The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) in partnership with the Bank of the Cook Islands (BCI) is pursuing accreditation for BCI to the GCF.   The Bank of the Cook Islands is a recent recipient of a GCF Readiness Support grant through MFEM to advance BCIs accreditation process with GCF.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a global initiative to respond to climate change through financing and investing into low-emission (mitigation) and climate-resilient (adaptation) development. The Office of the Prime Minister’s Climate Change Cook Islands (CCCI) Division is responsible for the engagement and coordination of national projects and capacity building initiatives supported by the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The Cook Islands Readiness Programme is driven by CCCI in close partnership with the Development Coordination Division of MFEM, the Cook Islands National Accredited Entity to the GCF.  The Readiness Programme seeks to build and develop frameworks for engagement with the GCF, raise awareness of the GCF amongst stakeholders, strengthen capacity and understanding of the GCF’s operations and preparation of country programme documents.

The Bank of the Cook Islands has recently appointed Jennifer (Jenny) Henry as the Lead Consultant of their GCF accreditation process.

MFEM’s Accredited Entity Advisor, Ana Tiraa caught up with Jenny Henry at BCI to ask a few questions on her appointment: 

Tell us about the work you are doing for the Bank of the Cook Islands?

I am tasked with heading the project office aimed at attaining BCI’s accreditation to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).  The role entails a series of requisite policy drafting and the development of supporting frameworks and practices to embed an Environmental and Social Risk Management System into our investment operations for the assessment of standards required in facilitating Climate Finance. 

This involves in-depth consultations with a number of key stakeholders.

What do you hope your work at BCI will achieve?

We hope to accelerate climate projects in the Cook Islands.

If we get accredited to the Green Climate Fund, this will enable direct access to low-cost finance for the Cook Islands private sector (including households) in meeting climate related sustainable goals, such as a reduction in energy emissions, adapting and strengthening structures for long term resilience and so forth. 

Also being a business owner myself operating on Rarotonga and Aitutaki, I appreciate the limitations an operator may face in sustainable development if targeted climate finance access is limited.  BCI aims to bridge that gap for sustainable finance.

The Managing Director of BCI Vaine Nooana-Arioka stated ‘The Bank of the Cook Islands is extremely pleased to receive ongoing readiness support from GCF in assisting our accreditation process, to enable BCI take part in the Climate Change Country Program through an On-Lending approach.

BCI is committed to improving livelihoods by enabling financial access to all Cook Islanders, and is the only Bank with representation across all our Pa Enua; as such are well positioned to readily support the end-to-end facilitation of Climate Finance right throughout the Cook Islands’.