Climate change communication and education

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1. Context

2. Climate change education and training in the country

3. Climate change communication in the country

4. Monitoring and evaluation


  1. Context

i. Climate change context

According to the World Bank, the Cook Islands are located in the South Pacific Ocean with 15  islands spread across nearly 2 million km2. They are highly exposed to tropical cyclones with damaging winds, storm surges, and floods. The country endures, on average, 18 cyclones per decade. Approximately 2% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is lost annually due to natural hazards. Projections suggest climate change will increase the global average intensity of tropical cyclones, with an estimated intensity increase of 2-11% by 2100 (2010). The Cook Islands are thus extremely vulnerable to climate change in the form of more intense storms, saltwater intrusion, rising sea levels, drought, ocean acidification, and changing growing conditions.

The Cook Islands has a population of approximately 17,500. In 2019, emissions were 4.4tCO2/person, according to the Global Carbon Atlas. This is equivalent to nearly 60% of the world average during the reporting period according to the Cook Islands’ 3rd National Communication (2019).

The Cook Islands is a Non-Annex I (non-industrialized) Country to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), which it signed in 1992 and ratified in 1993. The Cook Islands ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2001 and the Paris Agreement in 2016. Upon signing the Kyoto Protocol in 1998, the Cook Islands put forth a reservation that the emission reduction in Article 3 (which requires signatories to not exceed their current greenhouse gas emissions and to commit to reducing their overall emissions by at least 5% below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012) would be “inadequate to prevent dangerous and anthropogenic interference with the climate system” (p. 4, Article 3). The country accepted the Doha Amendment in 2018.

ii. Relevant government agencies

Climate change

The Cook Islands National Environmental Services is the central government agency responsible for environmental protection, management, and conservation. They also house the national United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) focal point. The Advisory & Compliance Division of the National Environmental Services is concerned with the provision of regulatory, technical, advisory, and monitoring requirements for environmental sustainability. The Island Futures Division is responsible for promoting integrated approaches to environmental management through appropriate policy development and planning responses, as well as education and awareness. The Climate Change Cook Islands Office and the Renewable Energy Development Division were established in 2011 as divisions of the Office of the Prime Minister to further the National Environmental Services’ climate change efforts.

Given past challenges of single-sector efforts to enact climate change adaptation policies, the 2nd Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (2016-2020) proposes a coordinated response to implementing the Cook Islands’ climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.  A steering committee comprising representatives from the Climate Change Cook Islands Office, Emergency Management Cook Islands, the National Environmental Services, the Ministry of Infrastructure Cook Islands, and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management manages the implementation of the Joint National Action Plan. The group also has one member representing non-government and civil society organizations, and two governmental representatives (one representing the northern islands group and one representing the southern group).

The Office of the Public Service Commissioner and the Central Policy and Planning Office oversee the country’s climate change strategies and activities.

Education and communication

Climate change education efforts overseen by the Ministry of Education include climate change under the Enua e te Rangi (Earth and Sky) strand of the Science Curriculum (2014) for both primary and secondary levels. Climate change education for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and tertiary education also fall under the Ministry of Education’s purview.

Emergency Management Cook Islands is responsible for ensuring that a national training plan is developed in collaboration with training providers. The agency is also responsible for developing training materials and programs to support all government agencies in improving their capabilities relative to their designated functions. This training includes climate variability, climate change, and extreme weather events.

The Cook Islands National Environmental Services has taken an active role in developing the country’s environmental communications including community projects and special events targeted at all segments of the community.

iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans

Climate change

The Cook Islands has adopted a variety of policies and plans relating to climate change; however, has very little climate change legislation in place. The Disaster Risk Management Act (2007) provides for the organization, functioning, powers, and responsibilities of Emergency Management Cook Islands, and for the elaboration of national disaster plans. According to the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change In-Country Consultations (2006), the Cook Islands was advised to review existing laws and legislation to assess their appropriateness in accommodating vulnerability and adaptation to climate change and climate variability.

As part of the 2016-2020 National Sustainable Development Plan, Goal 13 aims to “Strengthen resilience to combat the impacts of climate change and natural disasters” (2016, p. 44).

