Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEA)

MEAs are legally binding International Agreements between three or more state parties based on a common environmental goal.

NES - Legislation - MEAs

There are a number of MEAs that apply to the Cook Islands, with shared responsibilities across local entities (Government and NGOs). NES is the focal point for most MEAs. 

MEAs in the Cook Islands

LANDOCEANAIR
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)Protocol for the Prevention of Pollution of the South Pacific Region by Dumping, with Annexes I-IV (Protocol on Dumping). Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological DiversityProtocol concerning Co-operation in combating Pollution Emergencies in the South Pacific Region (Protocol on Pollution Emergencies). Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, and Protocols
Convention on Conservation of Nature in the South Pacific Region (Apia Convention). South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (with Annexes and 3 Protocols)Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Convention.International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS 1974) and its Protocol of 1978.Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. (London)
Convention for the Protection of the Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region 1986 (SPREP or Noumea Convention). United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), with Annexes I-IXAmendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. (Copenhagen)
Convention for the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention) Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982.Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer adopted by the Ninth Meeting of the Parties. (Montreal).
Convention on Wetlands of International importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (RAMSAR Convention). Amendments - Paris 1982 and Regina 1987. Agreement Relating to the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. (Beijing)
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought.Convention for the Prohibition of Fishing with Long Driftnets in the South Pacific. (Wellington Convention). United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling.Convention to Ban the Importation into Forum Island Countries of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes and to Control the Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region (Waigani Convention- the regional equivalent of the Basel Convention).
International Convention Relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties (Intervention Convention 1969)Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.
The International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation 1990 (OPRC Convention).Amendment to the Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973; and the Protocol of 1978 relating to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 (MARPOL) 73/78).Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (Stockholm).
Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (London Dumping Convention and 1996 Protocol to the London Convention).Convention on Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (Rotterdam 1998).
International Convention relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties (1969); and the Protocol relating to Intervention on the High Seas in cases of Pollution by Substances other than Oil, 1973.
International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969 and the 1976, 1984 and 1992 Protocols to the Civil Liability Convention (CLC 1969.)
International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation of Oil Pollution Damage, 1976, 1984 and the 1992 Protocols to the Fund Convention (FUND 1971).
Agreement establishing the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. (1992)
Barbados Declaration and Program of Action.
LAND
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Convention on Conservation of Nature in the South Pacific Region (Apia Convention). 
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Convention.
  • Convention for the Protection of the Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region 1986 (SPREP or Noumea Convention). 
  • Convention for the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention) 
  • Convention on Wetlands of International importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (RAMSAR Convention). Amendments - Paris 1982 and Regina 1987. 
  • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought.
OCEAN
  • Protocol for the Prevention of Pollution of the South Pacific Region by Dumping, with Annexes I-IV (Protocol on Dumping). 
  • Protocol concerning Co-operation in combating Pollution Emergencies in the South Pacific Region (Protocol on Pollution Emergencies). 
  • South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (with Annexes and 3 Protocols)
  • International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS 1974) and its Protocol of 1978.
  • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), with Annexes I-IX
  • Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982.
  • Agreement Relating to the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.
  • Convention for the Prohibition of Fishing with Long Driftnets in the South Pacific. (Wellington Convention). 
  • International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling.
  • International Convention Relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties (Intervention Convention 1969)
  • The International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation 1990 (OPRC Convention).
  • International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973; and the Protocol of 1978 relating to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 (MARPOL) 73/78).
  • Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (London Dumping Convention and 1996 Protocol to the London Convention).
  • International Convention relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties (1969); and the Protocol relating to Intervention on the High Seas in cases of Pollution by Substances other than Oil, 1973.
  • International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969 and the 1976, 1984 and 1992 Protocols to the Civil Liability Convention (CLC 1969.)
  • International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation of Oil Pollution Damage, 1976, 1984 and the 1992 Protocols to the Fund Convention (FUND 1971).
  • Agreement establishing the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
  • Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. (1992)
  • Barbados Declaration and Program of Action.
    AIR
    • Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
    • Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, and Protocols
    • Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. 
    • Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. (London)
    • Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. (Copenhagen)
    • Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer adopted by the Ninth Meeting of the Parties. (Montreal).
    • Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. (Beijing)
    • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
    • Convention to Ban the Importation into Forum Island Countries of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes and to Control the Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region  (Waigani Convention- the regional equivalent of the Basel Convention).
    • Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.
    • Amendment to the Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.
    • Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (Stockholm).
    • Convention on Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (Rotterdam 1998).

