HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 599: 18 January 2012

ADB Public Sector Review: Merging Environment, Energy and Climate Change
One of the most interesting proposed ministries in the ADB Public Sector Review is the Environment, Energy and Climate Change sector. According to the report released to the herald by the Office of the Leader of the Opposition recently, the new Ministry will merge the functions of the National Environment Service (NES), the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) and the Climate Change and Renewable Energy functions currently operating from the Office of the Prime Minister.
According to the report, the focus of the ministry will be “education and awareness” and coordinated efforts between the currently separate functions of NES, NHT, Renewable Energy and Climate Change will be necessary in dealing with regional and international organisations. The report states that if the “structure and functions are coordinated and strengthened within this ministry”, this will aid in the sourcing of funding across the sector to support capacity building, projects and development initiatives.
The review anticipates “minimal disruptions” to staff requirements and furthermore proposes that the potential to better source funding could mean that more staff may be required at some stage.
The possibility is that the policy function will be strengthened given donor funding for the region will most likely be contestable and project proposals will need to the strong and robust. This means it is possible the CEO will be a person with strengths in policy development. This Ministry is likely to be also bolstered by staff skilled technically and scientifically and it will be interesting to see the compatibility with conservation issues and demands.
The Regulatory and Compliance function within the ministry will work closely with the Regulatory function of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Communications. This will ensure development of infrastructure, via avenues such as building code regulations, are aligned to national environmental and renewable energy priorities.
The overall priorities of the sector as outlined in the report include waste management, nurtured environment and natural resources, observance of climate change obligations, energy independence and stability and a “Clean, Green Image”. The question is how these priorities will fit in with the current government’s agenda to exploit the fisheries and natural mineral resources of the Cook Islands. -Ngariki Ngatae

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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