Category Archives: Kiribati Adaptation Program

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).

The Tamana Pump. Photo by: Carlo Iocovino

Water supply in Kiribati: Local solution

The Tamana Pump. Photo by: Carlo Iocovino

The Tamana Pump. Photo by: Carlo Iocovino

Press release: SPREP

The atoll of Tamana, in Southern Kiribati, is the origin of a pump design that has helped thousands of communities in the Pacific Island nation.

Now known across Kiribati and internationally as the Tamana Pump, the design is a simple hand powered system that can greatly reduce water contamination by allowing pumping from closed wells.

“It is essential to have a pump rather than use a bucket or a tin container to bring water. This common system of using a container on a string contaminates the well water” said Hon. Waysang Kumkee, Minister for Public Works and Utility (pictured below).

Hon. Waysang Kumkee, Minister for the Ministry of Works and Public Utilities. Photo: Azarel Marina
Hon. Waysang Kumkee, Minister for the Ministry of Works and Public Utilities. Photo: Azarel Marina

 On the remote outer islands of Kiribati, maintenance and spare parts might be many months away when the next supply ship or qualified technician arrives. But the Tamana pump has no electronics or complicated mechanical parts, allowing it to be repaired more easily if a system breaks down. Furthermore, it is a system that is well known enough the many community members are capable of repairing them themselves.

“If we can have 1 water tank to service a small community with a manual pump and try to avoid having an electrical pump, because our problem is maintenance and servicing, no one can actually look after it if it breaks. A manual pump, or gravity feed system, is the best long term solution” said the Hon. Waysang Kumkee.

SPREP has undertaken assessments on Abaiang atoll which included water testing that confirmed superior water quality at sites with Tamana pump systems. There is great potential for improved water supply solutions on the atoll as 92% of households there reported using hand held buckets to obtain water from their wells. Sites will now be indentified  where the new Tamama pumps can be installed.

The Government of Kiribati is leading a ‘whole-of-island’ integrated approach to climate change adaptation and disaster risk management. Abaiang atoll is the first site for this approach.Within the integrated approach, SPREP and the Kiribati Ministry of Public Works and Utilities, with project funding from USAID, are aiming to improve water resources capacity in Abaiang. The project will enable communities on the atoll to manage their water supply and better understand the vulnerabilities they are facing from climate change and non-climate related risks.

Also read: Kiribati celebrates World Water Day
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Kiribati people depend on potable well water, this supply has been affected by climate change

Kiribati to Celebrate World Water Day

Kiribati people depend on potable well water, this supply has been affected by climate change

Kiribati people depend on potable well water, this supply has been affected by climate change

Kiribati will be celebrating World Water Day on 24 March 2014 at the Bairiki Square in Kiribati’s capital, Tarawa, focusing on this year’s Kiribati theme ‘Water and Climate Change’.

People in Kiribati depend on potable ground water in wells and from rainwater, but this supply of water has been directly affected by climate change.

The ground water supply in South Tarawa is dependent on the size of the land area and as this diminishes as a result of rising sea levels and coastal erosion, so does the size of the water lens. This situation applies to all of the other islands of Kiribati.

Public Utilities Board (PUB), CEO, Kevin Rouatu said, Kiribati is like a floating ship with limited fresh water from its water lens, and despite the heavy rainfall that Kiribati has been blessed with in the past months, our water lens can only hold just a small percentage of the total rainfall.

“South Tarawa depends largely on the reservoirs in Buota and Bonriki so it is very vital for people to save the water they get from the main water system and not waste it”. Said Kevin Rouatu.

“KAPIII’s objective is to increase the resilience of Kiribati to the impacts of climate change on freshwater supply and coastal protection as a priority by the government of Kiribati”. Said Kautuna Kaitara, Program Manager for KAPIII.

“Our aim is to improve the water reticulation system on South Tarawa through leakage detection and repairs, to increase rainwater harvesting and to build abstraction galleries”, he said.

With regards to sustaining the Buota and Bonriki water reserves, Mr Kaitara said, KAPIII will be assisting in supporting the Government of Kiribati Water Committee by ensuring governance and sustainability of the systems in Bonriki and Buota villages.

“If water in this area is contaminated there will be no drinkable water to the 40 thousand plus population on South Tarawa and it will be catastrophic and costly for the people of South Tarawa compared to the  cost from a tsunami disaster”. Mr Kaitara said.

The Kiribati government through the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities, the Ministry of Health the Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) Public Utilities Board, SMEC and GCCA have joined efforts to make the most of this year’s World Water Day celebrations.

