Category Archives: Effects

This sea wall is all that protects these homes in the village of Abarao on the island of Tarawa. Copyright: Finn Frandsen, Politiken

Social Dimension of Climate Change

The Minister for Environment, Lands & Agricultural Development and Chairman to Parliamentary Climate Change Committee, Hon. Tiarite Tioti Kwong launched the Kiribati Documentary on Social Dimension of Climate Change on Friday 02 August 2013 at Parliament club, Ambo.

The documentary supported by the EU Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States (GCCA: PSIS) Global Climate project, shows the impacts of climate change on the densely populated island of South Tarawa, Kiribati’s capital.

“Variability is threatening our existence as a nation and people, but Climate Change is now deriving us from the basic necessities of life, water, food, health and our ecosystem,” he said.

“To meet this challenge, all stakeholders within country and externally need to work as one. Mainstreaming climate change into national priorities to be able to come up with focused solutions to work against Climate Change — whether through adaptation investments, technical assistance or public awareness is therefore an urgent call.” Hon Tiarite Tiooti Kwong stated.

Watch the full video below.

Also read…
WHO links climate change and disease increase
Climate Change and Health
Climate Change and People

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His Excellency Anote Tong

Sustainable development and climate change, inseparable

His Excellency Anote Tong

His Excellency Anote Tong

Kiribati’s President Anote Tong believes the future we want must acknowledge and address the special needs of those at the extreme end of the vulnerable scale, the Islands Business reports

While addressing the delegates attending the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) inaugural meeting, President Tong said the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati are grappling with the challenges of climate change.

“For countries on the frontline of the climate change challenge, sustainable development and climate change are inseparable. Our uncertain future is a clear and loud statement on the urgent need for resolving the debate on sustainable development –of what we as part of the global community have failed to.

Read more about the change in climate in Kiribati

“The modern concept of green or blue growth emerged from the environmental devastation caused by the industrial revolution and the stark realization that our planet’s life support systems are on the brink of collapse.

“As leaders it is our duty to provide solutions and options to guarantee our people’s survival and future. But we must also be realistic to acknowledge our limited capacity to do this our own. This is why I always argued for the international allocation adaptation resources to be based on the urgency and degree of vulnerability of a country or a region. I believe that our region and others sharing the same fate should have priority in the allocation of international adaptation resources,” President Tong explained.

Read the full article on Islands Business
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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
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Tekimau Otiawa inspects the mangroves in Bonriki, a nursery for Mangroves

Mangroves for coastal protection

Tekimau Otiawa inspects the mangroves in Bonriki, a nursery for Mangroves

Tekimau Otiawa inspects the mangroves in Bonriki, a nursery for Mangroves

Press Release, Bairiki, Tarawa 25 July, 2013

The Environment and Conservation Division and the Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III to Increase Coastal Resilience are once again working together, this time to benefit communities in Nonouti, Tabiteuea South, Tabiteuea North and Beru. The joint project has already visited Marakei, Abaiang and Abemama to
promote and undertake mangrove planting as both a mitigation and adaptation option for coastline protection and marine resource enhancement.

Communities on Marakei, Abaiang and Abemama are now working together with Government to plant mangroves and protect their own coastlines from erosion as a result of education and awareness on mangrove importance and planting carried out by the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development (MELAD), Environment and Conservation Division (ECD) and the Kiribati Adaptation Program- Phase III (KAPIII).

The$150,000, four-year mangrove project is funded by KAPIII while the implementation is undertaken by ECD. The project commenced in early 2013 and will end in 2016.

The KAPIII project continues and expands on the highly successful work on mangroves to prevent further coastal erosion in local communities under KAPII in 2010. The initial stage under KAPII worked with communities to plant mangroves in Makin, Butaritari, Maiana, Aranuka, North Tarawa and South Tarawa.

 “The project is a very worthwhile project as it is a source of defense against coastal erosion and we are very fortunate to have ECD as the implementers of this project because they have a lot of passion and with their passion the project has been carried out successfully in the outer islands,” Mr. Kaitara said.

“The ECD’s role is very important and involves communicating with the community to get their commitment in mangrove planting as a ‘soft’ option source for coastal protection,” KAPIII Program Manager Kautuna Kaitara said.

 “The project has been effective on the outer islands because communities have that commitment for the project, which in turn has led to the successfulness and sustainability of the project in the outer islands,” he said. 

