial assistance from Secretariat of the Pacific Community European Union Global Climate Change Alliance Pacific Small Islands States. Over this 12 month period of working with the School, it was also an opportunity to address and meet any gaps and constraints in resources and capacity.

If successful in being approved as an NIE, this will also help when it comes to seeking similar status in the Green Climate Fund, to date over USD 10 billion dollars has been pledged towards the fund for climate change activities now in operation.

“Having observed and learnt from others applying NIE status, there is the high chance we won’t be approved straight away, there could be a further 12 months ahead in review and amendments before the panel, but we are quite confident that we are not too far off and the goal looks close and we are determined to work towards achieving accreditation.”

Over the past year the Adaptation Fund has dedicated over USD 265 million dollars to increase climate resilience in 44 countries. The Cook Islands Strengthening Resilience of Island Communities Project is funded by the Adaptation Fund with the implementing agency being the United Nations Development Programme and the National Executing Agency being the Office of the Prime Minister.

Of the 17 National Implementing Entities accredited so far, under the Adaptation Fund there are no Pacific Island countries that have successfully gained NIE status.

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