Development News

Belt and Road Initiative 

The Government of the Cook Islands and the Government of the People’s Republic of China sign the Belt and Road Initiative Memorandum of Understanding in which both countries agree to promote between themselves policy coordination, facilitate connectivity, trade, financial cooperation and people to people relations

Belt and Road Memorandum of Understanding  

Development News

Implications of Graduation from DAC Eligibility for the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands is expected to graduate to high-income status, having exceeded the high-income threshold set by the World Bank for the past 3years.

The "graduation" is determined by the OECD's Development Advisory Committee (DAC); under DAC rules, financial assistance provided to the Cook Islands by external (DAC Member) donor partners will not be accorded the status of "Official Development Assistance"(ODA).

The following report, commissioned the Cook Islands Government and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (New Zealand), assesses the implications on the Cook Islands of its anticipated ODA graduation from upper middle income status to high income status, especially in regards to accessing financial and technical support.

Key points from the assessment report include:

  • Limited implications for the Cook Islands; in financial assistance over half of ODA provided from non-DAC sources
  • Small aid grants comprises between $10-20million/year from a wide range of donors which are not influenced by DAC graduation
  • Large capital grants to key infrastructure projects were committed prior to graduation, actual spending will also continue after.
  • Will not impact cost of borrowing, and no evidence to suggest cost of financing will increase post-graduation.

View the full report below:

Financial assistance for Small-scale Projects available

The Embassy of the Federal Republic Germany runs a programme offering financial assistance for small scale cooperation projects that is available annually. Funding is available for projects that serve basic needs and have positive and sustainable impact of at least 2years. Possible eligible projects include; educational/vocational training or equipment, hygiene standards, water filters/pumps, and medical provisions etc.

Applications must be submitted by the end of the calendar year before the planned implementation of the project. For projects planned for next year 2017, applications must be submitted by end of this year preferably, the end of February 2017 at the latest.

Download the guideline below for further details regarding the application and implementation process, eligible and ineligible funding areas, and the funding criteria.

 - FRG_Small Grants Programme_Guidelines

 - FRG_Small Grants Programme_Application Form

Applications and further inquiries can be made to Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mrs. Tina Pupuke Browne (Barrister), email 

Recently funded projects under this programme include Te Uki Ou Science Laboratory and specialized equipment for the Teimurimotia Fire Brigade.

UNDEF Project Funding available for CSOs

The United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) invites civil society organizations to apply for project funding covering one or more of seven main areas:   

  • Women’s rights and empowerment  / Gender equality
  • Community activism
  • Rule of law and human rights
  • Youth engagement
  • Strengthening civil society capacity for interaction with Government
  • Media and freedom of information
  • Tools for knowledge

Project proposals may be submitted on-line between 18 November 2016 and 18 December 2016 at 

Or post submissions directly via the link Please note you'll need to register as a new portal user if this is the first time your organisations has submitted a project proposal.

You can find guidelines, FAQs and lessons learned for applicants at

Applicants can request a grant of a minimum of 100,000 US dollars and a maximum of 300,000 US dollars

This is the Eleventh Round to be launched by UNDEF, which provides grants of up to US$300,000 per project. UNDEF has supported almost 700 projects in over 100 countries at a total amount of almost US$170 million. Proposals are subject to a highly rigorous selection process, with fewer than two per cent of proposals chosen for funding. All projects are two years long. 

In this Round, UNDEF particularly welcomes projects promoting pluralism, diversity, and inclusion. 

UNDEF supports projects that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes. The large majority of UNDEF funds go to local civil society organizations. In this way, UNDEF plays a distinct role in complementing the UN's other work -- the work with Governments -- to strengthen democratic governance around the world.