The 2nd Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (2016-2020) was introduced to support the establishment of resilient and sustainable communities. The Plan’s objectives include creating awareness; building capacity; influencing behavioral change; facilitating feedback for purposes of monitoring and evaluation; and informing the public about the Action Plan and its outcomes. The Action Plan is the lynchpin in creating an integrated approach to guide the Cook Islands’ climate change and disaster responses. This includes reducing the Islands’ carbon emissions in line with the county’s commitments to the Kyoto Protocol.

The National Climate Change Policy (2018-2028) represents a multi-sectoral approach to climate change policy implementation. The Climate Change Cook Islands Office is primarily responsible for implementing the Policy. The Policy’s objectives are to improve the country’s adaptation and mitigation efforts; mainstream and coordinate climate change responses across policy and government agencies; and meet the country’s international climate change commitments through domestic responses. The Policy outlines eight policy measures, which include strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, fostering community participation, and Akono’anga Maori (working with traditional leaders and utilizing traditional methods for minimizing the effects of climate change). Another policy measure titled, ‘Build Capacity and Educate,’ asserts that implementing climate change activities requires increased capacity across all government and non-government sectors, with a particular emphasis on the field of climate change science. Additionally, the Policy’s Cross Cutting Area 9.1.4 on ‘Education and Public Awareness’ specifically seeks to “strengthen education and the public awareness on climate change at all levels, including through school curricula” (2018, p. 14).

In efforts to protect the Islands’ precious marine resources, the Ministry of Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management declared the entire Exclusive Economic Zone (an area of the ocean where a country has exclusive rights to) a marine park and developed the 2017 Marae Moana Policy. This Policy aims to conserve biodiversity and natural assets in oceans, reefs, and islands while balancing sustainable development and economic interests. The Policy is compliant with the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity. Under the Marae Moana Policy, 17 environmental protection policies have been either enacted or drafted.

The Cook Islands Environment Report (2018) focuses on atmosphere and climate, among six other thematic areas.

Education and communication

The 2012 Education Act steers formal education in the Cook Islands, although it does not reference climate change.

The Cook Islands Education Guidelines (2014) and the National Curriculum Framework (2002) complement the 2012 Education Act. Both are published in English and Māori. Neither document directly references climate change, but there are a vast number of references to the environment and protecting nature.

The Education Master Plan 2008-2023 is the Cook Islands’ National Education Sector Plan and lays out the formal education sector’s strategy. Here too, climate change is not specifically mentioned.

The Early Childhood Curriculum (2017) encourages holistic learning with a strong connection to the environment.

iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Communication and Education

In the formal education system, ‘climate change education’ is referenced as part of the Enua e te Rangi (Earth and Sky) branch of the 2014 Cook Islands Science Curriculum. The National Social Science Curriculum outlines that students are expected to “learn about their present society and the role they will play in it, politically, economically and environmentally, as responsible citizens” (2014, p. 7). Importantly, climate change education understandings and approaches are infused with Māori Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in the Cook Islands.

The National Environmental Service website describes ‘environmental education’ as essential to “instilling in today’s generation the necessary RESPECT for the environment and the readiness to protect its natural biodiversity in order to hand down future generations the resources to respond to their needs” (2020, p. 1).

Further, the Cook Islands’ 3rd National Communication (2019) indicates climate change learning has been included under ‘Education for Sustainable Development’ as a way to avoid climate change being a standalone issue. The Communication indicates that this allows climate change to be a cross-cutting concern rather than being viewed only as a science subject. The Communication also mentions ‘mainstreaming’ of climate change education in relation to ‘national education’ and ‘public awareness’ initiatives.

The 3rd National Communication (2019) focuses on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and information transference as a means to achieve sustainable improvements in social, economic, cultural, and good governance thus improving the lives of all Cook Island peoples.

v. Budget for climate change communication and education

According to the Cook Islands United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Profile, 4.3% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GPD) was spent on education in 2016.

The country’s national budget for year 2021/2022 does not include a  specific budget allocation for climate change education, despite allocating multiple resources to climate change adaptation. However, the 2nd Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (2016-2020) allocates US$250,000 to be used in climate change communications. The National Environment Service received a yearly budget of US$488,263 (NZ$697,467) during the timeframe of the 2nd Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (2016-2020). Climate change is a frequent topic in the Ministry Business Statements of 2021. While this document indicates the country has funding allocations for climate change training initiatives, the value of the allocation is not clear.

