Tag Archives: climate change

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

Small island nations must unite or drown in rising seas


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kiribati is faced with sea level rise impacts now

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

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

The leader of the small Pacific island nation of Kiribati, which is threatened by rising oceans, appealed for greater international efforts to come up with solutions as people in some low-lying areas of the world are forced to relocate. The Desert Sun, reports.

Kiribati’s president, Anote Tong, spoke after a three-day retreat at the Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage, which was led by Prince Albert II of Monaco and focused on the problems of sea level rise and the growing acidity of the world’s oceans.

Tong pointed out that based on scientific predictions of sea level rise, the coral atolls that make up his homeland will be underwater within a century.

“We have nowhere else to go,” Tong said in an interview after the retreat. “We already have communities which have had to relocate because what was their home was no longer there. And so we are feeling impacts now already.”

Tong’s government recently bought land in Fiji, and has been considering a variety of potential ways for the country of about 100,000 people to adapt. Some people have already moved to New Zealand, expecting growing problems with flooding and water supplies in the coming years.

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Local IKiribati children face an uncertain future as their islands' capacity to support the population diminishes. Photo: Finn Frandsen, Politiken

Pacific countries already feeling the effects of climate change

Local IKiribati children face an uncertain future as their islands' capacity to support the population diminishes. Photo: Finn Frandsen, Politiken

Local IKiribati children face an uncertain future as their islands’ capacity to support the population diminishes. Photo: Finn Frandsen, Politiken

If reactions from the recent UN Climate Change summit are anything to go by, the world is progressing to having concrete climate change legislation by the next climate summit in Paris in 2015, says Kiribati President Anote Tong. Fiji Times, reports.

But he acknowledges this is not enough because Pacific countries are already feeling the effects of climate change and must make themselves as resilient as possible.

He said he saw a radical change in position at the UN Climate Change Summit in New York last week.

“The recent meeting was very satisfying because there has been a radical change in the positions of many countries, particularly the US, and they are coming on very strong and with the US taking that position, it is very possible that the rest will follow, perhaps even China,” President Tong said at a press conference in Suva on Wednesday. “But that is not enough.”

He said affected atoll island nations all supported the push for legislation on climate change but also needed to begin their own fight.

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HE delivering statement at UNSG Climate Summit 23 Sep 2014, New York

Statement by HE Te Beretitenti, Anote Tong during UNSG’s Climate summit

HE delivering statement at UNSG Climate Summit 23 Sep 2014, New York

HE delivering statement at UNSG Climate Summit 23 Sep 2014, New York

UNSG’s Climate Summit
Tuesday 23 September, 2014
New York

The Secretary-General Mr Ban ki-moon


Distinguished delegates

Ladies and gentlemen

It is indeed an honour for me to extend to you all today very warm greetings from the Government and the people of Kiribati- on whose behalf I address this august meeting. Kam na bane ni Mauri and Greetings to you all!

I wish to begin by expressing my deep appreciation to you Mr. Secretary-General, for providing us this opportunity once again to seek a clear path in our struggle to come to terms with the full implications of the challenges posed by climate change to all of humanity. But whilst the scale, the severity and the urgency of the challenges will vary from country to country, from people to people the reality remains that the only effective remedy if any will require collective global commitment and above all action.

I believe that as a global community we have achieved considerable progress on the climate change debate since our meeting at Copenhagen in 2009. Much has happened in our erratic and unusual global weather patterns, which together with the most recent AR5 IPCC and other corroborating scientific reports to clearly indicate that, as sensible people we need to start taking the right measures to prepare ourselves for what is to come. We have all made our individual contributions to the literature on the climate change debate in our eloquent speeches which we have delivered here in New York and elsewhere over the years.

Excellencies the question now is “where do we go from here?” In fact during the SIDS Conference in Samoa and since, many have asked (mainly journalists) what is it that I expect to come out of this Summit or Paris in 2015? My answer is simple – ACTION ; action that would guarantee that the future of our people can be secured.

