Category Archives: Adaptation

Ambassador Teekoa Iuta giving her remarks during WED

Kiribati participates in World Environment Day celebrations

A special report from the Kiribati Embassy in Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan, 12 June 2014

The Kiribati Ambassador to Taiwan Her Excellency Teekoa Iuta was amongst a crowd of diplomats, government dignitaries and environmental enthusiasts who gathered last week in Taipei to celebrate the 2014 World Environment Day.

Themed as “Raise our voice, not sea level rise” the 2014 World Environment Day acknowledges the plight of the small island developing states. For countries like Kiribati such a plight focuses on environmental issues and challenges such as climate change.

“For me, and my brothers and sisters from the Pacific countries I give thanks to the decision by the Republic of China (Taiwan) through its Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to work with the Pacific Island countries in honouring the 2014 World Environment Day.” Kiribati’s Ambassador to Taiwan, Her Excellency Teekoa Iuta said in her statement during the World Environment Day celebrations.

In her remarks, Ambassador Iuta said that Kiribati has continually voiced its concerns at regional and global climate change forums with their debates and arguments taking many forms.

“In the early years we voiced our anger and blamed the world for the dangers to our islands and threats to our lives. But over the years we realized we cannot achieve much if we do not take charge of our situation but leave it to others. Thus we collaborated together and implored on the justice and morality of mankind to work together to save our planet earth for it is our moral responsibility to do so for our children and our grandchildren.” Ambassador Iuta said.

Iuta added by elaborating on some of the actions taken by Kiribati to address the issue of climate change which includes re-planting of mangroves to protect the shoreline, establishment of a Parliamentary Climate Change Committee that will assist government in coordinating and implementing climate change and environment development plans, creating the Phoenix Islands Protected Area which is closed-off from fishing and other extractive activities to name but a few.

“Taiwan has been a strong and committed friend in our endevour to combat challenges of climate change and I acknowledge the visible and invaluable assistance provided to Kiribati through agriculture and aquaculture projects offered by the Taiwan Technical Mission and also of the provision of solar lamps for our schoold children and rural communities among other assistances.” Iuta said.

Minister Wei from the Environment Protection Agency said very little is known about the environmental challenges faced by small island developing states, specifically the very serious and real threat of climate change to countries like Kiribati and Tuvalu and hopes that this year’s World Environment Day will be the beginning of more public awareness within the Taiwan public.

Kiribati and Taiwan established diplomatic relations in 2003 and ever since Kiribati has been advocating the full membership of Taiwan in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Tamana Pump. Photo by: Carlo Iocovino

Water supply in Kiribati: Local solution

The Tamana Pump. Photo by: Carlo Iocovino

The Tamana Pump. Photo by: Carlo Iocovino

Press release: SPREP

The atoll of Tamana, in Southern Kiribati, is the origin of a pump design that has helped thousands of communities in the Pacific Island nation.

Now known across Kiribati and internationally as the Tamana Pump, the design is a simple hand powered system that can greatly reduce water contamination by allowing pumping from closed wells.

“It is essential to have a pump rather than use a bucket or a tin container to bring water. This common system of using a container on a string contaminates the well water” said Hon. Waysang Kumkee, Minister for Public Works and Utility (pictured below).

Hon. Waysang Kumkee, Minister for the Ministry of Works and Public Utilities. Photo: Azarel Marina
Hon. Waysang Kumkee, Minister for the Ministry of Works and Public Utilities. Photo: Azarel Marina

 On the remote outer islands of Kiribati, maintenance and spare parts might be many months away when the next supply ship or qualified technician arrives. But the Tamana pump has no electronics or complicated mechanical parts, allowing it to be repaired more easily if a system breaks down. Furthermore, it is a system that is well known enough the many community members are capable of repairing them themselves.