The Green Climate Fund’s Cook Islands Climate Change Country Programme 2018-2030 outlines emissions and climate resilience priorities that can be supported by the Fund’s Readiness and Preparatory Support program. The Program refers to the country’s international climate commitments and estimates that US$1-1.45 billion in funding would be required to implement the initiatives outlined in the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2015). The Program’s Strategic Objective 1.6 aims to “strengthen the [Climate Change Cook Island Office]’s technical capacity to monitor and evaluate projects and programmes funded through climate financing” (p. 44). Funding support for climate change research agencies is one indicator used to measure the effectiveness of the climate change policy.

The Green Climate Fund has also funded US$11.9 million in readiness grants, which are designed to increase climate resilience and support low-emission development in countries. The funds will support two nationwide climate change projects around renewable energy and climate information and knowledge services. The Cook Islands is the first country in the Pacific region and the first Small Island Developing State (SIDS) to receive such funding.

According to the Adaptation Fund (2018), the Cook Islands was granted US$5.38 million in 2012 by the United Nations Development Programme to be used over a 5-year period to strengthen the island nation’s climate resilience. A total of US$100,000 was earmarked for climate change adaptation and knowledge management, which supported the documentation of community experiences, digital stories, and photo essays. The funds were also used to develop a Facebook page for Climate Change Cook Islands to act as a hub for climate change impacts and adaptation measures.

According to the 3rd National Communication (2019), the main hurdle to achieving all climate change mitigation efforts is funding.


  1. Climate change education and training in the country

i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary and secondary education

A range of Cook Islands policy documents recognize the importance of climate change education. The National Climate Change Policy (2018-2028) includes education and public awareness as a cross-cutting area to mainstream climate change in the country’s development planning. The Policy states that the country’s intention is to “strengthen education and public awareness on climate change at all levels, including through school curricula” (p. 14). This indicates the government’s interest in making changes to the school curricula to be more inclusive of climate change education.

The National Curriculum Framework (2006) uses a ‘Tree of Learning’ to represent the country’s curriculum structure. Each part of the tree represents a stage in learning, with the roots being early childhood education and the branches being upper secondary education. The Curriculum notes the importance of nature as a foundation of learning in the country, stating “The Tree symbolises the Cook Islands people’s close connection and affinity with nature and the land, their bond to spiritual beliefs, and their relationship to economic well-being” (p. 2). A description of the types of climate change-related keywords discussed in the curricula may be found in the MECCE Project Monitoring section of this profile.

The Early Childhood Curriculum (2017) focuses on developing positive attitudes towards identity and inquiry in an environment that is closely linked to the home and community. Students are encouraged to increase their awareness of their environment, to inquire, explore, and expand their understanding of the way things are and the different ways of doing things. Central to the Early Childhood Curriculum are six principles that ground learning, including Piri’anga (Relationships), which describes the importance of developing “responsive, warm two-way relationships with people, places and things” (p. 13). The two-way connection between the learner and the world they inhabit is paramount to the beginning stages of learning of Cook Islanders. In the principle concerning Identity, children develop “skills in caring for the environment, such as cleaning, fixing, gardening and helping others with self-care skills” (p. 26).

Taieni (Science) education is the main way through which primary and secondary students begin learning about climate change at school. There are six strands of science learning, with climate change education being housed within the Enua e te Rangi (Earth & Sky) strand. As part of this strand within the Science Curriculum (2014), students investigate the structure and history of the earth and the processes that have shaped it, including “investigating the debate on climate change” and “talk about the science ideas found, in relation to the legends about phases of the moon and tides” (p. 16). According to the 3rd National Communication (2019), learning about changes to the natural environment is also included in the Social Science and the Māori curricula. There are mentions in the Social Science Curriculum of studying the ways that people have adapted to the environment over time, exploring appropriate responses for future sustainability, helping students appreciate the place of the Cook Islands in the international environment, and reflecting on relevant global issues.

Climate change education in formal education is supplemented by informal education efforts in the Cook Islands. For example in 2018, the Ministry of Education held a student conference in Rarotonga, the largest and main island of the Cook Islands. It was titled ‘A leader for sustainability today, for a better tomorrow.’ Around 105 students and 15 teachers from Rarotonga and Pa Enua Tonga, a southern island, attended the conference. The conference’s topics included climate change, pollution, solar energy, reviving the marae (sacred spaces), and water cycles. While there was interest in hosting this conference again in 2020, this review was unable to ascertain whether it occurred. Climate change lessons in the formal curricula are also supplemented by National Environmental Services informal national programming and initiatives.

