Since 2014, the EU has been supporting the efforts of the government in the water, sanitation and hygiene sectors to improve service delivery to its citizens in addition to supporting the competitiveness of the Cook Islands tourism sector.
The release of these funds, committed in 2017, is particularly timely in light of the impact of Covid-19 on global health systems. Cook Islands has taken a renewed focus on the importance of safe access to water, sanitation and hygiene as essential pre-requisites for protecting human health and fighting the spread of communicable diseases such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tepaeru Herrmann, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Secretary, said: “This assistance received is gratefully appreciated, particularly given the recent global challenge of Covid-19 and resulting health and economic impacts.
“The European Development Fund is a programme of support held in high regard by the Cook Islands for its direct contributions to lifting health outcomes, as well as enabling efforts to address waste management, biodiversity protection, ocean and coastal governance as well as the root causes of gender inequality and violence against women.
“These efforts are all the more important as we begin the task of both economic recovery and continued efforts to ensure the ongoing strengthening of our public health systems, and I look forward to future cooperation with the European Union to meet these challenges accordingly.”