Development Coordination

MFEM Gender Policy

The Cook Islands National Policy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and Strategic Plan of Action, recognises that women and men are equal partners to the development of the Cook Islands, and places gender equality at the heart of economic and social progress, giving equal value to the roles and responsibilities of Cook Islands women and men. It also recognises that in order to redress gender it is necessary to create the conditions for women’s empowerment while women and men work together to address attitudinal and institutional barriers to gender equality.
The operating principles underpinning the National Policy are that:
 Women and men are equal partners in the development of the Cook Islands and gender equality is at the heart of economic and social progress, and equal value needs to be given to the roles and responsibilities of the country’s women and men.
 Women’s empowerment will help achieve the national objective of ensuring the benefits of development are shared equally throughout the islands and the population, in order to ensure real improvement in their standard of living.
 The realisation of women’s human rights is the basic guiding principle for the National Policy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
 Gender equality is a right and customary practices are subject to the principle of equality enshrined in the Constitution of the country.
 The principle of equality is guiding the adoption of affirmative actions for compensating for historical and social disadvantages women undergone which have deprive them of equal opportunities.
 Identified priority outcomes are linked to the national priorities in the revised National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP).
 While Government policy priorities may change, the priority outcomes identified in this Policy will remain valid.
 Women economic empowerment is critical for achieving the social and economic development goal of the country.
 Policy makers and managers need to develop their capacity to mainstream gender and address women human rights issues into their field of intervention and sector.
 Strong partnerships and coordination mechanisms need to be in place between the national women machinery – the Gender and Development Division (DAD) housed under the Ministry of Internal Affairs – and other line and sectoral ministries and with outer islands governance mechanisms.

The aim of the National Policy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment is to guide the Cook Islands Government in implementing and monitoring its commitments to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women. The Policy is also a tool for dialogue with and between different sectors and agencies to achieve the following objectives:
1. Define agreed priorities for empowering women and achieving gender equality;
2. Create an enabling environment for translating Government commitment to gender equality into reality;
3. Align national plans and implement Government’s international and regional commitments on gender equality and women’s empowerment; and
4. Define a mechanism for monitoring and reporting on the progress in line with the Cook Islands commitment to regional and international state obligations.


Please refer to the full Gender Policy Document here


The Government of the Cook Islands Environmental Social Safeguards Framework sets out the Government’s commitment to sustainable development. Through this Environmental Social Safeguards Framework, Government will enhance the implementation of the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) for all projects planned and implemented in the Cook Islands. It is also aligned to the international conventions that the Cook Islands has signed, ratified and has committed to, under the umbrella of the following United Nations bodies: World Health Organization (WHO), International Labour Organization (ILO), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity, United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child (UNCRC), United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. The nine Environmental Social Safeguard Standards (ESSS) establish the standards that a project will meet through the project life cycle and are as follows:

ESSS 1: Assessment and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impacts
ESSS2: Labour and Working Conditions
ESSS3: Resource Efficiency and Pollution Prevention
ESSS4: Community Health, Safety and Security
ESSS5: Land Acquisition, Restrictions on Land Use and Involuntary Resettlement
ESSS6: Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources
ESSS7: Indigenous People and Traditional Local Communities
ESSS8: Cultural Heritage
ESSS9: Stakeholder Engagement and Information Disclosure

Please refer to the full Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework document here

Apply for Grant


This diagram demonstrates the steps involved in the Grants awarding system for approving grants.

 grant evaluation procedure flowchart


There are currently no Grants available from MFEM. As soon as Grant Funds become available the application notice and process can be accessed via this website.

Get started checklist

Projects Island Description Donor amount received NSDC Decisions
Amuri Village Aitutaki Replace roofing Amuri Village community hall $26,000 Approved 
Apii Avarua Parent Teacher Association Rarotonga Installation of Canopy $150,000 Approved
ARAP Growers Association Incorporated Rarotonga Machinery -Excavator for the growers association + trailer $50,000 Approved
Cook Islands Canoeing Association Rarotonga K1 – for a career in sports $30,000 Approved
Cook Islands Fire & Safety Rarotonga Road Safety – Vision Speed Indicating Devices $128,000 Approved
Creative Centre Trust Rarotonga Transportation for Creative Centre $41,000 Approved
Imanuela Akatemia Rarotonga School Playground Redevelopment $66,000 Apprioved
Mangaia Island Government Mangaia Mangaia Water transportation and trailer $40,000 Approved
Matavera Fishing Club Association Rarotonga Community fishing boat, trailer and fishing equipment $45,000 Approved
Matavera Growers Association Rarotonga Machinery for Growers association $40,000 Approved
Mitiaro Island Government Mitiaro Improving the sanitary facility of the local community halls $64,000 Approved
Rauti Maori Incorporated Mitiaro Development of the Mitiaro bowling green $120,000 Approved
Sailing Cook Islands Rarotonga Sailing academy education and training programs $44,000 Approved
Te Kaupua – Pukapuka Disability Assocation Pukapuka Complete construction of the Pukapuka Disability Recreation Centre $22,000 Approved
Te Matahorua Growers Manihiki Food security and nutrition for manihiki $50,000 Approved
Tupapa Maraerenga maternal and child health clinic Rarotonga Revitalization of the Tupapa health clinic $50,000 Approved


