Category Archives: Media room

Sunset in Tarawa.

Government and SPC talk joint strategies

The Government of Kiribati and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) have been working hard to develop a new joint country strategy (JCS) between SPC and the Government of Kiribati.

JCSs are multi-year plans that align the priorities of SPC member countries with the services that SPC can provide. The new plan will focus on a strategy for 2013 to 2015.

Discussions on the strategy, which took place early April 2013 on Tarawa, involved identifying the country’s key development priorities and matching these with the expertise SPC can provide in sectors ranging from fisheries to statistics.

The mission follows a review of the first JCS (2008–2011) carried out in October 2012, which found that SPC in close collaboration with the Government of Kiribati had effectively implemented activities and services in line with Kiribati’s development priorities.

David Teaabo, Pacific Plan Desk Officer with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, commented that the JCS approach is very much a joint approach and relies on full engagement by the government.

According to Mr Teaabo, the collaborative approach promoted by the JCS makes it possible to improve coordination and collaboration efforts at national level to enable Kiribati to pursue its development priorities.

The mission team was led by Mike Batty, (Director of SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division) and included representatives of SPC’s Strategic Engagement, Policy and Planning Facility as well as its Statistics for Development Division. The SPC team’s Kiribati counterparts included Mr Teaabo as well as representatives of the National Economic Planning Office.

Mr Batty said that cooperation between the government and SPC had been excellent, which was a testimony to the commitment by both parties to ensuring that Kiribati’s development priorities are translated into concrete actions.

Climate Change Public Hearing Banner web

Climate Change Public Hearing panelists revealed

The National High-Level Public Hearing on Climate Change is on Friday 19 April, 2013 from 9.30am at Bairiki Square.

His Excellency President Anote Tong will lead an elite list of panel members who will address the public in the highly anticipated first-ever National High-level Public Hearing on Climate Change this Friday.

Initiated by the Parliament Select Committee on Climate Change (PSCCC), the public hearing will see panel members address the nation on the issue of climate change as well as respond to questions from the public.

Facilitated by Dr Bwaranite Kirata, the 12-strong panel will include Kiribati National Council of Churches Chairman Bishop Paul Mea, Boutokaan te Koaua Party representative Martin Tofinga, Karikirakean te I – Kiribati Party Chairman Tetabo Nakara, Maurin Kiribati Party Chairman Rutiano Benetito and Kiribati Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) President Tekeeua Tarati. A full list of panel members is provided below.

Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Climate Change and Nikunau MP Rimeta Beniamina said the Committee hoped the public hearing would enhance the understanding of the general public about the issue of climate change and their responsibilities as citizens to complement the Government’s efforts to implement adaptation programs as well as encourage national leaders to jointly work together to prepare people for climate change adaptation.

“The overarching aim in conducting a public hearing as such is to keep citizens informed and to consolidate a national shared hope and vision for a better future of the people of Kiribati while adapting to the impacts of climate change,” he said. Adding, the theme for the event would be “Let’s work together to build national resilience against Climate Change impacts”.

The public hearing is on Friday, 19 April 2013 at the Bairiki Square starting from 9.30 am and will be broadcast live across Kiribati on BPA National Radio.

The general public is invited to participate in this national event. For those who can’t attend, voice your questions on our Facebook page and a select number will be submitted to the panel on the day.

National High-level Public Hearing on Climate Change panelists:

1. HE President Anote Tong, Head of State

2. Bishop Paul Mea, Chairman of Kiribati National Council of Churches (KNCC)

3. Mr Rimeta Beniamina, Vice Chairman of Parliament Select Committee on Climate Change (PSCCC)

4. Mr Martin Tofinga, representative from Boutokaan te Koaua Party and MP from Betio

5. Mr Tetabo Nakara, Chairman of Karikirakean te I-Kiribati Party and MP from Beru

6. Mr Rutiano Benetito, Chairman of Maurin Kiribati Party and MP from Marakei

7. Mr Nakibae Teuatabu, local expert on climate change

8. Mrs Moia Tetoa, President of Aia Mwaea Ainen Kiribati (AMAK, Kiribati National Women’s Federation)

9. Mr Tekeeua Tarati, President of Kiribati Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI)

10. Ms Floreen Tikau, youth representative

11. Mr Tekamangu Bwauiira, disabled community representative

12. Mr Ueanteiti, representative from the most affected community
(Tebunginako)

Dr Bwaranite Kirata will act as Facilitator/Moderator of Discussions

Government of Kiribati Foreign Affairs and Immigration Secretary Tessie Eria Lambourne on the World Bank PRAXIS panel discussion.

