The Cook Islands State of Environment Report (SoE) 2018 was officially approved by Cabinet on 6 March, 2020.
The report updates the 1993 baseline with the latest findings supported by scientific data from the Cook Islands and presents it in a form that is easily understood.
The SoE charts Cook Islands journey towards their national development goals in Te Kaveiga Nui, the National Sustainable Development Plan 2016 – 2020, reporting on the status and trends of 24 environmental indicators across seven themes: Atmosphere and Climate; Inland Waters; Land; Marine; Biodiversity; Culture and Heritage; and Built Environment.
Mr Kosi Latu, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) congratulates Cook Islands on the completion of the SoE report.
“The State of Environment Report is a new baseline for future reports and can help with national, regional and international reporting obligations including multi-lateral environmental agreements,” said Mr Latu.
“This achievement by Cook Islands is the direct result of the hard work prioritising environmental data collection in order to ensure informed decision making at the government, legislative, and policy levels.”
Cook Islands is one of a few island countries in the region to complete the development of their SoE, that will further support informed decisions to accurately report on key environmental issues, and develop national policies and legislations to improve environmental conditions.
“If we ignore the environment now, we risk our own development as a strong and independent nation. I recommend that all government agencies, all our development partners and donors, and civil society representatives use this State of Environment Report 2018 to inform their actions related to the seven areas covered in this document.” said Hon Robert Tapaitau, Minister of Environment, Cook Islands.
The SoE also provides Cook Islands with recommendations, or actions to take as a nation to improve the environment as they voyage towards progress. The process streamlines national and international monitoring and reporting requirements to government, donors, Multilateral Environmental Agreements and other key regional and global commitment such as the Sustainable Development Goals.
Data and information that formed the report was made possible through the collective effort of national stakeholders under the leadership of the Cook Islands National Environment Service in partnership with SPREP through the ACPMEA2 and Inform projects.
E-copies of the Cook Islands SoE are available on the following website; https://cookislands-data.sprep.org/dataset/cook-islands-state-environment-report-2018
The Cook Islands State of Environment report was completed with technical assistance from SPREP. Funding was provided from the European Union – funded ACP MEA 2 Capacity Building Project as well as the GEF funded regional Inform Project implemented through UN Environment and executed by SPREP.
The SoE report presents an overview of Cook Islands environment across seven thematic areas: Culture and Heritage; Atmosphere and Climate; Coastal and Marine; Freshwater Resources; Land; Biodiversity; and Built Environment. The report uses the ‘Drivers, Pressures, State, Impact and Response’ (DPSIR) model to describe the environment. The report is based on quantitative data relating to the state of the environment, supplemented by stakeholder input to describe causal relationships and environmental effects.