“If we can have 1 water tank to service a small community with a manual pump and try to avoid having an electrical pump, because our problem is maintenance and servicing, no one can actually look after it if it breaks. A manual pump, or gravity feed system, is the best long term solution” said the Hon. Waysang Kumkee.

SPREP has undertaken assessments on Abaiang atoll which included water testing that confirmed superior water quality at sites with Tamana pump systems. There is great potential for improved water supply solutions on the atoll as 92% of households there reported using hand held buckets to obtain water from their wells. Sites will now be indentified  where the new Tamama pumps can be installed.

The Government of Kiribati is leading a ‘whole-of-island’ integrated approach to climate change adaptation and disaster risk management. Abaiang atoll is the first site for this approach.Within the integrated approach, SPREP and the Kiribati Ministry of Public Works and Utilities, with project funding from USAID, are aiming to improve water resources capacity in Abaiang. The project will enable communities on the atoll to manage their water supply and better understand the vulnerabilities they are facing from climate change and non-climate related risks.

Also read: Kiribati celebrates World Water Day
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Kiribati people depend on potable well water, this supply has been affected by climate change

Kiribati to Celebrate World Water Day

Kiribati people depend on potable well water, this supply has been affected by climate change

Kiribati people depend on potable well water, this supply has been affected by climate change

Kiribati will be celebrating World Water Day on 24 March 2014 at the Bairiki Square in Kiribati’s capital, Tarawa, focusing on this year’s Kiribati theme ‘Water and Climate Change’.

People in Kiribati depend on potable ground water in wells and from rainwater, but this supply of water has been directly affected by climate change.

The ground water supply in South Tarawa is dependent on the size of the land area and as this diminishes as a result of rising sea levels and coastal erosion, so does the size of the water lens. This situation applies to all of the other islands of Kiribati.

Public Utilities Board (PUB), CEO, Kevin Rouatu said, Kiribati is like a floating ship with limited fresh water from its water lens, and despite the heavy rainfall that Kiribati has been blessed with in the past months, our water lens can only hold just a small percentage of the total rainfall.

“South Tarawa depends largely on the reservoirs in Buota and Bonriki so it is very vital for people to save the water they get from the main water system and not waste it”. Said Kevin Rouatu.

“KAPIII’s objective is to increase the resilience of Kiribati to the impacts of climate change on freshwater supply and coastal protection as a priority by the government of Kiribati”. Said Kautuna Kaitara, Program Manager for KAPIII.

“Our aim is to improve the water reticulation system on South Tarawa through leakage detection and repairs, to increase rainwater harvesting and to build abstraction galleries”, he said.

With regards to sustaining the Buota and Bonriki water reserves, Mr Kaitara said, KAPIII will be assisting in supporting the Government of Kiribati Water Committee by ensuring governance and sustainability of the systems in Bonriki and Buota villages.

“If water in this area is contaminated there will be no drinkable water to the 40 thousand plus population on South Tarawa and it will be catastrophic and costly for the people of South Tarawa compared to the  cost from a tsunami disaster”. Mr Kaitara said.

The Kiribati government through the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities, the Ministry of Health the Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) Public Utilities Board, SMEC and GCCA have joined efforts to make the most of this year’s World Water Day celebrations.

Also read: Reducing leakage in Tarawa, World Water Day 2013, Why Tarawa needs water reserves
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Fiji President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau inspects the guard of honor

Fiji President Visits Kiribati

Fiji President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau inspects the guard of honor

Fiji President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau inspects the guard of honor

The President of Fiji, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was given a full guard of honor and a traditional welcome ceremony at Eita Mwaneaba when he arrived on Sunday last week. The president, first lady Adi Koila Nailatikau and delegation were greeted by the Minister for Education, Maere Tekanene, Kiribati High Commissioner to Fiji, Retata Rimon and Officer in Charge for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Akka Rimon.

Unimwane Katangaua of Etia Village presented Ratu Epeli with their community’s symbol of good fortune and wished him peace, love and prosperity.

