$10 million project aims to reduce single-use plastics in the Cook  Islands

The Cook Islands is one of 15 countries participating in the programme and is one of only two Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the only Pacific Island Country. This will allow us to pilot innovative solutions and approaches that can provide case study examples to the wider Pacific region.
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In 2023, NES was successful in its expression of interest to participate in the GEF 8 Circular Solutions to Plastic Pollution integrated programme. With a total project budget of US$6.2million (NZ$10 million), the project aims to reduce the amount of single use and unnecessary plastic products in the food & beverage industry entering the Cook Islands, and support enabling environments for reuse and other alternative solutions, thus reducing the burden of end-of-life waste management, pollution and other harmful plastics impacts.

The Cook Islands national level child project under this integrated global programme is entitled ‘RESPONSE’ (Reducing Single-use plastics on small island economies), and will be a 5 year project beginning in 2025 and running until 2030.

The Cook Islands is one of 15 countries participating in the programme and is one of only two Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the only Pacific Island Country. This will allow us to pilot innovative solutions and approaches that can provide case study examples to the wider Pacific region.

NES and NGO partner Te Ipukarea Society (TIS) are currently undertaking consultations as part of the project planning phase, which is due to be completed by the end of March, with submission of project planning documents due to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) by April.

On March 6th 2024, a GEF-8 Plastics RESPONSE Project stakeholder consultaion workshop was held at the Rarotongan Beach Resort, which saw participants from government, private sector, Koutu Nui and NGO in attendence. The team are currently in Aitutaki to conduct further stakeholder engagement and a consultation workshop was held on March 20th 2024 at the Vaipae Sports Clubhouse from 5:30pm to 8pm.

The RESPONSE project will explore outcome areas such as strengthening policy & legislation, creating enabling environment to support our local private sector, NGOs and community groups with activities, efforts and practices that reduce or replace single use plastics in the food and beverage sector, as well as support communications, education and awareness raising. In doing so, it will be directly supporting our ambitious National Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Waste by 2045.

To stay up to date on this GEF-8 RESPONSE project, visit the NES website here.

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The National Environment Service is established to protect, conserve and ensure the Cook Islands environment is managed sustainably. The agency is headed by a Director with delegated powers to carry out the functions of the Environment Act 2003.

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