How avoid a 4 degree warmer world: panel

Government of Kiribati Foreign Affairs and Immigration Secretary Tessie Eria Lambourne has represented Kiribati on a panel to discuss avoiding a 4 degree warmer world in Sydney (full video below).

The discussion was part of the World Bank’s PRAXIS series, which according to the World Bank website aims to “create discussion and debate on some of the most pertinent issues relating to international development in the Pacific Islands”.

In the discussion, Lambourne highlighted the plight of Kiribati and small island developing states  to focus on climate change now, not later.

“There is still some who believe it [climate change] is a distant threat, but for us it is a present threat. It’s happening now and our people are being affected now and it’s not something that can wait,” she told the panel.

“This is something the small island developing states have tried and will continue trying to get the world to understand and get the world to do something about it.

“we need the support of the international community to save the lives and the future of the people on these islands in Kiribati and in other small island developing states in the Pacific and around the world.”

Other panel members were Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development and Kevin Hennessy, Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research.

The discussion was aired live on Australian television and available online.

Watch the video to find out more or visit the World Bank’s PRAXIS page

The signing of the Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project contract between Ministry of Public Works and Utilities secretary Eita Metai and McConnell Dowell construction manager Rory Bishop. Photo: KAPIII

No potholes in road contract signing

South Tarawa’s long-awaited new road is one step closer after the Government of Kiribati and New Zealand-based construction company McConnell Dowell signed the official contract recently.

Ministry of Public Works and Utilities secretary Eita Metai and McConnell Dowell construction manager Rory Bishop signed the Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project contract in front of a small gathering in Betio, Kiribati on on Wednesday 27 April, 2013.

The signing of the Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project contract between Ministry of Public Works and Utilities secretary Eita Metai and McConnell Dowell construction manager Rory Bishop. Photo: KAPIII

The signing of the Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project contract between Ministry of Public Works and Utilities secretary Eita Metai and McConnell Dowell construction manager Rory Bishop. Photo: KAPIII

Guests were entertained by local dancers and served dinner as part of the signing celebrations.

The Road Rehabilition Project for Kiribati is a $AU38 million project that aims to improve the condition of South Tarawa and Betio’s main road network as well as help strengthen road finance and maintenance capacity.

Roads Project Contract Signing

Local dancers entertain guests after the official signing of the roads project contract. Photo: KAPIII

The three main components of the project are:

1. Infrastructure improvements: main civil works activities to be undertaken on South Tarawa road infrastructure, including the reconstruction and rehabilitation of paved roads on South Tarawa and the rehabilitation of Betio causeway

2. Road sector reform: keep activities to strengthen the road section and lead to more sustainable road infrastructure in South Tarawa

3. Project support: establishing of a project management unit, project associated incremental operation costs, a valuation specialists to identify the appropriate compensation rates for trees and other assets affected by the project, and audit of the project accounts

The Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project is being implements by the Government of Kiribati with the assistance and funding support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB) and AusAID.

Construction work is expected to begin mid-2013.

Related news…

Australia to give $15 million for road

For more information on the project, please visit the ADBWB and AusAID website pages dedicated to the project.

World Water Day 2013

Leaked: World Water Day fun

World Water Day 2013 was a hit thanks to all of the people who poured into Bairiki Square on Monday to partake in the celebrations.

World Water Day 2013

A stall at World Water Day 2013.

The Ministry of Public Works and Utilities (MPWU) together with Environment and Conservation Division (ECD), Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), Public Utilities Board and the country’s leading water and sanitation projects banded together to provide a day full of entertainment and information stalls with interactive displays.

The projects will provide demonstrations (such as how to fix a leaking tap), a ‘water-theme’ quiz with prizes, kid’s games (have you heard of ‘eels and ladders’?) and general information about their projects at the event. Taken Bairiki and Rurubao schools will also wow crowds with local performances about water.