During the traditional welcoming in Eita the President thanked Cabinet Ministers, Elders and members of the Tarawa community for their hospitality and warm welcome.

He said the two countries are linked intricately and there are parts of Fiji that are there and parts of Kiribati that are in Fiji and they are very much alive and built on the relationship that both countries now have.

On his tour in Kiribati, the President visited the Fiji Community, the Marine Training Centre (MTC), Kiribati Fish Limited (KFL) and also went fishing with the Kiribati President, Anote Tong.

On a separate schedule, First Lady Adi Koila visited the Special School for the Disable and the Kiribati Family Health Association (KHFA).

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Mr Riibeta Abeta

I-Kiribati first international publication on climate change

Riibeta Abeta

Riibeta Abeta

Meet Mr Riibeta Abeta
Kiribati has not only for years been at center stage of the 21st century’s hottest topic of climate change, but the new year 2014 has ushered in the newest chapter of climate change for Kiribati, the first I-Kiribati single author on climate change.

In a typical Kiribati way of life, the young and newest author Mr. Riibeta Abeta expects no glints or glamour or even an entourage of the media to greet his first ever academic publication titled ‘Climate Change Adaptation and Coastal Zone of Kiribati’ published by the German based Lambert Publishing Company.

Speaking to TMN when asked what was his biggest motivation behind  his work? Mr. Abeta has this to say.

His motivation
‘I think forging our home island of Kiribati forward through today’s challenges, particularly in the future bleak scenarios brought in by climate change has been my biggest motivation to complete this book’

Although this is his first academic master-piece on climate change, Abeta is no stranger to the different dimensions of climate change that is impacting his beloved Kiribati, because he still lives with it and has argued for it at international foras when he worked as climate change officer with the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development in Tarawa as a Kiribati civil servant.

Future hopes
‘Amid the global campaigns about the uncertain future of Kiribati due to climate change, my worries always goes to our children, and therefore it points me to the fact that our young generation of Kiribati today must fully understand the full spectrum of their choices for their future lives; and we all know that this can be realized by more focused research on this hot topic, among other things.’

Mr Abeta’s background
Abeta has been on the Kiribati negotiation teams to the many UN Climate Change meetings since he joined the Ministry of Environment more than a decade ago, it is during his service with the Government of Kiribati that he got the Australian Leadership Award Scholarship to do his masters on climate change at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane.

‘This book in summary is about our capital island, South Tarawa, Kiribati; and a detail explanation on where it safe boundaries are with respect to the climate change threats.  The book also argued that the range of barriers and limits to climate change adaptation need to be considered into today’s developmental planning.  The time and resources spent to do the research was made possible through the Australian Leadership Award Scholarship and the University of the Sunshine Coast in Brisbane Australia when I did the Masters of Climate Change academic program in 2009 -2010.’

Cover page of Riibeta Abeta's book

Cover page of Riibeta Abeta’s book

The new author has found new strength and new heights in his first publication and has shared his thoughts and experience on how to get your work published in his facebook page and emails to his friends and colleagues in Kiribati.

Lambert Publishing Company
‘The Lambert Publishing Company (https://www.lap-publishing.com/site/home/10) based in Germany came across my work and expressed their interest to publish it globally (https://www.morebooks.de/), which has now brought this work about Kiribati to this level,’ he said.

‘This has not only demonstrated the potential of us I-Kiribati as trusted authors of books, but more importantly showcasing Kiribati’s stories, information, facts, problems and critical issues requiring support, at the international front.’

Defining our paths
According to Abeta, I-Kiribati are better suited to define their paths in terms of climate change.

Beyond climate change, the new author and father of two children has somewhat a more human touch and nationalistic feeling towards his new publication.

