Author Archives: KAPIII

Four new Ambassadors’ meet with President Tong

Dutch Ambassador -  Robert Willem Zaagman presenting his credentials to Kiribati President, Anote Tong

Dutch Ambassador – Robert Willem Zaagman presenting his credentials to Kiribati President, Anote Tong

Press Release: Bairiki Tarawa 24 February 2015

Four new ambassadors’ met with President Anote Tong last Monday to present their Letters of Credence as accredited Ambassadors’ to the Republic of Kiribati.

The visiting foreign diplomats include the U.S. Ambassador Ms. Judith Beth Cefkin, from the Netherlands – Dutch Ambassador Mr. Robert Willem Zaagman, Spanish Ambassador Mr. Manuel Viturro de la Tore and German Ambassador Dr. Anne-Marie Schleich.

All four diplomats are accredited Ambassadors’ to Kiribati after presenting their respective Letters of Credentials before Kiribati President His Excellency Anote Tong last Monday.

President Tong hosted the new ambassadors’ to an international cocktail reception last Monday where Tong spoke of the realization that we are one planet and as such there is greater need for global collaboration on the opportunities and challenges that the changing world pose such as climate change, sustainable development and fisheries to name but a few.

In his remarks on Monday night, President Tong reflected on the cordial relationship between Kiribati and the four countries and is confident that there is much to build on in pursuit of our mutual needs and promotion of the welfare of our peoples.

The Ambassadors’ from Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, as members of the European Union, will be visiting EU-funded projects in the country specifically the EU – Environmentally Safe Aggregates to Tarawa (ESAT) project, the EU – Solar Energy Project (School and business Solar PV equipment) as well as EU – Kiribati Water and Sanitation project.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador Judith Cefkin will be officiating a ground-breaking ceremony in North Tarawa for a brand new health clinic funded by USAid.

All four ambassadors’, who are non-resident in Kiribati, depart for their respective missions on Thursday.

New High Precision GPS Equipment for Kiribati

GPS Training Day 2

GPS Training Day 2

The shoreline and infrastructure assets are key elements of daily life in South Tarawa. Until now the accurate mapping and monitoring of these things has been undertaken using basic survey equipment and low accuracy GPS equipment. A new high precision state of the art GPS equipment has been purchased to improve the accuracy of measurement and recording of information in South Tarawa. The equipment was put to use on Tuesday 10th February with the first training workshop completed.

The equipment, worth in excess of $40,000, has been bought under the KAP III program and will be made available to the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities (MPWU), the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development (MELAD) and the Public Utilities Board (PUB) to vastly improve the speed and accuracy of the survey work they undertake. It is expected that the MPWU will use the equipment for monitoring shoreline erosion and will be able to quantify erosions rates to identify areas most of need of reinforcement. The PUB will use the equipment to accurately locate the water, electricity and sewer pipes, cables and fittings so that they can be relocated if they become buried over time. The MELAD officers will be able to use the equipment to more accurately define land boundaries and remark boundaries where necessary.

Part of the purchase included a week of training by Mr Rob van Manen, a GPS expert from Brisbane Australia. Rob described the new GPS system as being similar to that many fisherman might use and still used the same satellites but was far more accurate by being able to track more satellites and it was able to correct for the inaccuracies found in basic GPS units used for fishing. Rob praised the staff from MPWU, PUB and MELAD who undertook the training and noted they had all learned how to use the equipment very quickly and the days in the field with each ministry to show how to use the equipment in their normal daily tasks had been very productive.

Rain Water Harvesting Contract for Construction signed

The objective of the Kiribati Adaptation Program Phase III (KAPIII) is to ‘Improve the resilience of Kiribati to the impacts of climate change on freshwater supply and coastal infrastructure’. One of the infrastructure projects funded under KAPIII is the construction of rainwater harvesting systems on North Tarawa.

KAPIII Water Engineer, Marella Rebgetz, explained that “in keeping with the fact that KAPIII is a climate adaptation project, rather than a water infrastructure project, the provision of rainwater in North Tarawa is primarily aimed at trying to provide a reserve water supply for drought times, rather than an additional water supply for general use. Thus rainwater systems will be fitted on existing Church buildings, but the systems are to be owned and maintained by the village, rather than the Church, and the water is to be conserved for times when the wells go brackish.”