 

An engineer from Kiribati Adaptation Program - Phase III explains how to fix a leaking tap.

An engineer from Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III explains how to fix a leaking tap.

World Water Day is a United Nations initiative held annually around the world to highlight the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

This year’s theme was ‘Water Cooperation’ with the aim of recognising the need for cooperation to manage groundwater and rainwater resources, information exchange and financial and technical cooperation in Kiribati.

STSISP keeps learning fun at World Water Day 2013.

In the spirit of water cooperation, the South Tarawa Sanitation Improvement Sector Project (STSISP), Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) and Water and Sanitation project in the Outer Islands of the Republic of Kiribati Phase I (KIRIWATSAN I) sponsored the event.

See more pictures of World Water Day on our Facebook page

Related: Celebrate World Water Day with a splash

 

Sunset in Tarawa.

New solar project for South Tarawa

A new solar energy project has the potential to reduce diesel fuel use in Kiribati by up to 230,000 litres a year.

A formal agreement for the project was signed between the Government of Kiribati and the World Bank at the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland on Monday.

HE Anote Tong at the Pacific Energy Summit 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand.

HE Anote Tong at the Pacific Energy Summit 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Brendon O’Hagan

The project will install solar panels at four sites across the capital of South Tarawa and feed them into the existing power grid.

Training will also be provided to the Kiribati Public Utilities Board to operate and maintain the solar power stations.

The project is expected to reduce diesel fuel use in Kiribati by up to 230,000 litres a year, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

At present, it is estimated almost half of Kiribati’s 110,000 people live on Tarawa atoll and are dependent on expensive diesel generators to produce electricity.

The signing ceremony took place at the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland and was attended by President of Kiribati Anote Tong and World Bank Country Director for the Pacific Islands Franz Drees-Gross.

Shifting Kiribati’s focus to reliable solar energy will provide a more secure and sustainable power source for the country’s people, President Anote Tong said.

Mr Drees-Gross said: “This project is a win-win for Kiribati and sets an important precedent for renewable energy development in the country.”

Find out more about the 2013 Pacific Energy Summit

World Water Day 2013 will be celebrated in Kiribati on  Monday 25 March at Bairiki Square

Celebrate World Water Day with a splash

Our limited freshwater supply is essential to life as well as the human and economic development of Kiribati.

To recognise the importance of freshwater supply in Kiribati, the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities (MPWU) together with Environment and Conservation Division (ECD), Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and the country’s leading water and sanitation projects would like to invite you and your family to celebrate World Water Day 2013 with us on Monday 25 March at Bairiki Square.

World Water Day 2013 will be celebrated in Kiribati on  Monday 25 March at Bairiki Square

World Water Day 2013 will be celebrated in Kiribati on Monday 25 March at Bairiki Square

World Water Day is a United Nations initiative held annually around the world to highlight the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

This year’s theme is ‘Water Cooperation’, which recognizes the need for cooperation to manage groundwater and rainwater resources, information exchange and financial and technical cooperation in Kiribati.

In the spirit of water cooperation, the South Tarawa Sanitation Improvement Sector Project (STSISP), Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) and Water and Sanitation project in the Outer Islands of the Republic of Kiribati Phase I (KIRIWATSAN I) are proud to be sponsoring and participating in the MPWU’s event to showcase how different bodies and government departments are working together and with the public to help with the country’s freshwater supply.

Gathering freshwater from a well in Kiribati.

Gathering freshwater from a well in Kiribati.

The projects will provide demonstrations (such as how to fix a leaking tap), a ‘water-theme’ quiz with prizes, kid’s games (have you heard of ‘eels and ladders’?) and general information about their projects at the event. Taken Bairiki and Rurubao schools will also wow crowds with local performances about water.

MPWU Water Unit acting officer in charge Moiua Aroito said World Water Day was an opportunity to recognise the importance of working together to ensure a freshwater supply Kiribati’s future.

“Demands for water are increasing to satisfy the needs of South Tarawa and Betio’s growing population.

“Water resources are also being threatened by other factors such as urbanisation, pollution and climate change,” he said.

“Water cooperation is our key to succeeding in the future to manage our limited water resources and ensure that everyone benefits so please show your support and come participate in our event.”

