Since 2014, the EU has been supporting the efforts of the Government of Cook Islands in the water, sanitation and hygiene sectors to improve service delivery to its citizens in addition to supporting the competitiveness of the Cook Islands tourism sector- the nation’s largest contributor to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The release of these funds, committed in 2017,is particularly timely in light of the impact of COVID-19 on global health systems and as a result for the Cook Islands, a renewed focus on the importance of safe access to water, sanitation and hygiene as essential pre-requisites for protecting human health and fighting the spread of communicable diseases such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
The European Union Ambassador for the Pacific, His Excellency Sujiro Seam said: “The EUR 1.35 M provided today to Cook Islands is a part of “Team Europe” response to COVID-19 in the Pacific. It will support water, sanitation and hygiene, in line with the National Sustainable Development Plan of Cook Islands. This is a key area not only to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, but also to improve the tourism sector. It shows the EU commitment to promoting a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, as part of the European Green Deal.”
In previous years, the Cook Islands have benefitted from funding from the EDF for the building of solar energy capability in the Pa Enua (outer islands) and in 2018, Mitiaro was the final remaining outer island to have solar power capability installed and fully operational. The EDF also feeds into
regional architecture which contributes to the ACP-EU Post Cotonou Agreement that the Cook Islands is part of, due to be signed near the end of 2020.
Said Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Secretary, Ms. Tepaeru Herrmann, “The Cook Islands is most grateful for the release of EUR1.35M (NZD 2,350,00) from the EU under the EDF11 to help support our domestic water, sanitation and hygiene efforts. This assistance received is gratefully appreciated, particularly given the recent global challenge of COVID-19 and resulting health and economic impacts. The EDF is a programme of support held in high regard by the Cook Islands for its direct contributions to lifting health outcomes, as well as enabling efforts to address waste management, biodiversity protection, ocean and coastal governance as well as the root causes of gender inequality and violence against women. These efforts are all the more important as we begin the task of both economic recovery and continued efforts to ensure the ongoing strengthening of our public health systems, and I look forward to future cooperation with the European Union to meet these challenges accordingly.”
For more information, please contact:
EU Delegation Press and Information Officer: Mohammed Nazeem Kasim, Tel: +679 8672255 or email Mohammed-Nazeem.KASIM@eeas.europa.eu
Cook Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Director International & Trade Division: Karopaerangi Ngatoko, Tel: +682 29370 or email Karopaerangi.firstname.lastname@example.org