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Development Programmes and Projects

All official support for development programmes is aligned to the existing policy suite and implemented in accordance with priorities determined by the national budget process.

The use of national systems is identified by the global development community as best practise for effective delivery of development support.

In order to ensure resources are supporting development priorities, they must be directed toward the implementation of existing policies and budget priorities. The budget process follows a July to June fiscal year and includes forward estimates.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management Act 1995-96 requires that all Total Official Support for Development (TOSD) to be included in the budget in order to be formally approved to be spent on behalf of the Cook Islands Government.

General Budget Support

Financial support received by the Cook Islands is allocated towards general budget operations is included in the ODA schedule, however does not contribute to the total as it is recorded as part of government revenues.

Cook Islands Core Sector Support

The Core Sector Support (CSS) Grant Funding Arrangement (GFA) with New Zealand is valued at $31.4 million over four years from 2019/20 to 2022/23. While the next iteration of New Zealand Budget Support to the Cook Islands is being developed, New Zealand have indicated bridging funding support of $9.1 million for this Financial Year. The purpose of this support is to enhance the Cook Islands’ ability to be self-sufficient by enabling predictable, efficient and effective delivery of key development objectives, together with practical policy reform.

The CSS Program also provides direct budget support to the Ministry of Education, Cook Islands Tourism Corporation and the Ministry of Health to improve indicators directly related to the Cook Islands National Sustainable Development Agenda 2020+. In addition, funding has been allocated for Technical Assistance and supporting public sector strengthening. The CSS can also fund projects identified as a priority for the Cook Islands, allowing for a flexible response to needs as it arises.

COVID-19 Economic Recovery Budget Support

In November 2021, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) acting through the New Zealand High Commission (NZHC) in Rarotonga confirmed additional funding of $20.0 million to strengthen the CIG cash reserves and to help fund the immediate and short-term costs of supporting livelihoods, social protections, core public services and COVID preparedness in the Cook Islands. This contribution is made available under the New Zealand Aid Programme to the Cook Islands.

The contribution is managed and administered by MFEM with $10.0 million allocated to support immediate expenditure priorities through general budget support; with the balance identified to support programmes and initiatives to achieve the purposes under the Cook Islands Economic Recovery Roadmap and medical response preparations for COVID-19.


Cook Islands Emergency Budget Support

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, acting through the New Zealand Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, provided a contribution of NZ$15,000,000 to the Government of the Cook Islands for Emergency Budget Support 2022/23.

The contribution is made available to the Cook Islands under the New Zealand International Development Cooperation Programme to assist the Cook Islands during its economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, by providing cash reserves coverage, and assisting with the provision of essential services for Cook Islanders (such as health, education, environmental protection and social welfare), which otherwise would be unable to be funded this coming financial year.

New Zealand Climate Finance Facility

A Partnership Arrangement between the Cook Islands Government and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) will set out how New Zealand will assist the Cook Islands to address climate change impacts through a long term, collaborative and principle-based partnership. The partnership Agreement will outline how climate finance provided by Aotearoa New Zealand will support the CIG to deliver the Cook Islands’ priorities and actions to build a more resilient Cook Islands.

MFAT is responsible for administering Aotearoa New Zealand’s International Development Cooperation, including the provision of climate finance. As outlined in the Tuia te Waka a Kiwa – International Climate Finance Strategy, MFAT seeks to support countries to; (i) accelerate mitigation and adaptation action; (ii) build institutional capability and the evidence-base for climate action; and (iii) leverage in more climate finance to achieve greater climate impact.

MFAT’s climate finance funding will be provided by the Government of Aotearoa New Zealand to be used for Climate Principal projects.  Climate Principal means the objective of a climate change mitigation, adaptation or capacity building project must be explicitly stated as fundamental in the design of, or the motivation for, the action.

The Cook Islands and Aotearoa New Zealand established the Cook Islands Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF) to receive, manage and disburse infrastructure investment. The ITF will now also invest in infrastructure to deliver Cook Island’s climate mitigation and adaptation priorities. The Partners will use the ITF, its policies and operating manuals, as the basis for delivering and managing funding disbursed under this Arrangement.

This Partnership Arrangement is designed to enable multiple disbursements of climate finance. Funding will be disbursed, as and when decided by the Partners. For the period 2023-2025 MFAT has committed an initial amount of NZ$24 million. Discussions on the operationalisation of the climate flexible financing is currently underway, with the first tranche of $14 million available to the Cook Islands likely to be disbursed in 23/24 financial year.

Further funding, both amounts and timing, will take into account the Cook Islands’ priorities and pipeline of climate action, together with its capacity to scale up delivery of these priorities.

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