World Water Day runs from 11.30am to 2pm on Monday 25 March at Bairiki Square.

About the projects

KAPIII

The Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) is a five-year climate change adaptation project under the Office of the President. The objective of KAPIII is to improve the resilience of Kiribati to the impacts of climate change on freshwater supply and coastal infrastructure.

Freshwater supply projects include providing support to the MPWU and PUB; the installation of rainwater harvesting works and infiltration gallery works in North and South Tarawa; and the detection and repair of leaks in the PUB’s pipe system from Buota to Betio.

KAPIII is 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.

KIRIWATSAN I

The Water and Sanitation project in the Outer Islands of the Republic of Kiribati Phase I (KIRIWATSAN I) is funded by EU, implemented by the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities with technical assistance from UNICEF.

It involves 70 communities in the 16 Gilbert Islands. The project aims to empower people by engaging them to achieve better access to safe drinking water, adequate and socially acceptable sanitation facilities, combined with an effective education/awareness raising campaign to improve their understanding of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues and to encourage behavioural changes, especially starting with children, as agents of change.

STSISP

The South Tarawa Sanitation Improvement Program (STSISP) aims to improve the health of communities on South Tarawa by rehabilitating and upgrading existing sanitation infrastructure. STSISP will improve access to sanitation services from 64 per cent of South Tarawa’s population in 2010 to 80 per cent by 2018. 

Rehabilitation of current infrastructure will limit contamination of groundwater reserves, which are currently polluted by pit latrines and poorly managed septic tanks.

 The Asian Development Bank is the lead agency on this program.

Kiribati National Experts Team leading the development fo the KJIP with members from regional organisations. Photo: Contributed.

Joint national action plan for Kiribati

Kiribati will soon have a national integrated action plan on climate change and disaster risk management.

Kiribati National Experts Team leading the development fo the KJIP with members from regional organisations. Photo: Contributed.

Kiribati is adapting the process for developing a joint national action plan for climate change and disaster risk management (JNAP) by developing a Kiribati Joint Implementation Plan (KJIP) to facilitate the implementation of the recently endorsement Disaster Risk Management Plan and the National Framework for Climate Change and Climate Change Adaptation Framework.

Through the KJIP cohesive actions to improve resiliency to climate change and disasters will be prioritised for action consistent with national development goals.

The KJIP development is led by the Government of Kiribati, which has established a core group of national experts from the various sectors including civil society and community groups.

“The KJIP process is nationally led and we’re pleased to be working with the national expert team,” said Dr Netatua Pelesikoti, the Director of Climate Change, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

“The process is equally important as the product (the KJIP) as the process demonstrates participatory approaches, careful assessment and analysis of vulnerability, prioritisation and costing. However, the implementation expected to follow once the plan is completed and approved, is highly anticipated by the experts group and the people of Kiribati”.

This view was also raised during a meeting with Kiribati Parliamentarians where Parliamentarians called for a focus on implementation, in particular, the need to ensure that national and community capacities are strengthened to enable timely responses to climate change impacts, thus reducing disaster risks.

SPREP is leading a regional support team made up of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, GIZ, United Nations Development Programme and Australia AID. The team was in Kiribati during the first two weeks of February to start the process.

As a key part of developing the KJIP, stakeholder and community views and development aspirations are collected and discussed together with a literature review that includes studies and reports on climate change impacts, exposure to hazards and vulnerability.

It is expected that the Kiribati Joint Implementation Plan will be finalised by the end of this year.

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

Climate Change Public Hearing 2013

MEDIA RELEASE (April 2013, Office of The President)

A new chapter in the history of Kiribati will unfold this Friday when a first-ever National High-level Climate Change Public Hearing Banner webPublic Hearing on Climate Change gets underway at the nation’s capital, Bairiki.

Post-event story available now

Themed as “Let’s work together to build national resilience against Climate Change impacts”, the public hearing will see panel members address the nation on the issue of climate change as well as respond to questions from the public.

Initiated by the Parliament Select Committee on Climate Change, whose one-year tenure comes to an end in August this year, the panel will involve key figures in the nation namely the Head of State and President, Heads of Faith-Based Organizations, Head of Gender-based organizations, Leaders of Political parties, Representatives of Youth, Independent Local Scientists and regional scientific organizations and, concerned citizens.