Hopes for a smarter and resilient Kiribati society
‘I felt, this publication of mine is entirely dedicated to the young and growing generations of Kiribati to be very informed by engaging in more innovative researches, adaptive to emerging threats, willingness to collaborate with each other to achieve a common goal for Kiribati, and remain true I-Kiribati. This publication hopes for a ‘smarter and resilient Kiribati society in the future.’

‘The “young generations” of Kiribati can achieve more than this, and I would like to encourage them to do their best for themselves, and for their future beloved home Kiribati. It is also with an earnest hope that this small achievement, signals an important message to all I-Kiribati citizens to help shape a ‘Smarter and Resilient Kiribati.’

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Suset in Kiribati. Photo by Michael obyrne

Kiribati solar PV training on the way

Suset in Kiribati. Photo by Michael obyrneSunlabob Renewable Energy, the Laos-based company specializing in renewable energy and clean water solutions throughout developing areas of the world, today (29 August 2013) announced it has been awarded a contract to provide hands-on solar PV training for local engineers and technicians in Kiribati, one of the least-developed island states in the Pacific region. The trainings – funded by the European Development Fund and managed by the Government of the Republic of Kiribati – will include Sunlabob experts providing instruction for on- and off-grid solar PV installation, operation and maintenance techniques, Eco Business reports.

The project comes on the heels of Sunlabob winning a contract in Kiribati in early 2013 to supply solar PV and related equipment for a variety of decentralized solar energy installations, including more than two-thousand solar home systems, hundreds of small businesses, community centers and schools, as well as village mini-grids.

“Providing local training is directly in line with Sunlabob’s tradition: to ensure self-sustaining, long-lasting renewable energy access by equipping local individual with the right skills,” said Andy Schroeter, co-founder and CEO, Sunlabob. “We’re pleased to be able to not only supply the solar PV materials to Kiribati’s electrification initiative, but to also provide the necessary human knowledge and training.”

The training, to be led by Sunlabob head engineer Antony Watkins, will consist of two parts. The first training will familiarize local engineers with grid-connected solar PV systems, resulting in the installation and commissioning of a 10 kWp grid-connected system at the Kiribati Solar Energy Company (KSEC) headquarters.

The second training will focus on off-grid solar-diesel hybrid systems, which will facilitate the implementation of hybrid solar systems at schools, small business and community centers throughout the islands. Both phases of training will comprise workshops that include theoretical knowledge-building and also hands-on practical technical instruction.

Read the full story on Eco-Business.com
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Related story: New solar Project for South Tarawa
Find out more about the 2013 Pacific Energy Summit

Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project ground breaking in Eita

Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project underway

Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project ground breaking in Eita

Local dancers beside the Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project signboard outside Eita Maneaba during the ground breaking ceremony. Picture Aretitea Teeta/AusAID

The ground breaking ceremony for the Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project (KRRP) was a success on Friday 26 July 2013 at Eita village, a historic site on Kiribati’s capital, South Tarawa.

“This is an important milestone of achievement, a green light for the go ahead of the actual construction of the road in the upcoming days” said Hon. Kirabuke Teiaua, Minister for Public Works and Utilities in his speech.

The KRRP is a $48.2 million project – funded by AusAID, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank in partnership with the Government of Kiribati – to reconstruct 35 kilometers of road for the 60,000 people living on South Tarawa.

The Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project  will provide more than 40 per cent of the population with better access to health clinics, schools and markets as well as assist the Government and the people of Kiribati in many ways such as:

  • A significant reduction in road maintenance costs
  • Improvement in health (less noise and dust) and road safety (wider pavement with more bus passing bays)
  • A reduction in travel times
  • Reduced wear and tear on vehicles

Rehabilitation of the road will start when the materials arrive in October and will take about 690 days to complete.

The Kiribati Adaptation Program Phase III (KAPIII) working on freshwater supply and coastal protection has on the other hand identified 8 locations on South Tarawa that is threatening public assets which includes inter alia the road in terms of coastal erosion. Tonkin and Taylor, contracted by the Government of Kiribati will review the designs for coastal protection works on the eight (8) sites identified.