India Grant Fund 2016/17 - Call for notices documents 

India Grant Fund 2013/14 

India Grant Fund 2012/13


Previous UNDP Assessment

Capacity Assessment - March 2014

Final Inception and Analysis Report - May 2014 (2MB)


Background information

Invitation letter to workshop session

Workshop Agenda - updated 16 Feb 2014

Ministry of Finance and Economic Management lodges NIE application - 6 Dec 2014 

Workshop - 16 Feb 2014 



                       Cyclone Pat

On the 9th of February 2010, Cyclone Pat rate a category 3 cyclone swept over the island of Aitutaki wreaking havoc and destroying homes. In the days following Cyclone Pat's destructive visit recovery and assistance efforts were put into effect. On this page you will find the various reports associated with these efforts.


Cyclone Pat Initial Assessment Report     Emergency Management Cook Islands Preliminary Report Cyclone Pat Reconstruction and Recovery Plan      
Aitutaki Cyclone Recovery Programme   Aitutaki School Recovery Report - Phase 1  Aitutaki School Recovery Report - Phase 2  
Aitutaki Cyclone Recovery and Reconstruction Completion Report  EMCI Strengthening & Training Workshop report   Early Warning System completion report

DPM logo-header

Kia Orana

In typical Cook Islands style we would like to say a big Meitaki Maata for your participation and involvement in the Development Partners Meeting 2014. 

What a great time of dialogue and discussion together on Cook Island priorities, culture and programs of work.

We appreciated your open feedback, support and willingness to be involved at a “grassroots” and community level.  I am sure, like us, you have many fond memories of performances,speeches,

gift giving and special moments of generous Cook Islands hospitality.

We have updated our website to include photo’s, press releases and outcome presentations from our sessions together. You will find these using the links below.

 Your feedback is very valuable to us and we would like you to please take the time to fill out our feedback form here to provide your insights on what was important to you and what we may need to

improve/change for next year.

We discussed DCD’s review of the ODA Policy & Implementation Plan and would like to specifically invite your further views on items we have flagged for possible changes which may affect our

development partners.  You can provide your organisations feedback by accessing the following ODA feedback form here.  We would appreciate your feedback by the end of March 2014. 

Once again, we appreciate your continued partnership with the Cook Islands and look forward to continued interaction with you over the year.

Kia Manuia


Peter Tierney

Manager, Development Coordination Division


Please send all completed feedback forms to the following email address: 


Press releases!   Development Partners meeting Photos - Rarotonga.   Development Partners Meeting Photos - Atiu.   Development Partners meeting Presentations        


The Cook Islands Government has submitted its application for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) to become accredited to the Adaption Fund as a National Implementing Entity (NIE). Essentially this means that MFEM, upon accreditation, would be the trusted receiver of funds directly from the Adaptation Fund for Adaptation related projects.  Currently, it is a requirement of the fund to work alongside multilateral and regional accredited partners in order to receive funds to complete accepted Adaptation projects, meaning some funds inevitably need to go offshore.  This preference for the use of local systems and resources aligns with the Cook Islands Development Partners Policy 2015 where there is a stated preference for “development support (to) be efficient and well managed using local systems and procedures and based on sustainable local capacities”.

The first submission occurred in December 2014 and was completed with the support of the Frankfurt School of Business and Management and Akairo Consulting with funding from EU-SPC-GCCA PSIS and UNEP.  There have been further submissions in March 2015 and September 2015 to address gaps raised by the Adaptation Fund Panel.  As of January 2016, MFEM has not yet gained accreditation, but is seeking Adaptation Fund “Streamlined Accreditation” which would make accreditation conditional with monetary caps and limitations on the number of projects that can occur concurrently.

