Cook Islands: Communication difficulties
Similar to the Philippines, the lead agency for the negotiation of international agreements in the Cook Islands has traditionally been the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration. In case of highly technical negotiations where other government departments or agencies may assume a lead role in the negotiations, Foreign Affairs usually maintains at least a supporting role on the delegation. The implementing agencies have often voiced concern over the Foreign Affair's lack of consultation prior to and during environmental negotiations, and even questioned why agencies implementing and ensuring enforcement of MEA obligations did not have more representation during the actual negotiations.
In February 2001, the Environment Services established an International Environmental Unit to coordinate the negotiation and implementation of MEAs. With effective channels of communication across government ministries and agencies, the creation of this unit would normally signal a positive development in inter-agency coordination. In reality, however, the creation of this unit had the opposite effect with increased ambiguity and disagreement over which government body oversees the negotiation and implementation of environmental agreements.
Source: United Nations University. Regional and National Approaches in Asia and the Pacific: Inter-linkages: Synergies and Coordination among Multilateral Environmental Agreements. Policy Brief, Global Environment Information Centre, United Nations University, Tokyo, January 2002.