“The overarching aim in conducting a public hearing as such is to keep citizens informed and to consolidate a national shared hope and vision for a better future of the people of Kiribati while adapting to the impacts of climate change,” MP Rimeta Beniamina, Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Climate Change and an MP from the island of Nikunau, said.

Mr Beniamina added the public hearing hopes to enhance the understanding of the general public about the issue of climate change and their responsibilities as citizens to complement the Government’s efforts to implement adaptation programs and also to encourage national leaders to jointly work together to prepare their people to be able to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The National High-level Public Hearing on Climate Change will be aired live on national radio and will see panelists delivering their respective statements on the issue and responding to questions from the general public on the ground, through telephone calls and also via a Facebook page.

The public hearing is on Friday, 19 April 2013 at the Bairiki Square starting from 9.30 am and will be broadcast live across Kiribati on BPA National Radio.

The general public is invited to participate in this national event. For those who can’t attend, voice your questions on our Facebook page (NOW CLOSED) and a select number will be submitted to the panel on the day.

His Excellency President Anote Tong

‘Global collective action’ needed

H.E Beretitenti Anote Tong’s Statement on the occasion of the Dili International Conference, Dili, Timor Lester, 27 February 2013…

His Excellency President Anote Tong

His Excellency President Anote Tong

Opening Remarks

Our gracious host, H.E. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister of Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste; Fellow Leaders; Members of the G7+; Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Dr. Noeleen Heyzer; Distinguished participants; Ladies and Gentlemen;

I bring you warm greetings from the people of the Pacific on whose behalf I am both honored and privileged to address this gathering – Kam na mauri!

It gives me great pleasure to join this gathering – a gathering which I believe is unique and convened for the first time bringing together voices of the most fragile and conflict-affected states. This is long overdue and I thank the conference conveners and all those involved in making this possible, notably UNESCAP, AusAID, the Pacific Institute of Public Policy as well as the g7+ group for deeming it fit that this happens today in this beautiful country.

I wish to thank and acknowledge with appreciation the warm welcome and excellent hospitality extended to all of us since our arrival yesterday morning by the Government and people of Timor Leste. Mr Prime Minister, I must say that already, we feel so much at home by the overwhelming hospitality, attentiveness and endless smiles of your staff and people – Obrigadu!

Challenges: Meeting the Millennium Development Goals

Let me begin by taking us back to that critical moment in 2000 when our leaders at the time gathered in New York to set the Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015. As I reflect on what were they were thinking at the time, I conclude that it is for one crucial purpose – to set in place landmarks which would guide our course towards achieving a better and secure future for our future generations.

Now with less than two years away from the cut-off date of 2015, we have rightly begun to ask ourselves questions; Are we on track towards achieving these goals?

I have no doubt that for many of us, the answer would be no. And of course this raises the next question – Why is this? What is preventing us from achieving the goals? This takes us to the heart of our gathering today – to assess what has prevented us from achieving our MDGs in the context of our fragile situations and how do we frame the post 2015 development agenda bearing in mind those obstacles.

I believe that to determine and plan for the future, we must reflect on the past and learn from our experience, most particularly our mistakes, for they hold the key to the answers and perhaps offer solutions to our problems. As a region, we from the Pacific took the opportunity to do that yesterday. I believe that a detailed report on the outcomes of these consultations will be submitted separately but let me encapsulate them from my perspective.

I acknowledge that much can and must be done to improve our own internal management of our affairs by putting in place policies and tools which will address the inequities existing within our borders and within our control in order to work towards our MDGs. However it is also true that for most of us, the lack of positive and in some cases the reversal of progress towards achieving our MDGs were often attributed to factors outside our control – such as the global financial crisis, fuel price hikes, severe natural disasters, lack of control in determining returns on our resources and so on. Our deep vulnerabilities to these external shocks were made blatantly clear. I believe that if we, as a global community are serious about addressing these issues then support must be provided to the so called fragile states to build their resilience against these external factors so that their people may be assured of living worthwhile lives – one of the keys objectives of the Pacific Plan.