    MEAs Implemented by NES:

    International Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs)NES Focal Point (Y/N)Implemented into national legislation (Y/N)MEA ObjectivesNES’s Implementation Role

    Basel Convention

    Ratified 29 June 2004

    YesNoneConvention aims to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects resulting from the generation, transboundary movements and management of hazardous and other wastes. NES issues the export permits transboundary substances listed under the Convention

    Convention on Biological Diversity 1992

    Ratified 20 Apr 1993

    YesEnvironment Act 2003The overall objective for this Convention is to conserve biological diversity, promote the sustainable use of its components, and encourage equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. Such equitable sharing includes appropriate access to genetic resources, as well as appropriate transfer of technology. This takes into account existing rights over such resources and technology.The Environment Act 2003 captures CBD to some extent but does not include associated Protocols. Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity AND Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing.
    Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals 2006 (BONN Convention)

    Ratified 01 Aug 2006
    YesNoneConvention aims to conserve migratory species of wild animals worldwide. Wild animals require specific focus given their importance ranging from environmental, ecological, genetic, scientific, recreational, cultural, educational, social to economic.Shared responsibility between and amongst government agencies between MMR and NES.
    Convention for the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention) 1972Yes

    Culture and Historic Places Act 1994

    Cook Islands Natural Heritage and Trust Act 1999

    The Convention addresses the threat of destruction to the cultural and natural heritage of the world. It serves to establish an effective system of collective conservation and protection of the cultural and natural heritage of the world. Environment Act 2003 mandates for regulations to be created for Protected Areas and Species
    Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (RAMSAR Convention) 1971NoNoneThis Convention seeks to conserve wetlands areas being marsh, fern, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary to conserve the habitat for waterfowl. Birds ecologically depend on wetlands. Cook Islands is not a state party to RAMSAR but have adopted its objective of protecting wetlands under the Environment Act 2003.

    The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer 1985

    Ratified 22 Dec 2003

    YesEnvironment Act 2003The Precursor Convention to the Montreal Protocol and succeeding protocols. The Convention aims to create a framework to protect the globe’s ozone layer. It takes precautionary measures to control global emissions of substances that deplete it.NES is the designated competent designated authority for regulating Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).

    The London Amendment 1990

    Signatory 22 Dec 2003

    YesEnvironment Act 2003Changed the ODS emission schedule by requiring the complete phaseout of CFCs, halons, and carbon tetrachloride by 2000 in developed countries, and by 2010 in developing countries. Methyl chloroform was also added to the list of controlled ODSs, with phaseout in developed countries targeted in 2005, and in 2015 for developing countries.NES is the designated competent designated authority for regulating Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).
    The Copenhagen Amendment 1992
    Signatory 22 Dec 2003
    YesEnvironment Act 2003Aims to accelerated the phaseout of ODSs and incorporated an hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) phaseout for developed countries, beginning in 2004. Under this agreement, CFCs, halons, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform were targeted for complete phaseout in 1996 in developed countries. In addition, methyl bromide consumption of methyl bromide was capped at 1991 levels.NES is the designated competent designated authority for regulating Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).

    The Montreal Amendment 1997

    Signatory 22 Dec 2003

    Yes

    Environment Act 2003 

    Environment (Ozone Layer Protection) Regulations 2008 (Repealed)

    The amendment to the Montreal Protocol as set out in Annexes I to III to the report of the Ninth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Decision IX/4), which was held in Montreal from 15 to 17 September 1997, was adopted in accordance with the procedure laid down in article 9 (4) of the 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer.NES is the designated competent designated authority for regulating Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).

    Kigali Amendment 2016

    Signatory 22 Aug 2019

    YesEnvironment (Montreal Protocol) Regulations 2021Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to reduce the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 80% in the next 30 years.

    NES is the designated competent authority for regulating Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and Non- ODS Substances.  

    Kigali amendment have also been regulated through the Environment (Montreal Protocol) Regulations 2021

    United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 1992

    Ratified 20 April 1993

    YesEnvironment Act 2003 The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments is to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner. NES has the legal mandate under the Environment Act. Formerly regulated Climate Change activities which was then transferred to the Office of the Prime Minister.

