Category Archives: Media room

Tabiteuea North

Promoting healthy and sustainable livelihoods in Kiribati’s rural islands

A US$7million project supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will benefit Kiribati’s rural islands Abemama, Beru, North Tabiteuea and Nonouti.

Tabiteuea North

Tabiteuea North

The signing of the Outer Island Food and Water Project took place at the International Conference for Small Island Developing States in Apia, Samoa, between  Kiribati President, H.E Anote Tong and Hoonae Kim, Director of the Asia and Pacific Region, IFAD.

President Tong said, “This is a very important project for the people of Kiribati, the rural people in my country will definitely benefit and we look forward to concrete results”.

The project will improve rural livelihoods and strengthen people’s capacity to adapt to climate change by promoting activities for increasing household production of fruits, vegetables, poultry, root crops and tree crops, and to improve diets through the consumption of a higher proportion of calories and nutrients from local food crops. It will also implement ways to harvest rainwater to increase household water supply.

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Kiribati’s President launches first Joint Implementation Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management

KI_KJIP_Launch_President_3_HSabass_GIZ_2014SPC – Press release 01 September 2014

His Excellency Anote Tong, the President of Kiribati, has launched the Kiribati Joint Implementation Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (KJIP) on 29 August 2014 in Tarawa, together with the Population Policy and Implementation Plan; he said: “These policies are key government priorities touching the life of the people where it matters most. The formulation of these policies was as sensitive as possible, involving all partners and communities. They represent powerful tools to coordinate and jointly monitor the implementation. I have deep appreciation to all who contributed to this plans – especially the communities and partners. The ownership of these documents must be with our people. The plans are a milestone in our national planning and coordination process.”

As a national symbol of discipline and strength the Commonwealth Games gold medal winner in weight lifting, Mr David Katoatau, was honoured by His Excellency.

The development of the KJIP was initiated and coordinated by the Office of Te Beretitenti (the President) and driven by the Kiribati National Expert Group through a participatory process involving all government agencies, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, faith-based organisations and the community.

The plan will help to mobilise tangible, on-the-ground actions for resilient development within the context of two existing national policy frameworks – the National Disaster Risk Management Plan and the National Framework for Climate Change and Climate Change Adaptation. The KJIP is also aligned to achieving the development goals of the Kiribati Development Plan 2012–2015.

Kiribati has been very active in responding to the impacts of climate change and disasters at all levels. The added value this KJIP brings is in: (i) ensuring that climate variability, climate change and disaster risks (related to meteorological, geological or environmental risks) are incorporated in all development planning processes; and (ii) ensuring that tangible, on-the-ground actions are identified for all sectors in order to reduce risks.

KJIP’s vision is: I-Kiribati unique culture, heritage and identity are upheld and safeguarded through enhanced resilience and sustainable development and the goal is: To increase resilience through sustainable climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction using a whole-of-country approach. 37

The KJIP will be implemented through 12 strategies towards clearly defined results. Performance indicators and prioritised actions are outlined in the action matrix to ensure that the vision and the goal are achieved. It is estimated that about AUD 104 million is required to implement the plan over the next nine years.  The plan will improve coordination and is expected to minimise ad hoc and piecemeal approaches, as its approach is carefully designed, integrating relevant stakeholders to promote timely and coherent adaptation, risk reduction and response activities on the ground.

The development of KJIP was supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the SPC/Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region (CCCPIR) programme on behalf of the Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Nations Development Programme, and the United Nations Children’s Fund. The KNEG received additional technical assistance from Australia’s aid programme; the European Union (EU) Global Climate Change Alliance; the EU African, Carribean and Pacific Natural Disaster Facility; and the United States Agency for International Development.

You can access the KJIP here.

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

Climate Change and Ocean Resource management key factor in Kiribati’s support towards Palau Declaration


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

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

Press release 29 July 2014

Kiribati recognized and supported the draft Palau Declaration advocating and securing Oceans as a standalone goal under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the global post 2015 development agenda. Kiribati underscores that this complements and strengths the Pacific push to also have Climate Change as a stand alone goal under the SDG. It is very appropriate given that the Pacific Island nations are custodians of one of the world’s greatest natural endowment, the Pacific Ocean, as well as recognizing the urgent vulnerabilities of member states in the face of climate change.