Climate Change also came out very clearly as an issue which has and will increasingly dominate the national development agenda of most countries. For some countries climate change will threaten their very survival as nations and the future of their people. Needless to say, that this is clearly one of those external factors bedeviling our progress towards achieving not only our MDGs but our very future survival. And of course the solution to this challenge is beyond the capacity of any single nation but requires collective global action.

In the Pacific, the degree of our fragility and insecurity will increasingly be due to climate change and the implications it poses on various aspects of our lives ranging from food security, health, increasing salinity in our water lens, our resources as well as our very survival and existence.  I have no doubt that in many of the Pacific Island countries, we have and will continue to receive endless requests from our local communities to assist in building seawalls to protect and rebuild properties damaged by natural disasters and even help local communities relocate and rebuild their communities.

Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot pretend to ignore the reality and the extent of damage that climate change has posed on our communities and island states. There is simply no choice. The reality is, regardless of how much effort we directed towards our MDGs, any progress will be negated by the inevitable and increasing severity of climate change. For those countries on the frontline of this challenge and already feeling the impacts, the question will be over the allocation of resources between addressing the impacts of climate change now and in the future or delivering on our MDG targets. I make these comments simply to emphasize the increasing dominance of climate change on our national and indeed the global agenda.

I want to take a few moments to share with you our response to the climate change challenge. In Kiribati, we have recently developed our own national adaptation framework and disaster risk management plans to guide our work in this area.  This framework embraces two principles – accepting the reality of climate change impacts (the science) and making the commitment to ensure that our home islands remain in existence for as long as possible. This framework is based on a whole of nation approach involving Government, the legislature and the people but in order to implement this strategy we will need substantial resources. We hope that much of it will be forthcoming from our partners and also hope that some we can provide ourselves.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that much of our fragility is a product of our own perception of ourselves. In the Pacific we refer to ourselves as small island states whereas in reality we are large ocean states, custodians of some of the planets vast resources. By way of example, let me once again refer to our experience in the Pacific for I have no doubt at all that the same situation will apply to other regions and countries. In the Pacific we collectively possess one of the most extensive Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) on this planet which is host to the last remaining healthy stocks of tuna. Extensive deposits of deep seabed minerals and in some countries oil and gas deposits have also been identified within these EEZs. So far, exploitation of these resources whether fisheries or oil and gas have invariably been at the initiative of those countries with the capacity to do so – usually our developed partners – and invariably in most if not all cases the rate of return on these to resource owners has been minimal.

In the case of fisheries the usual rate of return would be around 5 to 8 percent of the landed value of the fish caught. The value of the fish caught in our waters in Kiribati alone would be between 400 to 500 million dollars annually. Based on these numbers it is quite conceivable therefore that if the right conditions were facilitated to ensure more equitable returns to fragile nations which own the resources, then the ability of these fragile states to withstand any external shocks to their development progress would be considerably enhanced.

Closing remarks

Ladies and gentlemen I believe we must take the initiative to chart our own course in leading global thinking on areas that are crucial not only to the wellbeing of our people but to the whole of humanity. It is time we must step forward onto the global stage as independent, sovereign and equal partners in the international community. For so long, we had been too preoccupied with being small developing countries, irrelevant and insignificant. When our very survival and those of our future generations are on the line, we have a responsibility and duty to participate in the debate, even dominate it.

Developing the Pacific Oceascape is an excellent example of how we as small island states can influence global thinking on an issue that is of great relevance to us as ocean states. The Pacific Oceanscape was endorsed by the Pacific Islands Forum in 2009 and has now gained momentum with the launch of the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Oceans Program at the Rio+ 20 in 2012. The prime objective of this initiative is to conserve the world oceans hopefully before it is too late.

In closing ladies and gentlemen, I believe that achieving development for all is about redressing the inequities which abound around us whether it is about the injustice of climate change or demanding a more equitable rate of return on our resources. Even in the absence of any regulatory regime whether at the national or international level, it is about the moral justice of our actions as human beings with our conscience as our only guide.

I wish you all the very best as we continue to deliberate on an issue so crucial for our future generation and to share with you our Kiribati’s traditional blessings of

Te Mauri (Health), Te Raoi (Peace) ao Te Tabomoa (Prosperity).