HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has announced the appointment of the Climate Change Coordinator within the Climate Change Division. Rerekura Teaurere, who hails from Penrhyn Island, has taken on the role working closely with Director of Climate Change, Ana Tiraa, and Teaurere says she is enjoying the role so far.
Teaurere completed her Master of Science Honours degree at the University of Auckland and the majority of her research was carried out in the Cook Islands in 2010. “My thesis was Solid Waste Management in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), so of course I looked at SIDS and their vulnerabilities – everything that’s environmental is connected in some way. I did years of study before [my Masters] and a lot of that was on climate change, because it’s such a big topic.”
Teaurere is looking forward to achieving a more coordinated approach to Climate Change within the Cook Islands. “From what I can see, it has been fragmented [around] all different departments. So what ultimately we [hope to] achieve is a more coordinated approach.” Ana Tiraa commented that the main priorities for the team within the OPM’s Climate Change Division will be the development of the Joint National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change (JNAP), as well as development of a Climate Change Policy.
Tiraa says that the OPM’s Climate Change Division will be working with Emergency Management Cook Islands in developing the JNAP. “We’ll be working across government with that, because that’s not just targeting one or two groups, but the whole of the Cook Islands. There’ll be a number of agencies that will be involved as well.” The JNAP is intended to direct the country in a systematic manner to address climate change adaptation. “It’s our road map, basically, for climate change adaptation... to 2015.”
Tiraa says the reason the JNAP is being developed before the Climate Change Policy is largely due to funding issues. “It [the JNAP] has been costed at about $50 million – we already have some of those funds. Normally the policy is done before the operational plan – that would’ve been the ideal situation. But the funding was available at that particular time to develop the JNAP... and now we’re developing the Climate Change Policy.”
The activities being carried out by the Division in terms of the development of Climate Change Policy includes consultations with communities across the Cook Islands, including the Pa Enua. Tiraa explained, “The findings on that will go into the Climate Change Policy. The National Environment Service is the key implementing partner. The Red Cross will be involved as well.” She added, “Climate change is everybody’s business – it’s not a one man band.”
In her role Teaurere will be responsible for liaising with donors, government agencies, NGOs, research institutes, communities, private sector and other stakeholders engaged in climate change activities. She will also support other public sector and civil society agencies in developing their own responses to climate change. Teaurere says the return home has been long awaited and she is looking forward to gaining more experience within the role and continuing to build on her environmental knowledge in a practical way.

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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