News - Jun 12, 2022 Cook Islands – First Mission Post COVID

With country borders closed for the past two years in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face meetings have been a distant memory.

However, with vaccination rates now high in the Pacific region, countries are starting to open.  The Cook Islands was one of the first to open allowing the PacWastePlus programme to visit and undertake our first Mission Travel since March 2020.

This Mission aligned with a key period for Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) as they host stakeholder meetings and finalise the policy and draft legislation to provide for the Advance Recovery and Disposal Fee.  PacWastePlus programme was represented by Ms Hilary Boyes, Technical Waste Project Officer – Resource Recovery, who was able to attend and contribute to discussions with the government economists, customs, finance, shipping, and environment teams as the last details for the policy were discussed and finalised. ICI has finalised the policy which will be tabled at the cabinet in the coming weeks.

While in-country, Ms Boyes also joined the ICI and National Environment Service (NES) at sessions to align the PacWastePlus project and GEF ISLANDS projects; undertook case-study assessments of the Rarotonga organics and glass crushing facilities, findings from which will be shared through the PacWastePlus website; and met with Cook Islands Customs to understand how recent upgrades of customs systems across the region can provide for the implementation of Sustainable Financing schemes in all countries.

The PacWastePlus programme was excited to meet with stakeholders in the Cook Islands face-to-face and looks forward to visiting all member countries as borders open.