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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 and Fiji Presidents and the First Ladies at the State House Mwaneaba

Fiji Supports Kiribati On Sea Level Rise

HE Ratu Epeli Nailatikau delivers his speech during the State House Function in Tarawa, Kiribati

HE Ratu Epeli Nailatikau delivers his speech during the State House Function in Tarawa, Kiribati

Press Release SUVA, Fiji, 11 February 2014

Fiji will ensure that the people of Kiribati have a home if their country is submerged by the rising sea level as a result of climate change, said the President of the Republic of Fiji, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

The president made the announcement during his state visit to Kiribati this week, confirming the suggestion made recently by Fiji’s Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, that Fiji would assist Kiribati in any way it could.

If the sea level continues to rise at its current rate, Kiribati, a nation of low lying atolls, faces the likelihood of complete submersion by the end of the century if not sooner, threatening the country’s very existence.

Kiribati has already purchased 6,000 acres of land on Fiji’s second biggest island, Vanua Levu, to ensure its food security as the sea encroaches on its arable land.

Speaking at a state dinner hosted by Kiribati President Anote Tong on Tuesday, the Fijian president announced that some or all of the people of Kiribati would be able to migrate to Fiji with dignity if the need arose.

“Fiji will not turn its back on our  neighbors in their hour of need,” he said. “I want to assure you all that Fiji will stand shoulder to shoulder with you as you  face this crisis, as well as in doing everything possible to try to avert it. In  a worst case scenario and if all else fails, you will not be refugees.”

Such a migration is not without precedent. Fiji has previously accepted the Banaban people when  they were forced to leave Ocean Island – one of Kiribati’s thirty-three islands – because of the  pressure of phosphate mining there.

“These people now live in Fiji but have  their own seat in the parliament of Kiribati and if necessary, we will do it again,” the president said.

“The spirit of the people of Kiribati will  not be extinguished. It will live on somewhere else because a nation isn’t only  a physical place. A nation – and the sense of belonging that comes with it –  exists in the hearts and the minds of its citizens wherever they may be,” he  said.

The president added that Fiji is  especially keen to lead and assist the Pacific region’s effort to persuade the  rest of the world to finally take decisive action on climate change.

“It is simply not acceptable for the world to stand by and watch the republic  of Kiribati – a sovereign nation and a member  of the United Nations – sink slowly beneath the waves,” the President said on  Tuesday.

He said that Fiji is using every possible  means at the United Nations and in its agencies to draw attention to the plight  Pacific island nations face and the selfishness of the big carbon polluters in  putting their interests above all else.

He added that the issue of climate change matters not just to the people of  Kiribati, but to every Pacific Islander.

“For example, in Fiji, we have already had  to move one village altogether out of the way of the rising sea, and a  second will soon be relocated, and a further 676 communities throughout the  nation are threatened in some way” he said.

Read more:  http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1732761#ixzz2toRgdI9D
Also read: Fiji President visits Kiribati, Fiji will not turn its back on Kiribati,
government land purchase within grasp

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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.


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.

President Tong addresses the UN General Assembly, New York, 2009

President tells of greatest challenge

President Tong addresses the UN General Assembly, New York, 2009New York, 26 September 2009: President H.E. Mr Anote Tong addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations on the 26th of September 2009. In his speech,he declared that climate change was the greatest moral challenge of our time, and the world could not afford the consequences of inaction. The people of his country were already feeling the impacts of climate change, which he said would only worsen with time. “We, together with those of other low-lying States, are the human face of climate change.”

He advocated pragmatic adaptation strategies, and stressed that it was the Government’s desire to “maintain our homeland and our sovereignty”. However, with the island’s ever-shrinking ability to support life, its growing population and rising sea levels, the Government also wanted to provide opportunities for those who wished to migrate to do so, on merit and with dignity. While calling for assistance with adaptation measures, he also asked those nations that might need his country’s labour to open their doors.

Urging international support for relocation strategies, he referred to strategies, in cooperation with New Zealand and Australia, such as the Kiribati Australia Nursing Initiative and the Australia Pacific Technical College, which he believed could be implemented more broadly and could become win-win options for all concerned.

Turning to the international community’s work on climate change, he said it would be important to reach consensus in Copenhagen, and asked: “If we can mobilize trillions of dollars to address the challenges to the global economy, then we are capable of taking the actions necessary to deal with the challenges of the global environment.”The key was to capitalize on collective political will, he said urging delegations not to waste time on “diplomatic-speak, posturing and empty platitudes”.

He said that everyone knew what needed to be done and stressed that the Copenhagen summit provided an opportunity to enter into a global compact for action on climate change –- between developed and developing; North and South; East and West. “This is perhaps our last chance. If we do not act now, who will?”

For more information, contact: Government Of Kiribati Office Of Te Beretitenti (President) P.O. Box 68 Bairiki Tarawa Republic of Kiribati Telephone: (686) 21183 Fax: (686) 21902