In supporting the Palau Declaration, President Anote Tong underscores the importance and value of the Oceans to the livelihood, the economy and culture of the Pacific nations. Furthermore, through its responsible and proper stewardship, the Pacific Ocean will remain the livelihood of not only future Pacific generations but the future of the whole of mankind.

In this context, President Anote Tong stressed the need to protect and strengthen jurisdictional boundaries and governance, with greater focus on improved monitoring and regulation on illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries and in the longer term a push to maintain sovereignty over our maritime boundaries in the event that our islands disappear. President Tong also stressed and supported the need to improve Pacific fisheries so as to maximize returns to the people of the Pacific as resource owners through greater participation in the industry particularly through onshore processing and value addition. Sustainable management of the Pacific Ocean is key, with President Tong’s leadership in the preservation of oceans acknowledged in addition to the recognition that there needs to be some compensation for the opportunity cost of conservation measures being implemented by Pacific nations.

SIS leaders committed to further pursue the case for oceans and climate change in the upcoming SIDS conference, in Samoa this September.


Kiribati, Tuvalu and Marshall Islands push for immediate and urgent action

HE  FL introduction at 45 PIF Opening at Palau Capital

HE FL introduction at 45 PIF Opening at Palau Capital

Press release 29 July 2014

Kiribati’s Head of State, HE President Anote Tong and colleagues leaders from Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands have called on the SIS meeting in Palau to consider the seriousness of climate change and especially call for immediate and urgent action now.

“Mr. Chairman, we’ll be guided by your judgment, but I wish to propose to insert in this climate change agenda of SIS, the outcomes of the recent Coalition of Atoll Nations on Climate Change held in my country and with support from our friends Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands,” President Tong said.

The CANCC outcomes in Tarawa expressed grave concerns that global action on climate change is far too slow and urge that global momentum must match the rate at which these impacts are being felt on the ground by their people.

President Tong says early this year Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu experienced a disastrous high tide that swamped their shores and further inland threatening the lives of their people, and as frontline states they have a responsibility to tell these compelling stories and to catalyze global action for their people and for those next to be on the frontline.

The one-day SIS summit ends with leaders emphasizing the need to make a resounding call for urgent action on climate change, to be reiterated at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), as well as the Climate Change conferences in Lima, Peru 2014 and Paris, France in 2015.

The leaders also acknowledged the range of action, assistance and collaborative efforts of CROP, bilateral and multilateral partners in progressing climate change solutions in support of Small Island States (SIS), although felt more strategic recommendations were needed if targeted direction and accelerated responses to climate change for SIS countries.

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KIT Graduation photo of 2014

Kiribati students graduate with internationally- recognised qualifications

Congratulations to all of KIT

Congratulations to all of KIT

An outstanding achievement of 150 graduates from the Kiribati Institute of Technology (KTI) returned home before the week long Kiribati Independence break after a massive celebration at Tenimaraoi Mwaneaba in Betio, Tarawa in the Republic of Kiribati with more hope than ever before, knowing they are now adequate to compete in the competitive market regionally and globally for jobs.

With dedication and commitment, obligation and expectations have come to completion for this year, which would have not been possible without the support and perseverance of the individual student, the KIT Management, Staff, TVETSSP Advisers and the Partner TAFE South Australia.

“The high jump bar is set high and every day, every week and every month in the year it takes a big effort to keep jumping over that bar and to meet the stringent quality standards required under the Australian TVET quality framework.

There is even a bigger responsibility when some of you migrate into international workplaces. You need to continue to work hard and achieve at the highest level.

Again you will also take with you the future of international work opportunities for other young I-Kiribati.

I know you will accept this responsibility seriously and not only be good ambassadors for the KIT, TAFE South Australia and Kiribati but also strong leaders in your industries and communities.” Antoine Barnaart, Principal, Kiribati Institute of Technology.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training at KIT is another of Australia’s support to the Government of Kiribati which aims to develop a high-quality tertiary and vocational education sector that will provide I-Kiribati with relevant workforce skills and increase productivity.