ECD Project Coordinator for Invasive Alien Species Tekimau Otiawa said the ECD emphasised to communities the importance of working together to protect their coastlines. For example, communities were encouraged to have a mangrove day to learn about and plant mangroves together as a team, she said.

“We also emphasise to schools in the outer islands to include in their activities the importance of mangroves and to have field trips to mangrove areas. To practice and understand the importance of mangrove planting at an early age is very crucial,” Ms Otiawa said.

Mr Kaitara added an informed decision has to be made with respect to the application of ‘soft’ options such as mangrove planting or ‘hard’ option like seawalls to deter coastal erosion. He explained that using the soft or hard options really depend on the outcome of the assessment of the area affected.  It is common to see in our situation the application of ‘soft’ option on the lagoon side of the island and ‘hard’ option on the ocean side of the island however, there are cases that both options can be applied in the lagoon or on the ocean side of the island.

About KAPIII:

The Kiribati Adaptation Program began its third phase (KAPIII) in mid-2012. KAPIII aims to improve the resilience of Kiribati to the impacts of climate change on freshwater supply and coastal infrastructure. KAPIII’s motto is Fresh water supply. Coastal protection. Our Future.

One of KAPIII’s key components is to increase coastal resilience by using soft options such as mangrove planting or hard options such as seawalls to reduce coastal erosion and protect native habitats, which are home to important sea life such as the sea life we feed our families.

There are 4 types of Mangroves in Kiribati, namely Te Nikabubuti (White mangrove), Te Aitoa (Black mangrove), Te Tongo Buangi (Oriental mangrove) and Te Tongo (Red mangrove).

KAP III  has a total cost of US$10.8million and will be financed through grants via the World Bank from Government of Australia; the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Least Developed Country Fund (LDCF); Japan Policy and Human Resources Development (PHRD); Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR); and in-kind contribution from the Government of Kiribati.

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.

Local IKiribati women. Photo: Finn Frandsen, Politiken

WHO links climate change and disease increase

Local IKiribati women. Photo: Finn Frandsen, Politiken

Local IKiribati women. Photo: Finn Frandsen, Politiken

The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirms there is a clear correlation between climate change and increases in diseases in the Pacific. For the Pacific, WHO identified malaria, dengue fever, diarrhea, typhoid and leptospirosis are among the important climate-sensitive diseases, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) reports.

Dr Rokho Kim, WHO’s Environmental Health Specialist based in Fiji said evidence suggests that certain weather conditions are related to an increase in certain diseases.

“We have found that after a heavy drought in a country, there is an increase in cases of diarrhea. In a situation like that, we advice the Ministry of Health to prepare for possible increases in diarrhea cases. It is important to strengthen notifiable diseases surveillance programme which includes training of doctors to report to the government and respond quickly and timely to the situation.

“This early warning system is very effective. We are working with governments to establish reliable good surveillance programme and well trained doctors to diagnose climate-sensitive diseases at the early stage.

WHO estimates that 150,000 people die from climate related diseases every year.

Read the full story on Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme

Read more about the potential health effects of climate change
Ciguatera poisoning
Diarrhoeal disease
Dengue fever

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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)

Island Report image Nikunau

‘Overcrowding and climate change’

Reuters photojournalist David Gray visited South Tarawa recently, here’s what he had to say …

The ocean laps against a protective seawall outside the maternity ward at Kiribati’s Nawerewere Hospital, marshalling itself for another assault with the next king tide.

Inside, a basic clinic is crowded with young mothers and newborn babies, the latest additions to a population boom that has risen as relentlessly as the sea in a deeply Christian outpost where family planning is still viewed with skepticism.

It is a boom that threatens to overwhelm the tiny atoll of South Tarawa as quickly as the rising seas. Some 50,000 people, about half of Kiribati’s total population, are already crammed onto a sand and coral strip measuring 16 sq km (6 sq miles).

“Climate change is a definite long-term threat to Kiribati, there’s no doubt whatsoever about that,” says Simon Donner, a climate scientist at the University of British Columbia who has been visiting South Tarawa since 2005.

“But that doesn’t mean it’s the biggest problem right now … Any first-time visitor to Tarawa is not struck by the impacts of sea level rise, they’re struck by how crowded it is.”