The 3rd National Communication (2019) mentions that many schools set their own programs in line with the aims of the national curriculum. For example in 2019, Avarua School partnered with Korero O Te Orau, an environmental non-government organization (NGO), to support students’ formal learning of climate change through the United Nations Development Program Reef to Reef program. Programs like this tap into NGO, international, and private sector partners to strengthen climate change resilience throughout the Islands.

ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources

The University of the South Pacific–Cook Islands Campus offers Graduate Certificates in Education for pre-service Teachers, and Bachelor of Education degrees to build the skills of in-service teachers. Environmental education themes are included consistently throughout the coursework. Pre-service and in-service teachers also have the opportunity to learn about the environmental dimensions of Social Studies and Outdoor Education, as well as the important linkages between nature, culture, and the Cook Islands. There are no courses for pre-service or in-service teachers that specifically reference climate change education.

The 3rd National Communication (2019) reports on several additional initiatives in support of teacher training. Some of the country’s national climate change adaptation efforts include strategic partnerships, which benefit Cook Island teachers. For example, the Pa Enua Action for Resilient Livelihoods program undertakes a range of climate resilience activities such as preparing teachers to support their students to develop and care for school gardens. Under the program, which began in 2018 with the support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Adaptation Fund, the Climate Change Cook Islands Office and the Ministry of Agriculture, agricultural specialists train teachers on how to educate students on maintaining gardens. Teachers also learn how to connect gardening to Science, Social Studies, and Health and Wellness curricula. Further, the partnership ensures schools understand the garden’s connection to national Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2021, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established a teacher training position, with the goal to develop modules to train teachers in climate change in the Cook Islands. The position also aims to develop workshops that would involve at least 15 teachers per workshop in the Cook Islands.

iii. Climate change in higher education

The Cook Islands is home to a University of the South Pacific campus on Rarotonga, which is the only university in the country. The Pacific Center for Environment and Sustainable Development at the university offers post-graduate diplomas in climate change focusing on Science, Adaptation/Management, and Disaster and Resilience. There are also opportunities for students to pursue Master’s of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in climate change. The University of the South Pacific has received funding from the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance (EU GCCA) project to train regional and local experts and to strengthen climate change knowledge in the region. Importantly, Cook Islands students wishing to take up tertiary education traditionally travel aboard to Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand.

The Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute designs and implements climate change courses with the support of the University of the South Pacific, the Pacific Center for the Environment, and the Global Climate Change Action Alliance Plus. Part of this effort includes ensuring that learning is context specific and appropriately accredited. The Institute’s website was under construction at the time of this review so specific information on these courses was available.

One of the main challenges to implementing climate change communication and education policies in the Cook Islands is a shortage of human resources in the relevant technical areas. The National Climate Change Policy (2018-2028) envisions that the key to building national capacity to support enacting climate change policies lies in increasing climate change learning at the primary and secondary education levels, and in ensuring more science students study climate change in tertiary education. The number of science graduates is one indicator used by the country to measure the effectiveness of the Policy.

iv. Climate change in training and adult learning

The Cook Islands’ National Climate Change Policy notes that if the country is to succeed in climate change adaptation and mitigation, there is a need to “build capacity generally, but particularly in the scientific area to ensure timely access to locally relevant information” (2018, p. 20).

Strategy #8 on ‘Climate and Disaster Risk Resilience’ of the 2nd Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (2016-2020) aims to ensure government agencies, island governments, schools, and the wider community have the capacity to act on climate change adaptation, emission mitigation, and disaster risk reduction. As part of this Strategy, the Action Plan outlines that the Office of the Prime Minister would conduct a training needs analysis and implement training on climate change and disaster relief management at all levels across all government agencies, as well as non-government and civil society organizations. The Plan included church groups and Indigenous leaders in climate change training. It is unclear whether this analysis for training needs has been undertaken.