The contract for construction works for Rain Water Harvesting on North Tarawa was signed on Wednesday, 31 December 2014 between the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities (MPWU) and King Holdings Ltd. King Holdings will be constructing Rain Water Harvesting Works on Tearinibai KPC church, Nuatabu KPC church, Nuatabu Catholic church, Taratai Catholic church, Tabonibara Catholic church and Tabonibara Catholic maneaba.

The selection of villages was chosen so as to complement the villages being covered under the KIRIWATSAN Rainwater Harvesting Project.

KAPIII Program Manager, Kautuna Kaitara said that, extensive community engagement has been undertaken with these communities both to obtain their input into the designs, and to obtain their agreement regarding how the systems are to be operated and maintained.

A MoU between the village and the Churches has been signed regarding ownership, maintenance and operation of the system, and the sharing and conservation of water. Further community engagement with the villages to establish a committee to manage the systems is ongoing.

The works are expected to be completed by June this year.

The Kiribati Adaptation Program- Phase III (KAPIII) is a five-year project under the Office of the President and funded via the World Bank GEF LDCF Trust Fund with co financing from the governments of Australia and Japan, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery partnership, as well as in-kind from the Government of Kiribati.

EU announces $23 million Euro for Kiribati

Kiribati President, Anote Tong and EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica.  Photo credit: EU-Audio Visual Services.

Kiribati President, Anote Tong and EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica. Photo credit: EU-Audio Visual Services.

A $ 23 million Euro commitment was just signed between the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica and President of Kiribati, His Excellency Anote Tong in Brussels.

The funding will help to improve economic opportunities and livelihoods in Kiribati by developing Kiritimati, thereby also helping to alleviate growing climate change threats affecting the main island Tarawa as well as poverty. It includes supportive measures such as enhancing administrative capacities and boosting civil society organizations.

Announcing the support, Commissioner Mimica said, “Despite the geographical distance between the EU and Kiribati, I’d like to underline the EU’s ongoing commitment and support to being a firm partner to the country, as well as the Pacific region as a whole: particularly in its fight against climate change.”


Kiribati holds successful joint-side event with Taiwan at the margins of UNFCCC meeting in Lima, Peru

Side event in Lima, Peru

Side event in Lima, Peru

Press release – San Borja (Lima Peru) 8 December 2014

Ambassador Makurita Baaro took the audience into a journey of reality, beginning with the show casing of a local climate change song and video clip by the Kiribati Climate Change Children’s Network, where the children of Kiribati plea to world leaders for climate justice.

She then told participants that while the islands will not disappear in the next decade or so, climate change has already taken a toll on the islands with coastal erosion, constant sea intrusion affecting water lens and water supplies, Government expenses on the rise to protect public infrastructure, and agricultural activities difficult from the onslaught of sea level rise coupled with poor in-fertile soil.

Our Government has taken every effort to adapt to these new realities, Ambassador Baaro says, now it is has launched a comprehensive joint implementation plan on climate change and disaster called the KJIP and is taking a whole of nation approach to tackle the problem as well as preparing for the worst case scenario in the future.

She adds the four-month old grouping of the most vulnerable countries called the coalition of low lying atoll nations on climate change – CANCC – is another undertaking by Government to leverage advocate and tell the story of the plight of peoples in small low lying countries like, Tuvalu, Maldives, Tokelau, Marshall Islands and Kiribati. Uniting to join forces to focus global attention on the plight of their people, these atoll nations are barely three meters above sea-water level.  The CANCC inaugural meeting was held in Tarawa, Kiribati in July this year and is an open coalition inclusive of potential atoll islands including country and development partners genuinely interested in supporting their cause.

“It is no longer about who is to blame and what caused it?” she said. It is a common problem affecting us all and affecting our children and theirs. It is about working together, all of us within our capabilities, working together as good global citizens to address a major challenge to our one and only home…our Planet Earth”

‘We are the early warning system for the world, what’s going to happen to us will also happen to millions of people living in major coastal cities around the world, acting now is the only possible and most appropriate cause of action,’ she said.

Ambassador Baaro also took a time to acknowledge the continued partnership the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has done to Kiribati in many different areas that have had impact on Kiribati’s effort to tackle climate change.

