The Cook Islands Government recognised the importance of responding to climate change when it signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992. Since then Environment Service has facilitated various projects that aim to help us address climate change. The Climate Change Country Team formed in 1997 and has guided climate activities outlined in the chart below. Please follow the links to learn more.
Climate Change affects Temperature, Rainfall, Sea Levels and Extreme Weather Events around the world. Scientific evidence shows that climate change is already happening. Human activities are polluting the air with too many green house gases that hold heat, causing global warming. The Cook Islands produces few greenhouse gases, but faces high risks of being badly impacted by climate change and sea level rise. It is important that the people of the Cook Islands take precautions so everyone is prepared for climate change and help reduce potential damages by adapting.
Below is a flow chart that illustrates how local climate change issues are handled at the National level and the connection to International Efforts concerning climate change. Click on the links for more information.
NATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE TEAM Representing Climate Change Stakeholders
Cook Islands Second National Communications Project
Island / Geographic Coverage:
The project will be based in Rarotonga however the assessment of climate change mitigation and adaptation will be national. Vulnerability and adaptation assessments were carried out (in collaboration with Cook Islands Red Cross and local communities) for the villages in Ngatangiia as well as the islands of Mauke and Pukapuka in order to gain an overall picture of climate change in the Cook Islands.
The Second National Communications (SNC) project enables the Cook Islands to prepare its second national communication (SNC) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) about the status of climate change in the country. The activities within the SNC are a follow-up and update of the work done by Cook Islands to prepare its initial national communication (INC) that was carried out under the regional Pacific Islands Climate Change Assistance Project (PICCAP).
The project is funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and funds are managed by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Samoa. The activities for putting together this report has been going on since mid 2006 and is bound to be presented to the next Conference of Parties. As this is the second report, the first report was done more than 10 years ago and this time round it’s merely updating that information and expanding the scope of the activities.
The Project will further enhance the national capacities and will raise general knowledge and awareness on climate change and its effects. It will also contribute to putting climate change issues higher on the national agenda through strengthened cooperation and increased involvement of all relevant stakeholders in the process. In addition, it will strengthen and build national capacities for participation in different mechanisms related to GHG mitigation and to fulfilling other commitments under the UNFCCC.
Objectives & Priorities:
There are 4 main outcomes of the SNC and they are
1. 2nd green house gas inventory that includes energy audits,
2. Vulnerability and adaptation that includes case studies of Ngatangiia, Mauke Island and Pukapuka/Nassau Islands,
3. Mitigation Analysis including technology needs for mitigation
4. Programmes and national action plans that are considered relevant for the achievement of the objectives of the UNFCCC including capacity needs and education and awareness activities
The Cook Islands Initial National Communication, which is the current status of Climate Change in the Cook Islands, is attached below. Click to download.
Click on the attachment below to read an article with Cook Islands representatives at climate change talks in Bangkok.
Click here to view posters created for the Year of Climate Change 2009.