For more information or an update on the NIE Accreditation process, please contact Development Coordination Division on + 682 29521


The Adaptation Fund (AF) was established to finance concrete adaptation programs in developing countries that are parties to the Kyoto Protocol and are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The Cook Islands fits into this category. Access to the fund is available through Multi-lateral Implementing Entities (MIE) through agencies like the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) or directly through gaining accreditation as an NIE. Due to the requirements involved, NIE status has been very difficult to attain for pacific island countries. 
In 2011, the Cook Islands had a 5 million USD program (SRIC*) in jeopardy because our MIE partner UNDP had issues around its’ own status with the Adaptation Board. Additionally, funding is segmented to MIE and NIE projects and due to difficulties in attaining NIE status, more funds remain accessible through NIE while the MIE fund is almost exhausted. These limitations, along with the Cook Islands firm desire for more ownership and accountability in Development Assistance is why we are applying for NIE status. 
With the generous support of EU-GCCA-PSIS*, we secured six months technical support from the Frankfurt Business School (FBS) to partner with us on the path to AF accreditation. FBS is very experienced in the accreditation process and will guide us through this process. 
The joint work between the Frankfurt Business School and Ministry of Finance and Economic Management will also seek to improve the Cook Island Governments level of ‘readiness’ to directly access other global climate funds such as the pending Green Climate fund and also mobilize and scale up finance in-country. 
The Cook Islands Joint National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation and our recent Climate and Disaster Compatible Development Policy all clearly articulate our priorities and plans in Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation, and direct access is important to efficiently fund and deliver these plans.
*Strengthening the Resilience of our outer island communities to climate change 
*European Union, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Global Climate Change Adaptation, Pacific Small Island States

Terms of Reference

The objective for FBS is to work with MFEM's Development Coordination Division to prepare a full submission for NIE accreditation to the Adaptation Fund Accreditation panel by July 2014. 
Specifically this will involve:

  • Identification, compilation and analysis of all existing resources including relevant documentation as outlined in the AF accreditation toolkit;
  • If any gaps are identified in the documentation and/or capacity, then work with the DCD to fill the gaps;
  • Collaborate with the DCD to submit a full application to the AF;
  • Provide training to MFEM so that they have the capacity to persist with the application to the AF until it is successful and that they are well equipped to deliver to NIE modality over the short and medium term;

2014 Planning

The first step in this process is a stakeholder workshop to be held on Thursday 16 January 2014. The aim of the workshop is to introduce the draft plan and align roles and responsibilities as well as explaining the role of climate finance readiness in accessing international funds such as the Adaptation Fund. 
Areas of Focus The following 4 areas are what accreditation involves and will be explained further at the workshop 
A) Financial Integrity and Management
B) Institutional Capacity
C) Project/Programme Management Capacity
D) Transparency and Self-investigative Powers
It is obvious from the above 4 categories that this requires a team effort and will not rest solely with DCD to manage. Many government agencies will need to be involved in supporting the accreditation process and then further, the delivery process as we are accredited.

Our challenges

Our challenges in achieving this goal are significant, but not unachievable. 
They include:

  • Resource/Capacity constraints
  • Capability gaps
  • Timing – a lot of processes underway, but not fully implemented or have evidence of “history”
  • Complexity of the process
  • Difficulty of others in attaining NIE

Audited Financial Statements – Development Coordination Division

Annual Financial Statements

Management Letters

Annual Financial Statement – 2009

Letter from Audit Office – 2009

Annual Financial Statement – 2010

Letter from Audit Office – 2010 & 2011

Annual Financial Statement – 2011

Letter from Audit Office - 2012

Annual Financial Statement - 2012


 Annual Financial Statement - 2013



The Division is directed by the Cook Islands Development Partner Policy and reports to the National Sustainable Development Commission (NSDC).

The policy states that the achievement of the Cook Islands development outcomes will be supported by the effective and efficient use of Official Development Assisstance, aligned to the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP)

The Division fosters relationships with a broad range of development partners to broker coordinated arrangements. These activities are increasingly delivered through diverse partnerships at a variety of levels including local government, civil society, private sector and national government agencies.

The Division seeks to provide high quality development advice to partners including Ministers, government agencies, committees, community groups, private interest groups and donors.

The Division hosts the country liaison office of the Asian Development Bank and contributes to the development of concessional loans and blended financing arrangements with other partners like European Investment Bank and Development Partners like the People's Republic of China.

Estimated Official Development Assisstance over the coming three years along with past spends are reported in the national budget document annually. The Division produces annual financial statements which aim to produce a complete picture of Official Development Assisstance provided to the Cook Islands and its allocation by sector and activity.


A number of small grant programmes available for community groups, sports associations, civil society and non-government organisations