The Kiribati-ITRI join side event was also attended by a Parliamentary delegation from Taipei, Taiwan.

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Coalition of Low Lying Atoll Nations on Climate Change meets at sidelines of UNFCCC meeting in Lima, Peru

Her Execellency  Makurita Baaro delivers her speech in Lima, Peru

Her Execellency Makurita Baaro delivers her speech in Lima, Peru

Press release – San Borja (Lima-Peru) 7 December 2014

Born out from an inaugural Leaders’ meeting in Kiribati’s capital Tarawa in July 2014 hosted by Beretitenti Tong, Kiribati’s Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, HE Makurita Baaro says this is the first Ministerial and Ambassadorial level meet of the coalition members, following the most recent CANCC leaders meeting held in Apia, Samoa at the sidelines of the Third UN Conference of SIDS in September.

“The leaders agreed in Apia that officials from the five countries’ capitals (Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Tokelau) shall progress three major goals of the young coalition, and that is, the setting up of a climate alert fund for the coalition, consider options for the institutionalization of the coalition and to agree on milestone events for 2015,” Ambassador Baaro said.

The meeting not only provided the opportunity for members of the coalition to discuss and progress these directives from Leaders but was also seen by the meeting as a welcomed opportunity to strengthen CANCC, still very much in its infancy requiring collective and constant nurturing from all members.

While the coalition is very much in its infancy the meeting further reiterated their countries commitment to see this coalition through based on the very real fact the member countries have so much to gain by working together being at the frontline of the most vulnerable in the face of climate change, for the benefit of their respective citizens.

In considering the decision by CANCC Leaders in Apia to look into the establishment of a Climate Alert Fund for the coalition, the meeting agreed to pool their capacity as one in developing the concept of the  fund given the experience each country has in managing their own individual trust funds. It was also important to consider this in the context of new developments happening on climate financing. Officials agreed to first discuss the establishment of the CAF with relevant national stakeholders including financial experts in their capitals. The subject will then be further discussed in February 2015 at the wings of the ADP Session in Geneva.

The meeting agreed that it was important to ensure that the CAF adds value to all the members by way of acting as a catalyst to improve access to new climate funding including the new Green Climate Fund and other climate funding facilities.

The meeting agreed that as frontline nations to climate change, it is important to take the lead in the Ratification of the Doha Amendments as a way of showing its commitment to the COP process and advocate expediting its ratification in other groups.

The meeting also highlighted the critical importance of the coming year in the lead up to COP 21 in France and the finalization of the post 2015 Development Agenda and agreed that CANCC member countries should take every opportunity to meet at the margins of all key UN high-level events that are related to climate change and sustainable development.

The Meeting was attended by the Foreign Minister of Tuvalu, Honourable Taukelina Finikaso, the Kiribati and Maldives Ambassadors to the United Nations, Senior officials from the Marshall Islands as well as officials from Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Maldives.

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Kiribati may be the first country to disappear

Tebunginako villagers stand in the sea where their village used to be. They had to relocate their village because of rising sea levels, erosion and saltwater inundation. Photo: Justin McManus/The Age

Tebunginako villagers stand in the sea where their village used to be. They had to relocate their village because of rising sea levels, erosion and saltwater inundation. Photo: Justin McManus/The Age

The Pacific Island nation of Kiribati may be the first country to disappear under the rising sea levels of climate change.

Its people fear their homeland may become the world’s next Atlantis.

As our boat nears the shore, the dark shadows beneath the sea sharpen into focus. Chiselled coral stones, organized neatly into rows, glisten from the reef of this shallow cove.

We are drifting over the foundation of the surrendered neighbourhoods of Tebunginako. The village was once home to more than 200 households, but today it lies beneath several metres of turquoise water.

“We used to swim out there to see the ships when we were boys. They’d tie them up to the coconut trees just over here,” explains the Mayor, pointing enthusiastically as we coast over the remains of his town. Locals say Tebunginako was once the island’s main harbor – before the rising sea swallowed its coast.