Also read: Reducing leakage in Tarawa, World Water Day 2013, Why Tarawa needs water reserves
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Fiji President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau inspects the guard of honor

Fiji President Visits Kiribati

Fiji President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau inspects the guard of honor

Fiji President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau inspects the guard of honor

The President of Fiji, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was given a full guard of honor and a traditional welcome ceremony at Eita Mwaneaba when he arrived on Sunday last week. The president, first lady Adi Koila Nailatikau and delegation were greeted by the Minister for Education, Maere Tekanene, Kiribati High Commissioner to Fiji, Retata Rimon and Officer in Charge for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Akka Rimon.

Unimwane Katangaua of Etia Village presented Ratu Epeli with their community’s symbol of good fortune and wished him peace, love and prosperity.

During the traditional welcoming in Eita the President thanked Cabinet Ministers, Elders and members of the Tarawa community for their hospitality and warm welcome.

He said the two countries are linked intricately and there are parts of Fiji that are there and parts of Kiribati that are in Fiji and they are very much alive and built on the relationship that both countries now have.

On his tour in Kiribati, the President visited the Fiji Community, the Marine Training Centre (MTC), Kiribati Fish Limited (KFL) and also went fishing with the Kiribati President, Anote Tong.

On a separate schedule, First Lady Adi Koila visited the Special School for the Disable and the Kiribati Family Health Association (KHFA).

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Mr Riibeta Abeta

I-Kiribati first international publication on climate change

Riibeta Abeta

Riibeta Abeta

Meet Mr Riibeta Abeta
Kiribati has not only for years been at center stage of the 21st century’s hottest topic of climate change, but the new year 2014 has ushered in the newest chapter of climate change for Kiribati, the first I-Kiribati single author on climate change.

In a typical Kiribati way of life, the young and newest author Mr. Riibeta Abeta expects no glints or glamour or even an entourage of the media to greet his first ever academic publication titled ‘Climate Change Adaptation and Coastal Zone of Kiribati’ published by the German based Lambert Publishing Company.

Speaking to TMN when asked what was his biggest motivation behind  his work? Mr. Abeta has this to say.

His motivation
‘I think forging our home island of Kiribati forward through today’s challenges, particularly in the future bleak scenarios brought in by climate change has been my biggest motivation to complete this book’

Although this is his first academic master-piece on climate change, Abeta is no stranger to the different dimensions of climate change that is impacting his beloved Kiribati, because he still lives with it and has argued for it at international foras when he worked as climate change officer with the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development in Tarawa as a Kiribati civil servant.

Future hopes
‘Amid the global campaigns about the uncertain future of Kiribati due to climate change, my worries always goes to our children, and therefore it points me to the fact that our young generation of Kiribati today must fully understand the full spectrum of their choices for their future lives; and we all know that this can be realized by more focused research on this hot topic, among other things.’

Mr Abeta’s background
Abeta has been on the Kiribati negotiation teams to the many UN Climate Change meetings since he joined the Ministry of Environment more than a decade ago, it is during his service with the Government of Kiribati that he got the Australian Leadership Award Scholarship to do his masters on climate change at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane.

‘This book in summary is about our capital island, South Tarawa, Kiribati; and a detail explanation on where it safe boundaries are with respect to the climate change threats.  The book also argued that the range of barriers and limits to climate change adaptation need to be considered into today’s developmental planning.  The time and resources spent to do the research was made possible through the Australian Leadership Award Scholarship and the University of the Sunshine Coast in Brisbane Australia when I did the Masters of Climate Change academic program in 2009 -2010.’

Cover page of Riibeta Abeta's book

Cover page of Riibeta Abeta’s book

The new author has found new strength and new heights in his first publication and has shared his thoughts and experience on how to get your work published in his facebook page and emails to his friends and colleagues in Kiribati.

Lambert Publishing Company
‘The Lambert Publishing Company (https://www.lap-publishing.com/site/home/10) based in Germany came across my work and expressed their interest to publish it globally (https://www.morebooks.de/), which has now brought this work about Kiribati to this level,’ he said.

‘This has not only demonstrated the potential of us I-Kiribati as trusted authors of books, but more importantly showcasing Kiribati’s stories, information, facts, problems and critical issues requiring support, at the international front.’

Defining our paths
According to Abeta, I-Kiribati are better suited to define their paths in terms of climate change.

Beyond climate change, the new author and father of two children has somewhat a more human touch and nationalistic feeling towards his new publication.

Hopes for a smarter and resilient Kiribati society
‘I felt, this publication of mine is entirely dedicated to the young and growing generations of Kiribati to be very informed by engaging in more innovative researches, adaptive to emerging threats, willingness to collaborate with each other to achieve a common goal for Kiribati, and remain true I-Kiribati. This publication hopes for a ‘smarter and resilient Kiribati society in the future.’

