Cook Islands only SIDS country in UNCCD working group

Earlier this month NES attended the first UNCCD -IWG meeting OF THE Strategic Framework
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Earlier this month NES attended the first meeting of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) intersessional working group to review the mid-term evaluation (IWG-MTE) of the UNCCD’s Strategic Framework (2018-2030).

The Strategic Framework guides the implementation of the UNCCD, which the Cook Islands ratified in 1998. UNCCD aims to avoid, reduce and reverse land degradation, which also includes drought.

NES Environmental Partnerships Manager, Ms Hayley Weeks, was selected in August 2022 as one of three regional representatives for Asia-Pacific to be on the working group. As the only SIDS country represented on the working group, NES not only represents the Cook Islands and the Asia-Pacific region in this work, but also SIDS as a whole to ensure they are appropriately considered and reflected in the mid-term evaluation of the UNCCD Strategic review.

This first meeting aimed to provide an overview of the UNCCD Strategy, outline the preparation for its independent assessment including evaluation criteria and methodologies to be applied, and identify the programme of work for the group with timelines for key outputs. The group will meet again in October to review progress, and will collaborate virtually until then.

The work of the IWG-MTE will result in a report that informs a draft decision to be presented at the next UNCCD Conference of the Parties (COP), due to be held in Saudi Arabia in 2024. The intention is that any findings and recommendations are subsequently applied to increase the effectiveness of the Strategy in its remaining years.

The UNCCD Regional Liaison Officer for the Asia-Pacific region, our very own previous NES Deputy Director Ms Louisa Karika, paid NES a visit during her recent travels home in December 2022. During this time she was able to share some key updates and advice moving forward for the Cook Islands in UNCCD matters.

“We value having Louisa to support us in UNCCD engagement and implementation” said Hayley. “She holds a wealth of institutional knowledge of previous NES engagement in UNCCD, and it’s great that hasn’t been lost with her move from NES, but strengthened through her new role within UNCCD”.

More information on the working group available 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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