This initiative aims to increase the proportion of young people completing technical and vocational courses with internationally-recognised qualifications.

Selling bananas on a busy morning

Bananas for sale in climate change struck Kiribati


Emaa Kiribi, 53, enjoys her everyday selling fresh bananas: Photo by Kantaake Corbett, KAPIII.

Emaa Kiribi, 53, enjoys her everyday selling fresh bananas: Photo by Kantaake Corbett, KAPIII.

Meet a mother of four children from the island of Butaritari the second Northern Island in Kiribati who is a passionate banana sale’s woman by the name of Emaa Kiribi, 53 years old.

Emaa knows almost all the faces of the regulars who walk the capital street of Bairiki and who are kind enough to buy just one banana to keep them healthy and to give her, an income.

Earning almost $20 a day, the woman is able to save up just enough for her youngest daughter Telafue Teretia, 14 years old who attends form one in Butaritari Junior Secondary School. She started supporting her children alone in 2009 after her husband Teretia from Makin and Butaritari passed away. The husband worked for the Kiribati Shipping Agency from 1999 to 2004 and then became a regular fisherman from Betio until his passing.

A devout catholic who grew up in other churches such as KPC and Baha’I, Emaa believes people are all the same and that people have the right to choose which church to attend because they are all true.

The couple joined the Latter Day Saints (LDS) in 2007 almost the same time she took up the job selling fresh yummy bananas.

“Bananas have grown well in the garden Island of Butaritari because it is in the North, and therefore rains a lot and we know bananas love to grow in both hot and wet conditions. Cultivating and managing bananas is highly supported by MELAD because it is a healthy fruit for the people and now, another means of income to a lot of families.” Takena Redfern, Senior Agriculture Officer (SAO), Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development (MELAD), Agriculture and Livestock Division.

Climate resilient crops such as cassava, Kumara and Taro have also been introduced in Butaritari as well as other Islands in Kiribati to help the people in Kiribati adapt to climate change and because it grows well in Butaritari, a market of exporting from Butaritari to Tarawa is possible to help other islands and mainly the capital Tarawa where almost half the population of Kiribati now reside.

When asked if she wanted to migrate due to sea level rise to bigger countries like New Zealand and Australia through the Pacific Access Category (PAC), Emaa kindly said she would rather live in Kiribati for the rest of her dear life. Emaa is afraid of the Tsunami stories that she’s heard and believes it is safer here because of the big ocean.

Having only completed class nine back in the days, Emaa’s only wish for her youngest daughter when asked if she wanted her daughter to live abroad was that – she would rather see her youngest daughter serve her mission and then decide for herself.

Kiribati people want to migrate with dignity.

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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).


Obama welcomes Kiribati diplomat

Kiribati familyBairiki, Tarawa – 27 May 2014

The President of the United States of America, His Excellency Barack Obama welcomed Kiribati’s Ambassador to the United States – Her Excellency Makurita Baaro, at the White House Oval Office in a Presentation of Credential ceremony last week.

During the ceremony, Ambassador Baaro conveyed the warm greetings of President Anote Tong, the Government and people of Kiribati to President Obama and his family and through him to the Government and people of the United States.

Ambassador Baaro highlighted the importance that Kiribati accords to its historic ties and relationship with the Government and people of the United States and her commitment and that of her country to work on strengthening these diplomatic and people to people ties during her tenure as Kiribati Ambassador to the United States.

Ambassador Baaro also highlighted during the credentials ceremony the challenges facing her people from climate change and the need for global action to address the plight of frontline states like Kiribati who are now experiencing these challenges from rise in sea levels, coastal erosion, ocean acidification and the growing brackishness of ground water sources.

“We are doing what we can at the national level to address these challenges but Kiribati just cannot do it alone,” She added.

Ambassador Baaro emphasized that “This is one challenge that is larger than any of us and one that requires collective global action. We look to the global leadership of the United States of America to assist frontline states like Kiribati to mobilise and gain the much needed traction for global action to address the climate calamity that is not only affecting us. It is affecting us now but will eventually affect the whole global community.”

