The main duties of the Advisory and Compliance Division are to:
Receive, assess and make recommendations to the Island Environment Authority (IEA) on all project or activity proposals which fall within the jurisdiction of Sections 36 (EIA), 50 (Protection of Foreshore and Cook Islands Waters), 57 (Excavations on Sloping Land) and 58 (Protection of Wetlands) of the Cook Islands Environment Act 2003
Monitor those projects or activities approved by the Island Environment Authority
Respond to complaints on activities that have a significant affect on the environment or are likely to have a significant affect on the environment
Control and prevent pollution of Cook Islands waters to which the Act applies
Update the beach profile, coral and stream monitoring survey of the Cook Islands to which the Act applies.
Develop policies and guidelines for the efficient operation of the Service
Implement the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (under the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer). This used to be under the Island Futures Division but was brought under the Advisory and Compliance Divsion in 2011 because it deals with the enforcement of Environment Act (Ozone Layer Protection) Regulation 2008.
Regular notices are placed in the papers to inform the public of their responsibility to complete an Environmental Significance Declaration Form for any proposed building or development activity that may have a significant effect on the environment and/or that fall within Specific Areas of Concern (Foreshore and Cook Islands Waters, Sloping Lands, Wetlands) of the Cook Islands Environment Act 2003.
The Ministry of Works will not approve a building permit until an Environment Service Declaration is made and a Project Permit or Environment Authority Consent Form is obtained.
For any level of development on any part of the land you will need to seek a permit application from the National Environment Service. This is not a process intended to restrict your development but more to ensure that any intended development is carefully assessed to ensure that no problems will occur to the developer or the environment.
There is an initial assessment process that is followed for ALL applications to determine whether an application:
Can be approved
Requires an Environmental Impact Assessment
Requires an Engineering Report
When a project is assessed as likely to have a significant affect on the environment, an Environmental Impact Assessment is required.
An Engineering Report is required when a project or development is proposed for Specific Areas of Concern listed below :
The Foreshore and Cook Islands Waters
1. Completing the Environment Service Declaration
Environmental Significance Declaration (ESD) completed by the applicant and submitted to the Environment Officer. Please note that the ESD is a “living” document and is consistently updated to ensure it captures the most significant environmental issues facing the Cook Islands. You can pick up one of these forms from the National Environment Service in Avarua. Please see the attachment at the bottom of the page to view an Environmental Significance Declaration.
2. Registering the ESD
Environment Officer stamps the ESD form as received. Occasionally, a copy will be taken so that the applicant may keep a copy.
3. Reviewing the ESD with the Applicant
Environment Officer goes through the form with the applicant to ensure that:
• it is fully completed;
• all questions have been fully understood and answered correctly;
• the form is signed.
4. The completed application form is ready for processing.
5. Site assessment to confirm details of ESD Form
The Environment Officer organises a field trip, with the applicant to confirm the information supplied in the ESD Form.
6. Analysis of ESD Form
The information provided by the applicant is reviewed and assessed on whether the proposed project will cause or is likely to cause significant environmental impacts and if further action will be required from applicants.
If so, the appropriate additional measures by the applicant will be requested by the National Environment Service. Further action that may be required will be either an Environmental Impact Assessment or an Engineering Report. This new information will be forwarded to the Island Environment Authority (IEA) for consideration. For further information on the two courses of action click on the titles of the said named reports.
Otherwise, if no environmental impacts are confirmed, the application is approved.
Click on the attachments below to read articles regarding Environmental Impact Assessments and Engineering Reports published in the local newspapers.