‘The “young generations” of Kiribati can achieve more than this, and I would like to encourage them to do their best for themselves, and for their future beloved home Kiribati. It is also with an earnest hope that this small achievement, signals an important message to all I-Kiribati citizens to help shape a ‘Smarter and Resilient Kiribati.’

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Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project ground breaking in Eita

Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project underway

Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project ground breaking in Eita

Local dancers beside the Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project signboard outside Eita Maneaba during the ground breaking ceremony. Picture Aretitea Teeta/AusAID

The ground breaking ceremony for the Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project (KRRP) was a success on Friday 26 July 2013 at Eita village, a historic site on Kiribati’s capital, South Tarawa.

“This is an important milestone of achievement, a green light for the go ahead of the actual construction of the road in the upcoming days” said Hon. Kirabuke Teiaua, Minister for Public Works and Utilities in his speech.

The KRRP is a $48.2 million project – funded by AusAID, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank in partnership with the Government of Kiribati – to reconstruct 35 kilometers of road for the 60,000 people living on South Tarawa.

The Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project  will provide more than 40 per cent of the population with better access to health clinics, schools and markets as well as assist the Government and the people of Kiribati in many ways such as:

  • A significant reduction in road maintenance costs
  • Improvement in health (less noise and dust) and road safety (wider pavement with more bus passing bays)
  • A reduction in travel times
  • Reduced wear and tear on vehicles

Rehabilitation of the road will start when the materials arrive in October and will take about 690 days to complete.

The Kiribati Adaptation Program Phase III (KAPIII) working on freshwater supply and coastal protection has on the other hand identified 8 locations on South Tarawa that is threatening public assets which includes inter alia the road in terms of coastal erosion. Tonkin and Taylor, contracted by the Government of Kiribati will review the designs for coastal protection works on the eight (8) sites identified.

“The arrangements agreed are such that KAPIII will work with the KRRP contractor to build coastal protection works on the eight sites distributed as follows – that works on 6 sites will be implemented by KRRP contractor McConnell Dowell with funds provided by KAPIII while works on the other 2 sites will be contracted out to local contractors.  Construction supervision for the former will be provided by an engineering contractor Roughton Int’l while the latter will be supervised by MPWU through the services of KAPIII Senior Civil Engineer.” KAPIII Program Manager, Kautuna Kaitara said.

Related News…
No potholes in road contract signing
Australia to give $15 million for road

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New Zealand Army Staff Sgt. Nick Bunker collects a water sample during a Pacific Partnership 2013 water quality assessment. Photo:  2nd Class Tim D Godbee, US Navy.

More water tests for Tarawa

New Zealand Army Staff Sgt. Nick Bunker collects a water sample during a Pacific Partnership 2013 water quality assessment. Photo:  2nd Class Tim D Godbee, US Navy.

New Zealand Army Staff Sgt. Nick Bunker collects a water sample during a Pacific Partnership 2013 water quality assessment. Photo: 2nd Class Tim D Godbee, US Navy.

Have you wondered why there are so many foreign soldiers and other imatangs on South Tarawa this week?

That’s because Pacific Partnership 2013 are here on another disaster response preparedness mission.

Freshwater is a precious resource in Kiribati. Read more: KAPIII
How does climate change affect our freshwater supply?

Part of the mission includes the testing the quality of water from a number of rainwater catchment systems by environmental health specialists from the New Zealand Army.

The systems are being assessed for prospective maintenance projects for future engineering projects, and to make suggestions to the people of Tarawa about what each systems water would be best used for New Zealand Army Staff Sgt. Nick Bunker said.

Ruateki Taato, a manager of one of the catchment systems tested, said that the water provided by the catchment systems was crucial to the communities well being and many people’s only source of water. He himself uses the water every day.

“Testing the quality is important to the people of my community because water is a large part of our health,” said Taato. “Without clean water we can’t be healthy.”

The catchment systems were donated by the New Zealand Agency for International Development in 2012, but must be maintained in order to operate properly and provide clean water.

“We are providing infrastructure to the people of Tarawa, but it’s also important that we ensure that they can maintain it by providing them with tools and knowledge,”Bunker said.

“There is a lot of equipment to these systems, but instructions on how to maintain them are not always clear. We’re trying to ensure that the aid that is being given here has a legacy.”

Conducted annually since 2006, Pacific Partnership is the largest disaster response-preparedness mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Working at the invitation of each host nation, Pacific Partnership is joined by partner nations that include Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Malaysia Singapore, South Korea and New Zealand.

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Cultural identity theme to 34th Independence

Last year's Independence Day celebrations at Bairiki. Photo: Contributed.

Last year’s Independence Day celebrations at Bairiki. Photo: Contributed.

Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) applauds the selection of this year’s Independence Anniversary theme, to ‘maintain cultural identity in development’ (‘babwaina te katei inanon te rikirake’).

KAPIII Project Manager Kautuna Kaitara said as a development project tasked to improve the resilience of Kiribati to the impacts of climate change, the KAPIII team was fully committed to upholding a culturally aware approach to all projects.

“KAPIII is tasked with increasing water supply and improving coastal protection in various local communities across the country and to ignore culture in any of these communities or projects would be very devastating,” Mr Kaitara said.

“I would like to congratulate the selection of 34th Independence Anniversary theme and hope it is reflected upon with some thought because our culture is very unique and without this identity Kiribati would be lost forever. Happy Independence celebrations to everyone.”

The Gilbert Islands became independent as Kiribati on 12 July 1979. In the Treaty of Tarawa, signed shortly after independence and ratified in 1983, the United States relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix Islands and those of the Line Islands that are part of Kiribati territory.

The 34th Independence Anniversary celebrations will feature an exciting and action-packed week of events, starting this Thursday 4 July, 2013 with the Inter Secondary School Competition at Bairiki Field.

Download the 34th Independence Anniversary – 2013 program (208KB, pdf)

Friday, the anniversary’s official day one, will see the continuation of the Inter Secondary School Competition from 7am as well as an early final inspection for gardening before the evening’s celebrations begin with the Opening Ceremony, live on Te Kabao BPA, at Bairiki Field from 7pm.

Key activities throughout the week include:

Day 2 (Saturday 6th July):

9am: Powerlifting, Bairiki Square
10am: JSS/Open Semi Final Soccer, Police Field Betio

Day 3 (Sunday 7 July):

7pm: Gospel songs competition, Bairiki Field

Day 4 (Monday 8 July):

11am: Wrestling Day one, Bairiki Field
11am: Weightlifting Day one, Bairiki Square
11am: Boat race, Bairiki Side
7pm: Open Talent, Bairiki Field

Day 5 (Tuesday 9 July):

9am: Wrestling Day two, Bairiki Field
9am: Soccer knockout SSS, Police Field Betio
9am to 5pm: Taekwando Final, KNYC
10am: Powerlifting Final, Bairiki Square
5pm: Cultural dancing Competition/JSS and SCC, Bairiki Field

Day 6 (Wednesday 10 July):

6pm: Beauty Contest, RKU Stadium

Day 7 (Thursday 11 July):

3pm: Boxing, Bairiki Volleyball Court
6pm: Battle of the Band (TSKL), RKU Stadium

Day 8 (Independence Day, 12 July, 2013):

From 6.30am at RKU Stadium
Finals from 10am at various locations

Download the 34th Independence Anniversary – 2013 program (208KB, pdf)

His Excellency President Anote Tong

Climate change a ‘whole nation approach’

During a recent visit to Australia, President Tong spoke with Nic Maclellan from Islands Business about global warming, climate migration, the Pacific Islands Forum and Kiribati’s role in regional fisheries negotiations. 

In 2010, Kiribati hosted an international conference in Tarawa to focus attention on climate impacts in the Pacific. Since then, do you think progress on a global climate treaty has stalled?

Our experience has not been entirely optimistic. After the Copenhagen meeting, there was a lot of disappointment. Much of our disappointment was based on our high expectations of what the outcomes might be. Like any major international treaty, it doesn’t happen overnight, or even after a couple of years or even ten years. I think we have major treaties in place which took decades to conclude. With the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, I don’t think we’ll conclude until we change our approach. It’s always been my contention that we’re dealing with too much detail in a document that’s highly controversial because the issues are very critical to different countries at different levels of development. My view has been to agree on a broad document and then deal with issues on a piecemeal basis. Unless we do that, our hopes for success are very dim. Quite frankly, I’m beginning to think that perhaps we should not put everything in those discussions. Perhaps, we should now begin to explore existing arrangements and simply add provisions into those agreements relating to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Does this mean that negotiations should move from the UNFCCC to another body like the Major Economies Forum or G20 where the members are the major emitters of greenhouse gasses? Will this leave the Alliance of Small Islands States out of the dialogue?

I think the key to all of this is our genuine desire to resolve this. If there is a genuine desire, then we will find a way. Compromise is always possible but there has got to be a genuine desire to compromise. Without this, whatever forum we adopt, it will not work. Whatever agreement the developed countries come to, AOSIS and the other developing countries will find fault with it.

It’s a matter of finding commonalities rather than arguing over controversial issues at this time. We need to build up confidence in the way we want to head, and if we do that, then perhaps the possibilities of reaching consensus might be there.

Read the full story at www.islandsbusiness.com

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

Wet weather fails to dampen public hearing spirits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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