In extending a warm welcome to Ambassador Baaro, President Obama said that “your presence in the United States is very timely because of the compelling and sobering story Kiribati has to share with the world regarding the threat climate change poses to your people. As Ambassador to United States and Permanent Representative to the UN, I encourage you to be a strong advocate for an ambitious global response to climate change.”

President Obama added that “The United States stands with you in this mission, both for the sake of your people’s posterity and ours”

Ambassador Makurita Baaro is the first resident Kiribati Ambassador accredited to the United States of America.

The very first Kiribati Roving Ambassador to the United States was His Excellency Atanraoi Baiteke who was also the first Secretary for Foreign Affairs for Kiribati after the country gained independence in 1979.

Kiribati and the United States enjoy a close relationship since establishing diplomatic relations in 1980. The two countries work closely together on a broad range of issues, from strengthening regional security, to promoting sustainable development and addressing climate change, to protecting fisheries and the environment.

Island Report image Nikunau

Kiribati buys a piece of Fiji


Piece of the land in Fiji

OB – Press Release

Kiribati’s Head of State – President Anote Tong made the announcement last week confirming that government has made the final payment for the purchase of the AUD$9.3 million Natoavatu Estate located in Fiji’s second biggest island of Vanua Levu.

“I wish to officially announce that government has come to a final resolve and has made the full purchase of the piece of land in Fiji.” President Tong said in his address to the nation on national radio last Friday.

Tong added that government sent a team earlier this month, comprising of the Minister of Environment, Lands and Agriculture Development and the Attorney General, to settle the purchase of the land with the Fiji authorities.

The team were assured the Certificate of Title for the Natoavatu Estate after all requirements were met and a transaction of the final payment of AUD$8.3 million was witnessed before the previous land owners – The Trustees for the Colony of Fiji of the Church of England and the Fiji authorities.

Tong said that the acquisition of the 5460-acre piece of land marks a new milestone in government’s development plans particularly in its endeavor to address its economic and food security issues as it is greatly impacted by climate change.

“I’m glad we’ve taken this milestone with Fiji and hope that developed countries can engage with frontline countries like us in this arena, as a matter of taking simple actions rather than negotiating climate change issues where common ground is far from reach.” President Tong added.

Earlier this year, President of the Republic of Fiji, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau met with his Kiribati counterpart on Kiribati shores where he assured “that the people of Kiribati will have a home if their country is submerged by the rising sea level as a result of climate change.

The Fiji President made the announcement confirming the suggestion made earlier by Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, that Fiji would assist Kiribati in any way it could.

The land purchase of the Natoavatu Estate is an investment by the government to explore options of commercial, industrial and agricultural undertakings such as fish canning, beef/poultry farming, fruit/vegetable farming to name but a few.

Forum Trade Ministers Meeting comes to an End

The Pacific Islands Forum embraces a vision for a better future and prosperity for Pacific Islands’ communities through increased trade and investment. As the international trade and investment promotion agency of the Forum Secretariat, Pacific Islands Trade & Invest’s network of offices play an essential role in supporting this vision.

This story began on Wednesday 28 May 2014 when 16 members of this Forum gathered at the Kiribati House of Parliament in Ambo, Tarawa, and the Republic of Kiribati to reach a special agreement. It is special because it recognizes the relative state of development in the Pacific in terms of Technology, Capacity, Wealth, and Resources. I’d say it’s special indeed! And thank you to the Secretary General, Mr Tuiloma Neroni Slade, all the Ministers who were present, the people who assisted these Ministers. Thank you all on behalf of us, the grass roots people, for recognizing Kiribati and accepting our Minister of Commerce’s invitation Mr Binto Katia from Makin to have and to hold the Forum Trade Ministers Meeting here at yet another beautiful island in the pacific.

If you would like to learn more about the Trade Ministers Meeting please visit the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat website and I bet they have a Facebook page as well to keep you engaged.

Also visit our Facebook page Kiribati and Climate Change and like it, and also share it with others so they can see the pictures!