25 Sep 2017

'Developed' status a challenge for the Cook Islands

2:45 pm on 25 September 2017

Based on the Cook Islands' gross national income, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), will officially declare it a developed nation in 2018.

The Cook Islands will become the first country in the Pacific, behind New Zealand and Australia, to gain this status.

But the minister of finance Mark Brown said it was not fully viable given current challenges and a lack of resources.

Mr Brown said while the change was a major milestone it involved considerable challenges and meant the Cook Islands had to consider a new way of doing business.

Cook Islands Finance Minister Mark Brown

Cook Islands Finance Minister Mark Brown Photo: Phillipa Webb / Cook Islands News

He said there were still options to efficiently run the country without the support of the large grants which would cease once the islands are declared a developed nation.

The Cook Islands received about US$51 million in Overseas Development Assistance grants in the 2017/18 financial year, and the change in status would mean that particular funding would no longer be available.

Based on the Cook Islands' gross national income, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, will officially declare the Cook Islands a developed nation in 2018.

The Cook Islands is currently on the list of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which were recognised as a distinct group of developing countries facing specific social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).