The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM), Cook Islands has been accredited by the Adaptation Fund Board of the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), enabling the Pacific Island Country Direct Access to climate change financing for concrete adaptation projects.
The Fund welcomed the Cook Islands, as its 24th National Implementing Entity (NIE), which is also the 6th NIE to be accredited by the Adaptation Fund from among Small Island Developing States (SIDS), following Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Micronesia.
There are four additional NIE applicants from SIDS in the Fund’s accreditation pipeline. Cook Island’s joins a growing number of Adaptation Fund NIEs in climate-vulnerable developing countries around the world that are benefitting from the Fund’s pioneering Direct Access modality, which provides countries the opportunity to build their own capacity to adapt and strengthen resilience to climate change by receiving finance and developing projects directly.
Since 2010, the Adaptation Fund has committed US$354.89 million to support 54 concrete, localized climate adaptation and resilience projects in 48 countries, with more than 3.5 million direct beneficiaries.
“With the urgency to strengthen Small Island States’ capacity to implement climate resilience development, this is a timely event for Cook Islands to benefit from the direct access modality for receiving finance and developing and implementing concrete adaptation projects for their people,” said Isabelle Louis, United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Office for Asia and Pacific (UNEP ROAP) Acting Regional Director and Regional Representative.
Cook Islands is one of nine countries in Asia Pacific supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with financial support from the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, to develop institutional and financial management capacities, as well as the fiduciary requirements necessary for accreditation. Eight other countries receiving support are Bhutan, Cambodia, Maldives, Nepal, Palau, Samoa, Sri Lanka and Tuvalu.
Cook Islands’ MFEM is the second NIE accredited through the Adaptation’s Fund’s new streamlined accreditation process for smaller implementing entities, which was adopted in 2014 and was also used to accredit the Micronesia Conservation Trust in April of 2015. The Paris Climate Agreement, approved in December 2015, included language that aims to ensure efficient access to climate finance through simplified approval procedures and enhanced readiness support for developing countries, particularly LDCs and SIDS.
The UNEP Regional Help Desk based in Bangkok, Thailand, is supporting countries meet accreditation requirements on a “demand driven” basis, ensuring that the final decision is with the government. The designated authority in each country identifies and nominates their NIE with UNEP and the Japanese Ministry of the Environment assisting Designated Authorities with the nomination of the NIE.
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