Australia’s partnership with Cook Islands
How we are helping
On 1 January 2020, Cook Islands graduated from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) List of Official Development Assistance (ODA) Recipients.
Prior to the pandemic, the strong performance of Cook Islands' tourism industry resulted in a relatively high GDP per capita in comparison to many Pacific island countries and the OECD's decision to classify Cook Islands as a high income-country.
Australia allocated $2 million per year from 2020-21 to 2023-24 in non-ODA funds to support Cook Islands after its graduation from the OECD’s List of ODA recipients on 1 January 2020. This funding is supporting Cook Islands' regional engagement and provides for their continued participation in Australian-led and ODA-funded Pacific regional initiatives. It will not be reported as ODA.
Cook Islands' post-graduation priorities include developing marine resources within their large exclusive economic zone, and further developing its tourism, education, seabed mining and renewable energy sectors. Australian post-graduation funding to Cook Islands is supporting investments in economic growth and governance; regional security, including environmental security; fisheries; pollution management; Cook Islands' COVID-19 response; and gender equality.
Australia's development efforts are set out in Partnerships for Recovery: Australia's COVID-19 Development Response.
ODA achieved program activities
- 2019-20 total Australian ODA estimated outcome
- $3.7 million
- 2019-20 bilateral budget estimate outcome
- $1.9 million
Prior to 1 January 2020, Australia worked with New Zealand through a delegated cooperation arrangement to support Cook Islands' long-term prosperity. Australia supported development activities to:
- improve water and sanitation (SDG 6) by upgrading septic tanks to a reticulated sanitation system and providing technical assistance to strengthen the regulatory environment
- improve quality of education (SDG 4) through budget support and
- improve women's economic participation (SDG 5) and eliminate violence against women.