“The arrangements agreed are such that KAPIII will work with the KRRP contractor to build coastal protection works on the eight sites distributed as follows – that works on 6 sites will be implemented by KRRP contractor McConnell Dowell with funds provided by KAPIII while works on the other 2 sites will be contracted out to local contractors.  Construction supervision for the former will be provided by an engineering contractor Roughton Int’l while the latter will be supervised by MPWU through the services of KAPIII Senior Civil Engineer.” KAPIII Program Manager, Kautuna Kaitara said.

Related News…
No potholes in road contract signing
Australia to give $15 million for road

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New Zealand Army Staff Sgt. Nick Bunker collects a water sample during a Pacific Partnership 2013 water quality assessment. Photo:  2nd Class Tim D Godbee, US Navy.

More water tests for Tarawa

New Zealand Army Staff Sgt. Nick Bunker collects a water sample during a Pacific Partnership 2013 water quality assessment. Photo:  2nd Class Tim D Godbee, US Navy.

New Zealand Army Staff Sgt. Nick Bunker collects a water sample during a Pacific Partnership 2013 water quality assessment. Photo: 2nd Class Tim D Godbee, US Navy.

Have you wondered why there are so many foreign soldiers and other imatangs on South Tarawa this week?

That’s because Pacific Partnership 2013 are here on another disaster response preparedness mission.

Freshwater is a precious resource in Kiribati. Read more: KAPIII
How does climate change affect our freshwater supply?

Part of the mission includes the testing the quality of water from a number of rainwater catchment systems by environmental health specialists from the New Zealand Army.

The systems are being assessed for prospective maintenance projects for future engineering projects, and to make suggestions to the people of Tarawa about what each systems water would be best used for New Zealand Army Staff Sgt. Nick Bunker said.

Ruateki Taato, a manager of one of the catchment systems tested, said that the water provided by the catchment systems was crucial to the communities well being and many people’s only source of water. He himself uses the water every day.

“Testing the quality is important to the people of my community because water is a large part of our health,” said Taato. “Without clean water we can’t be healthy.”

The catchment systems were donated by the New Zealand Agency for International Development in 2012, but must be maintained in order to operate properly and provide clean water.

“We are providing infrastructure to the people of Tarawa, but it’s also important that we ensure that they can maintain it by providing them with tools and knowledge,”Bunker said.

“There is a lot of equipment to these systems, but instructions on how to maintain them are not always clear. We’re trying to ensure that the aid that is being given here has a legacy.”

Conducted annually since 2006, Pacific Partnership is the largest disaster response-preparedness mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Working at the invitation of each host nation, Pacific Partnership is joined by partner nations that include Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Malaysia Singapore, South Korea and New Zealand.

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Cultural identity theme to 34th Independence

Last year's Independence Day celebrations at Bairiki. Photo: Contributed.

Last year’s Independence Day celebrations at Bairiki. Photo: Contributed.

Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) applauds the selection of this year’s Independence Anniversary theme, to ‘maintain cultural identity in development’ (‘babwaina te katei inanon te rikirake’).

KAPIII Project Manager Kautuna Kaitara said as a development project tasked to improve the resilience of Kiribati to the impacts of climate change, the KAPIII team was fully committed to upholding a culturally aware approach to all projects.

“KAPIII is tasked with increasing water supply and improving coastal protection in various local communities across the country and to ignore culture in any of these communities or projects would be very devastating,” Mr Kaitara said.

“I would like to congratulate the selection of 34th Independence Anniversary theme and hope it is reflected upon with some thought because our culture is very unique and without this identity Kiribati would be lost forever. Happy Independence celebrations to everyone.”

The Gilbert Islands became independent as Kiribati on 12 July 1979. In the Treaty of Tarawa, signed shortly after independence and ratified in 1983, the United States relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix Islands and those of the Line Islands that are part of Kiribati territory.