Climate change- remains the biggest threat

Ladies and gentlemen, I have just come back from an Artic Expedition and words could never fully explain the immensity of the system in the Arctic region or the full implications of the melting of the massive sheets of ice in the Arctic region. One could not fail to make the direct connection between the melting of such a massive amount of ice and the fate of our low lying atoll islands on the equator and indeed all coastal cities. The visit also brought home to me the global nature of the processes involved in climate change and the impossibility of reversing it once it has gone so far.

Need for Sacrifice and Partnership

Excellencies against the foregoing and the background of past statements which I shall not repeat here I believe that there is need for genuine commitment and sacrifice if the challenge of climate change is to be addressed.

In this vein we as an ocean state, have made a small contribution towards the preservation of one of the greatest natural endowments – the Pacific Ocean. The establishment of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), the second largest MPA in the world which complements the Pacific Oceanscape, an initiative which encompasses other small island nations’ marine protected areas. PIPA and the Pacific Oceanscape is our Pacific contribution and with it a statement to the global community that sacrifices can indeed be made.

Excellencies earlier this year, my country together with fellow low-lying atoll island states of Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, Maldives and Tokelau – established the Coalition of Atoll Nations On Climate Change (CANCC –can see). The CANCC was not only a partnership between Climate Change frontline states, but it also forged partnership with our more developed allies. A partnership underscoring the concerns we jointly share over the slow pace of global action to address the increasing urgency and severity of the challenges we are already facing from climate change. A deep concern that for us time is fast running out.

Call for greater global leadership and commitment

The outcomes from the SIDS in Samoa, is indeed very encouraging in the commitment to establish a stand-alone goal on climate change as part of the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. However this commitment together with the leadership demonstrated by the Secretary General on this issue must be matched by our political leadership in particular by those whose participation or otherwise would mean success or failure to the process.

I have no doubt that we all agree that climate change poses a danger to all of us if in varying degrees. The science forthcoming from the IPCC AR5 and elsewhere together with our individual experiences in our own countries provide ample evidence that something is terribly wrong. Yet we continue to procrastinate, we continue to ignore what the science is telling us and indeed what we are witnessing with our own eyes.  We know that in order for us to make meaningful progress in addressing the challenge of climate change there is a need for strong and decisive global leadership – so we must get away from the wait to see who is doing what style of leadership before deciding to do what needs to be done.

For the sake of our children and their children let us do the right thing soon!

With these few words allow me to share with you all our traditional Kiribati blessing of Te Mauri, Te Raoi ao Te Tabomoa, (Health, Peace and Prosperity) to you all.

Thank you.

Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon adressing the Climate Change Summit 2014, 23 September 2014. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Announcements positive for tackling climate change as UN summit comes to an end

Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon adressing the Climate Change Summit 2014, 23 September 2014. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon adressing the Climate Change Summit 2014, 23 September 2014. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Bold new actions to immediately tackle climate change were announced today by Government, business, finance and civil society leaders attending a historic Climate Summit convened by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has long urged workable solutions based on “clear vision anchored in domestic and multinational actions.” UN News Centre reports.

“Today was a great day – a historic day. Never before have so many leaders gathered to commit to action on climate change,” Mr. Ban said, summing up the day-long event,which drew a unique mix of international players who announced their vision and commitment for reaching a universal and meaningful climate agreement in 2015, as well made announcements on actions that will reduce emissions, enhance resistance to climate change and mobilize financing for climate action.

“The Summit delivered,” declared the UN chief, noting that leaders had reaffirmed determination to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius by cutting emissions. And many, from all regions and all levels of economic development, advocated for a peak in greenhouse gas emissions before 2020, decisively reduced emissions thereafter, and climate neutrality in the second half of this century.

On finance, the Secretary-General said public and private sources showed the way forward for mobilizing the needed resources. Leaders expressed strong support for the Green Climate Fund. And a total of $2.3 billion was pledged towards the Fund’s initial capitalization today, and others committed contributions by November 2014.

“A new coalition of Governments, business, finance, multilateral development banks and civil society leaders announced their commitment to mobilize upwards of $200 billion for financing low-carbon and climate-resilient development,” he said, adding that private banks announced they would issue $20 billion in “Green Bonds” and that they would double the market to $50 billion by 2015, next year.

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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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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).