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Water leak detection works underway

Evire Banririe, PUB Water Reticulation Secnior Technician, checks the Water Air Release Valve

Evire Banririe, PUB Water Reticulation Secnior Technician, checks the Water Air Release Valve

Leak detection works is being carried out on South Tarawa’s main water reticulation system using a sound detection device. The work is being carried out by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) and Posch and Partners Consulting Engineers (P&P) through the Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) The leak detection works is being carried out by Mr Robert Skerjanz from P&P who is a leak detection expert with 28 years’ experience and PUB staff.

Posch & Partners Consulting Engineers (P&P) are based in Austria, Europe. The company is specialized on water, energy and environmental projects and provides consulting services, designs and construction supervision. The main focus is on water supply, wastewater and hydropower projects.

P&P will lead the implementation of leak detection and pipe network repair/minor upgrade activities on the PUB water supply network in Betio and South Tarawa; implement improved public water distribution systems in selected pilot South Tarawa communities and to build the PUB’s capacity in leak detection, repair, and planning/managing programs of leak investigation and leak reduction.

Mr Robert Skerjanz, the Leak Detection Expert with 28 years experience said, “Performing active leak detection on the transmission main, from the water treatment plant to the reservoir in Betio is essential in order to repair leaks before the road is newly surfaced by the KRRP.”

Although it is still premature to provide results, Mr Skerjanz said that after completing the works on the transmission main, activities will be extended to the reticulation system where he expects a lot more leakages.

Mr Skerjanz said that three water meters will be installed in chambers along the 30km transmission line, which will allow PUB in the future to monitor the water consumption section by section. An abnormal consumption with one section will indicate to PUB a leak in the section.

Mr Kautuna Kaitara, Program Manager for KAPIII said that reducing leakage is a key priority for the Government of Kiribati which will address the supply/needs of approximately 50% of national population residing in South Tarawa.

In 2000 a World Bank-funded study estimated that in the absence of adaptation the combined effect of sea level rise, changes in rainfall and higher temperatures could result in a decline of 19-38% in the thickness of the main groundwater lens in Tarawa and inundation of up to 54% of land in some villages in South Tarawa and up to 80% in some villages in North Tarawa by 2050.

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KAPIII Mid Term Review


Mid Term Review Team during wrap up meeting

Mid Term Review Team during wrap up meeting

The Government of Kiribati, The World Bank Team together with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT – Australia) conducted a Mid-Term Review on the Kiribati Adaptation Program Phase – III (KAPIII) from 30 Oct to 6 Nov 2014.

Consultations was carried out with major key stakeholders like the Office of Te Beretitenti, Ministry of Public Works and Utilities, Ministry of Environment Lands and Agricultural Development , Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Public Utilities Board and others.

KAPIII was implemented since March 2012 and it has been two and half years since its official commencement date.

The mission highlighted some of the achievements which included the substantial implementation of the leak measurement and detection program on the PUB transmission main, confirming locations for the abstraction galleries that witnessed land owners sign the voluntary land use agreement in North Tarawa, completed designs for rainwater harvesting systems based on community consultations, engagement of a Water Governance advisor assisting the GoK Task Force to address issues on both Bonriki and Buota Water Reserve to name a few.

One of the many positive outcomes of the mission was that the Government of Kiribati has confirmed its determination to complete the project on time (i.e. through 31 August 2016) and within budget. It also endorsed strengthening the management to undertake the large remaining tasks, including completing the seawalls, leak repairs, rain water harvesting and abstraction galleries using local contractors. Overall the outcome of the KAPIII mid-term review had been productive.

Small island nations must unite or drown in rising seas


The Island of Abaiang. Much of the archipelago is not more than a few meters above sea level. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age

The Island of Abaiang in Kiribati. Much of the archipelago is not more than a few meters above sea level. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age

The president of the Seychelles has urged the planet’s small island nations to unite for an unprecedented campaign against climate change or else drown.

The rallying call came at the start of a two-day summit of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), a coalition of small island and low-lying coastal countries, to prepare for global climate talks to take place in Lima, Peru in December.

“Too often the world has chosen to ignore us; too often we are treated as bystanders,” said Seychelles president James Michel, whose Indian Ocean island nation is hosting the meeting.

“Let us be heard on every beach and every roadside – let us be heard in Beijing, in Delhi, in Johannesburg, in London, in Moscow, in New York, in Paris, in Rio.

“Let us be heard in every village, in every town, in every city of the world; let us be heard on the airwaves.

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