The 34th Independence Anniversary celebrations will feature an exciting and action-packed week of events, starting this Thursday 4 July, 2013 with the Inter Secondary School Competition at Bairiki Field.

Download the 34th Independence Anniversary – 2013 program (208KB, pdf)

Friday, the anniversary’s official day one, will see the continuation of the Inter Secondary School Competition from 7am as well as an early final inspection for gardening before the evening’s celebrations begin with the Opening Ceremony, live on Te Kabao BPA, at Bairiki Field from 7pm.

Key activities throughout the week include:

Day 2 (Saturday 6th July):

9am: Powerlifting, Bairiki Square
10am: JSS/Open Semi Final Soccer, Police Field Betio

Day 3 (Sunday 7 July):

7pm: Gospel songs competition, Bairiki Field

Day 4 (Monday 8 July):

11am: Wrestling Day one, Bairiki Field
11am: Weightlifting Day one, Bairiki Square
11am: Boat race, Bairiki Side
7pm: Open Talent, Bairiki Field

Day 5 (Tuesday 9 July):

9am: Wrestling Day two, Bairiki Field
9am: Soccer knockout SSS, Police Field Betio
9am to 5pm: Taekwando Final, KNYC
10am: Powerlifting Final, Bairiki Square
5pm: Cultural dancing Competition/JSS and SCC, Bairiki Field

Day 6 (Wednesday 10 July):

6pm: Beauty Contest, RKU Stadium

Day 7 (Thursday 11 July):

3pm: Boxing, Bairiki Volleyball Court
6pm: Battle of the Band (TSKL), RKU Stadium

Day 8 (Independence Day, 12 July, 2013):

From 6.30am at RKU Stadium
Finals from 10am at various locations

Download the 34th Independence Anniversary – 2013 program (208KB, pdf)

Local i-Kiribati children face an uncertain future in the face of climate change. Photo: Finn Frandsen, Politiken

Kiribati selects climate change framework

Key Note Address By Hon. Vice President, Teima Onorio

(On the occasion of the Nansen Initiative Pacific Regional Consultations, Edgewater Resort, Rarotonga, May 21 – 25 2013)

Jodtjif Nansen said and I quote “Nothing great and good can be furthered without international cooperation” and might I add through friendship and with respect.

Chair,

Our gracious host HE Henry Puna, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands,

I recognize the presence of HE Sprent Dabwido, President of Nauru,

Deputy Prime Ministers,

Honourable Ministers,

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen,

I bring to you warm greetings from the Government and people of Kiribati.

Kam na bane ni mauri and Kia orana!

Gratitude

Allow me Chair, to reciprocate the friendship and warm hospitality extended to us and members of our delegations by thanking most sincerely HE Prime Minister Puna, the Government and the people of the Cook Islands: “Meitaki Ma’ata!”

Let me extend my country’s and my own heartfelt gratitude to the movers of the Nansen Initiative, Norway and Switzerland and to the other members of the Initiative Steering Group and the European Union for their contributions to this important initiative.

I wish also to thank the organisers of these consultations, Nansen Initiative Secretariat staff and of course the Forum and SPREP for the excellent coordination to this event.

Kiribati attaches the highest importance to this consultation and follow up activities and I wish to convey President Tong’s support and apologies for being unable to attend due to a prior engagement and on whose behalf, I present this statement.

Kiribati Perspective

Kiribati has decided on a Climate Change and Climate Change Adaptation framework as a response to adapt to the slow onset of climate change and sea level rise, the framework that has the consensus and mandate of the people. The Framework outlines that (with the exception of Tuvalu and the Republic of the Marshall Islands), Kiribati will always be different when compared with other countries in the region, the difference of having no land to retreat to. That is, if the catastrophe is inevitable, we need to prepare ourselves and our people for eventual migration.