    Kyoto Protocol 1998

    Ratified 27 Aug 2001

    No None Kyoto Protocol is a sub- agreement under the UNFCCC with an aim to to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. The timeframe allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and promote sustainable development.

    Kyoto Protocol falls under the mandate of Environment Act 2003. But no legislations have since been made by the Cook Islands for the protocol. 

    Implemented by the Climate Change Division at the Office of the Prime Minister (Cook Islands).

    Paris Agreement

    Ratified 01 Sep 2016

    No None This Agreement is subsidiary to the UNFCC with an aim to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It is to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

    Paris Agreement falls under the mandate of Environment Act2003. But no legislations have since been made by the Cook Islands for the protocol. 

    Implemented by the Climate Change Division at the Office of the Prime Minister.

    Stockholm Convention (POPs) 1970

    Ratified 29 Jun 2004

    Yes NoneConvention aims to  protect human health and the environment from the effects of persistent organic pollutants (POPs)Project based implementations by NES. Also shared responsibilities with Agriculture.

    Rotterdam Convention

    Ratified  20 June 2004

    Yes Biosecurity Act 2008 The objective of the convention is to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among parties in international trade of certain pesticides and hazardous chemicals to protect human health and environment from harm.NES project based and shared responsibility with Ministry of Agriculture. NES is responsible for some chemicals under the Convention while Ministry of Agriculture remains as the primary implementing agency with legal mandate.

    United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification 1970

    Acceded 23 August 1998

    Yes

    Environment Act 2003 

    Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries 1978 (Repealed by Agriculture Act 2021)

    The Objective of this Convention is to protect people living in areas affected by desertification, land degradation and drought to create a resilient livelihood base and secure long-term benefits while enhancing the healthy functioning of ecosystems.Shared responsibility between Ministry of Agriculture and NES as implementing agencies.

    Law of the Sea Convention 1982

    Ratified 15 Feb 1995

    No

    Ministry of Marine Resources Act 2005 

    Maritime Transport Act 2008 

    Seabed Minerals Activities Act 2019 

    Environment Act 2003

    Aims to define coastal and maritime boundaries, to regulate seabed exploration not within territorial claims, and to distribute revenue from regulated exploration.

    UNCLOS is implemented through various pieces of legislations between and amongst different agencies. 

    NES role is not explicit but it has mandate to regulate environment impact arising within territorial seas and extended out to the exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles. 

    Other key regulatory role UNCLOS remains with Ministry of Marine Resources, Seabed Minerals Authority, Maritime Cook Islands.

    REGIONAL MEAs

    International Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs)NES Focal Point (Y/N)Implemented into national legislation (Y/N)MEA ObjectivesNES’s Implementation Role

    Noumea [SPREP Convention] 1986

    Ratified 9 Sept 1987

    Yes Environment Act 2003The Convention applies to the South Pacific region. Its parties seek to conclude bilateral or multilateral agreements for the protection, development and management of their marine and coastal environment. Furthermore is to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the Convention areas. NES is focal implementing agency recognized by legislation

    Noumea Dumping Protocol 

    Ratified 29 Nov 1988

    Yes None NES has shared responsibility with MOT as implementing agencies.

    Noumea Emergency Protocol

    Ratified  9 Sept 1987

    Yes NoneThe Protocol supports the previous Convention and specifically with preventing pollution in the South Pacific region by way of dumping. NES has shared responsibility with MOT and Emergency Management Cook Islands.
    Convention on Conservation of Nature in the South Pacific Region (Apia Convention).Environment Act 2003 None The main objective of this Convention is to commit the Parties to take action for the conservation, utilisation and development of the natural resources of the South Pacific region through careful planning and management.NES is a focal implementing agency and also recognizes the convention as an objective of the Environment Act 2003

    Waigani Convention 1995

    Ratified 24 Oct 2000

    Yes None The Convention seeks the conservation, utilisation and development of the natural resources of the South Pacific region. It encourages the creation of national parks (or protected areas) for the preservation of indigenous fauna and flora. The Convention seeks to have countries create protected areas to safeguard representative samples of ecosystems, places of scenic, geological, aesthetic, historical, cultural or scientific importance.NES has a shared responsibility with MOT and MMR as implementing agencies.

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