Read the full article and view the pictures at news.yahoo.com
Read the South Tarawa Island Report for more detailed information on South Tarawa
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The Children Take Action - a Climate Change Story

The Children Take Action: book

A new book The Children Take Action – a Climate Change Story will be distributed to every primary school in Kiribati in order to improve literacy skills and help children learn the basics of climate change and its impacts on our environment.

The book, which is available in English and te-Kiribati, is as an ideal resource to accompany the new syllabus and teacher guides currently being developed for Kiribati primary schools, according to the Curriculum Development and Resource Centre (CDRC).

The new syllabus integrates key elements of climate change using education for sustainable development principles to work towards the nation’s vision to “nurture our children and young people to become wise and worthwhile citizens able to adapt to, and participate in, their changing world”.

To date, 6,000 copies of the book have been given to the CDRC to distribute to primary schools.

The Children Take Action - a Climate Change Story

The Children Take Action – a Climate Change Story

A sample of the book reads:

Jone didn’t know what climate change was and asked his grandfather to explain. Grandpa told Jone that the Earth’s temperature is becoming hotter. “My temperature gets hot when I am unwell,” said Jone. “Yes!” said Grandpa. “The Earth is becoming unwell too. There is less food for the birds and the fish. That is why they are leaving our island.” “What is making the Earth sick?” Jone asked. “We are,” said Grandpa. “Gases from our cars, buses and factories are making the Earth too hot.” “People are driving more cars and building more factories. So the Earth is getting hotter and hotter.” “Just like putting too many blankets on me!” said Jone.

The story was developed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and 1500 copies were printed with funding from the Australian International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative. The book has since been translated into te-Kiribati and 6360 copies printed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)/Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region Programme.

The overall curriculum review is being supported under the Kiribati Education Improvement Programme (KEIP) of the Ministry of Education (supported by AusAID, UNESCO, UNICEF and NZAid)

 

His Excellency Anote Tong takes the stage in front before the other panelists, and the nation.

Wet weather fails to dampen public hearing spirits

Morning rain did not dampen the mood at Kiribati’s first-ever National High-Level Public Hearing on Climate Change on Friday, where leaders addressed the nation on the importance of everyone working together to build national resilience against climate change impacts.

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Official page of the National High-Level Public Hearing on Climate Change

Thankfully, despite the heavy rain overnight, the skies opened up to permit a late start to the event at Bairiki Square, which coincidentally or not translates from i-Kiribati to English as the “place where things happen”.

President Anote Tong addressed the nation at the National High-Level Public Hearing on Climate Change at Bairiki Square.

President Anote Tong addressed the nation at the National High-Level Public Hearing on Climate Change at Bairiki Square on Friday 19 April, 2013.

His Excellency Anote Tong was the first of 10 panelists to take the stage to address the crowded public square where he reiterated the importance of building both consensus and public understanding of climate change and climate change impacts in Kiribati.

“We must prepare the next generation to address the effects of climate change,” His Excellency said*.

These words were more dramatically reiterated in a moving youth performance by Kiribati Health and Family Association (KHFA) at half-time, where, in the skit, a young girl in tears asks her dad “Dad, what will happen to me and my Kiribati in 50 years time?*”

Next, second panel member Kiribati National Council of Churches Chairman Bishop Paul Mea took the stage.

Bishop Mea told the public, both in attendance and aired live across the country, that climate change was a social issue.

His Excellency Anote Tong takes the stage in front before the other panelists, and the nation.

His Excellency Anote Tong takes the stage in front of other panelists and before the nation.

Human interference continued to contribute to the impacts of climate change, Bishop Mea continued, citing Tarawa causeways Nanikai and Teaoraereke as well as the Dai Nippon contributing to the loss of some of the nation’s islets.

Leader of the Opposition Party (Karikirakean te I-Kiribati Party) Dr Tetaua Taitai next acknowledged climate change as a serious issue, but one that should not be the main priority for Kiribati. Instead the more immediate issues of population growth, overcrowding, water and food security, unemployment, education and health should be first addressed, he said.

He added, where climate change was a focus, more attention was needed to how the nation utilised its own resources with that of external resources and that it was necessary for experts to have a sole focus in the context of Kiribati instead of generalising the nation with the rest of the world.

The public raised questions to the panel in person and via telephone and Facebook throughout the day.

*Please note: quotes have been translated from i-Kiribati to English

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