The 2nd Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (2016-2020) also includes Strategy #9 on ‘Human Health and Welfare’ that focuses on the role of traditional knowledge in developing coping strategies for climate change. The Ministry of Health encourages a spiritual and cultural approach when designing climate change activities. For example, farmers, fishers, and practitioners of traditional livelihoods who have observed agricultural and marine changes due to climate change over the past decade have been taught to use citizen data for tracking climate change.

The Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute provides Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) opportunities for Cook Islanders. National documents repeatedly point to the dire need for capacity building opportunities and training for adults. Based on results from the Strengthening Resilience of Our Islands and Our Communities to Climate Change Program, there is a dire need for the Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute to include climate change-informed technical training as part of their offerings. However, the country lacks local professionals with the ability to design and teach courses on solar panel installation, energy auditing, climate change adaptation and assessments, and ecosystem services. Similarly, according to a Training Needs and Gaps Analysis (2020), the country lacks resources, among others professionals with skills in proposal writing and project planning, accessing funds, and Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction finance.

There are also programs to increase citizens' participation in climate change activities through learning initiatives. For example, the National Environment Service is currently implementing a project on persistent organic pollutants. The intention of the project is to mobilize communities to participate in the responsible use of organic chemicals without polluting the atmosphere.


  1. Climate change communication in the country

i. Climate change and public awareness 

The Cook Islands has adopted public awareness communication strategies to enable climate change actions. The 2nd Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (2016-2020) mandates relevant authorities, including environmental agencies and schools, to build public awareness in the community with regard to early warning and environmental responsibility. The Plan also emphasizes the inclusion of Indigenous knowledges when building public awareness programs on climate change. The Cook Islands’ National Climate Change Policy (2018-2028) also encourages public awareness of climate change. The Policy recognizes the importance of raising climate change awareness among the citizenry since “increasing the awareness of climate change allows people to make better decisions through being well informed and being more prepared” (p. 20). The Policy also recognizes the role of schools in nurturing public awareness and fostering climate actions.

The country has reported on various public awareness programs that encourage Cook Islanders to act responsibly towards the environment, particularly in relation to the islands’ vulnerability to natural hazards. In its 3rd National Communication (2019) the country states that the Cook Islands National Environmental Services and other governmental agencies have implemented awareness activities such as translating climate change awareness campaign brochures into Māori, hosting special sessions to support school-based learning, and holding national events such as Takitumu Lagoon Day. The Lagoon Day is an Open Day for climate change that includes a communications campaign that encourages citizens to engage in climate change discourse and action. It was a collaborative event that involved various community and government agencies with interactive and educational sessions which were held for schools, communities, and businesses. However, due to funding limitations, the event has not been held since 2015.

ii. Climate change and public access to information 

The Cook Islands recognizes public access to information as a necessary tool to ensure people are informed of climate change and its effects. For example, the 2nd Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (2016-2020) outlines a strategy related to research, monitoring, and information management to provide quality information on climate change and disaster risk to assist with decision-making. One output of this strategy is that “readily accessible, transparent and understandable information is available on-line" (2016, p. 58).

The country’s National Environment Service also provides information on climate change on their website; produces television and radio programs and advertisements; and contributes to newspapers, newsletters, and other written publications both locally and regionally. According to the National Climate Change Policy, the Climate Change Cook Islands Office “should also take on an information sharing and distribution role” as the main contact point with international organizations (2018, p. 23). In addition, the Climate Change Cook Islands website hosts information and videos about climate change in the Cook Islands. The Cook Islands Ministry of Finance plays a role in coordinating climate partnerships and creating publicly accessible newsletters detailing climate oriented funding partnerships.

In its 3rd National Communication (2019), the Cook Islands reports that poor access to information is one of the barriers the country faces in its mitigation efforts. While the country aspires to increase public access to information on climate change, they recognize that such aspirations require investments into technology. Unfortunately, despite availability of technology and information, the Cook Islands face problems with access. As a result, they are taking a multi-sectoral approach to improve their Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure in a quest to enhance public access to information on climate change.

iii. Climate change and public participation 

Public participation in climate change action is highly valued in the Cook Islands. As such, the country is making considerable efforts to ensure different groups of its citizenry are involved in the country’s mitigation and adaptation initiatives and decision-making processes. For example, national climate policy documents, such as the Climate Change Policy (2018) and the 2nd Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (2016) were developed through extensive engagement and consultation processes with a wide range of stakeholders at the community, civil society, and government level.