Kiribati has also embarked on radical changes to improve course offerings for training and upskilling in the technical and vocational skills areas to prepare our population in the event that if they wish to migrate, they do so with dignity. These include, the improvements of the technical and vocational programs accredited to International standards to prepare our young people for competition in the global labor market such as the; TVET upskilling and training (Australian standards) and infrastructure expansion; Maritime Training for Merchant and Fishing seafarers (STCW 95 approved); Nursing Training (require alignment with international standards); Kiribati Teachers’ College and the Police Service.

Movement of People within Boarders and Regionally

Within our national boarder, social obligation has seen families providing refuge in their homes and on their lands, providing family members to relocate to, due to massive coastal erosions. A number of villages, public buildings

and schools have been relocated due to extreme spring tides and severe coastal erosions. The alarming rate of coastal erosion that has been reported for the past two years has given rise to massive landmass loss, hence, have raised grave concerns for the Government.

The Seasonal Employment Programmes in Australia and in New Zealand through exposure of IKiribati people participating in the programs, provide life experience and working conditions outside of Kiribati and cultural norms which are different from the local setting. Positive initiatives by the labour receiving countries have shown the willingness to provide on the ground training for the workers whilst on assignment that add knowledge and skill areas, should migration eventuate. The other important project that involves the upskilling of English skills for primary school teachers will also form a firm foundation for the trade courses offered at TVET institutions, as students progress from formal education. These are small, but important stepping stones towards eventual migration.

At this juncture, allow me Chair to acknowledge with appreciation the ongoing seasonal work programs with the Governments of Australia and New Zealand.

Regional Relevance

The most recent water shortage in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the floods in the Fiji Islands, the tsunami that hit Samoa and Tonga, hurricanes which swept up Tubuai in Maohi Nui, Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, the Solomon Islands, Wallis and Futuna, the northern and eastern sides of the Fiji Islands and surrounding island groups, all figure in the scope of natural disasters that will see the displacement of people within respective boarders and assistance is needed to provide proper protection for those affected. This protection is essential as the young population from Kiribati and the region alike, begin to migrate on their own with the sound knowledge of climate change and what is in store for them, in the future.

I have highlighted the Kiribati perspective which I have no doubt can be put into context by any of the neighboring countries with little or no difference in the island vulnerable experiences, we all are facing.

Protection Agenda

The Nansen Initiative Protection Agenda kick starts the discussion on what potential recipient countries would need to consider outside of national legal frameworks when imposed upon by forcefully removed people. There are serious questions that need to be answered and I know the Protection Agenda will be agreed to and it is my genuine hope that as we progress with the consultations, we are able to provide insights from our individual country experiences.

The Initiative has shown that indeed there is social responsibility in the international community and that our efforts at the national levels to address internal movement of people affected by the sudden and slow onset of climate change and sea level rise are starting to receive international attention. The Protection Agenda is a soft but essential measure as it addresses a legal gap that exists amongst others, in the protection of displaced people outside of national borders.

The Stage is Set

The outcomes document of COP 18 highlights and correctly so the importance of cooperation between all nations that puts in place a platform of friendship and collaboration upon which adaptation activities may be launched.

Setting aside the character of the disaster to be used as a basis to trigger assistance and replacing it with a more appropriate and practical approach of determining whether or not the disaster in any form triggers displacement, is a better measure. The Nansen Initiative has responded to the challenge and invitation in paragraph 14(f) of the Cancun Outcome Agreement.

Challenge

The international community is engaging and I acknowledge with appreciation their ongoing support and I challenge us all to be candid in our country specific experiences. I wish the consultations and deliberations in these few days a success with fruitful outcomes for the benefit of our respective peoples.

To conclude, let me bestow upon us all, our traditional Kiribati blessings of Te Mauri (Peace), Te Raoi (Health) ao te Tabomoa (Prosperity).

Kam bati n rabwa, Thank you very much!