The National Climate Change Policy (2018-2028) includes a policy measure relating to community participation, which states that private and civil society sector participation are important for achieving the country’s climate change goals. The Policy also mentions the government’s intention to incentivize the private and civil society sectors’ participation, indicating that their community mobilization structures could be utilized for climate change programs. This also demonstrates the partnership for climate change actions that the country encourages.

In the 2nd Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (2016), the country indicates an expressed need to ensure that villages and community groups participate in climate change programs. Specifically, the Plan indicates that women must be involved at all levels of climate change-related decision making, in recognition that women suffer an increased vulnerability to climate change’s effects.


  1. Monitoring and evaluation

i. Country monitoring 

Monitoring of climate change communication and education in the Cook Islands comes in different forms. Although there is no standalone government agency tasked with climate change monitoring in the country, different government activities serve this purpose. For instance, the National Climate Change Policy (2018-2028) includes indicators to monitor and assess all of the policy measures outlined in the document. The Policy assigns the Climate Change Cook Islands Office with the responsibility for monitoring the policy’s implementation and carrying out reviews. The National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (2015-2025), which was co-developed by the Cook Islands Statistics Office and the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century, assesses data and capacity needs across four sustainability-related sectors: sustainable economic development, sustainable human and social development, sustainable natural resources, and environmental management and governance.

The 2nd Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management also indicates the importance of effective monitoring and evaluation structures. It states that, since the implementation of the plan involves the use of state budgets, “it is important that there is accurate monitoring and reporting of implementation results and that transparency is maintained at all times” (2016, p. 39). As a result, the Action Plan development process involved producing the ‘Monitoring and Evaluation Readiness Assessment Report,’ included in the Plan, which articulates a clear monitoring and evaluation plan. The Plan is organized into nine strategies, which align with the Sustainable Development Goals. Under some strategies such as ‘human health and welfare’ and ‘climate and disaster risk resilience’, actions and sub actions include development of education-based programs, in the context of climate change. The Action Plan had recently reached the end of its implementation period at the time of this review, and as a result, the program’s assessment report is not yet available.

Goal 13 of the National Sustainable Development Plan aims to strengthen the country’s resilience to climate change and natural disasters. Achievement of the goal is tracked via three nationwide climate change indicators. For example, indicator 13.1 calculates the resilience index which assesses country-wide efforts to reduce the social, environmental, infrastructural, and social vulnerability of each island. In a similar vein, the Climate Change Country Programme of the Green Climate Fund includes a Strategic Objective to “establish an information platform that informs and monitors the performance and progress of project development, execution and impact,” (p. 44) with planned actions to “regularly publish online information on climate change and climate change financing in the Cook Islands including projects and contacts amongst others” (2019, p. 44).

The European Union is also supporting Cook Islands’ initiatives to monitor the effects of climate change on its vulnerable ecosystems. For example, the Environmental Monitoring to Enhance Community Livelihoods and Build Resilience to Climate Change in the Low-lying Atolls of Cook Islands project strengthens environmental monitoring capabilities in the northern Pa Enua group of islands, focusing on Manihiki Island. Specifically, the project seeks to better manage marine resources and increase the climate resilience of pearl farmers as well as artisanal and small-scale commercial fishery operators.

The Ministry of Education publishes regular reports on educational statistics and collects data for reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in relation to education. However, at the time of this review, there was no information available on SDG 4.7 (sustainability education) or SDG 13.3 (climate change education). 

ii. MECCE Project Monitoring

cook islandsThe Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined the 2011 National Curriculum Policy Framework (NCF; 2013) and the Tuvalu Education Sector Plan III (TESP III, 2016) (ESP), for references to climate change, sustainability, biodiversity, and the environment.

Across the National Curriculum Framework (NCF; 2002) ‘climate change’ is not referenced at all, while the ‘environment’ is referenced 40 times, ‘sustainability’ 3 times, and ‘biodiversity’ 0 times. The Education Sector Plan (ESP; 2008) makes no references to ‘climate change’ nor to the ‘environment,’ but mentions ‘sustainability’ twice. ‘Biodiversity’ is also not referenced.

This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.

This profile was reviewed by Sue Vize, UNESCO

Last modified:

Thu, 14/10/2021 - 14:36