Category Archives: People

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.

Kiribati

Obama welcomes Kiribati diplomat

Kiribati familyBairiki, Tarawa – 27 May 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sea wall in the village of Eita on the island of Tarawa. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age

Small islands’ commitment towards climate change

Sea wall in the village of Eita on the island of Tarawa. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age

Sea wall in the village of Eita on the island of Tarawa. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today (2 April 2014) praised the commitment by small islands in the Pacific to low-carbon development and urged them to continue their ambitious efforts to combat climate change and spur other nations to come to a binding agreement on this issue next year, UN News Centre, Reports.

“Because you are on the front lines, you know that we are at a pivotal moment and that more needs to be done. You know that the world’s appetite for energy continues to grow, and the global thermostat continues to rise,” Mr. Ban said in his message to the Pacific launch of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, which took place in Fiji.

While Mr. Ban noted that small island nations face special challenges, such as rising sea levels, restricted markets and high energy prices due to their remote location, he also highlighted successful initiatives that are helping these countries achieve sustainable development.

“The Pacific Islands are demonstrating real global leadership in our shared efforts to make a much-needed transition to a new era in energy use and production,” he said. “Tokelau has become the first territory in the world to generate 100 per cent of its power from renewable energy, while our host, the government of Fiji, is demonstrating its commitment to support sustainable energy for all through concrete actions. These and other efforts are helping to point the way to a sustainable future.”

The period from 2014 to 2024 has been declared by the UN General Assembly as the Decade for Sustainable Energy for All and two years ago, Mr. Ban launched his Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which seeks to achieve three inter-linked goals by 2030: universal access to modern energy, doubling energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy, thus providing services such as lighting, clean cooking and mechanical power in developing countries, as well as improved energy efficiency, especially in the world’s highest-energy consuming countries.

Read the full story on UN News Centre
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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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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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Residents stand by the site of their former village, Tebunginako, now inundated by the sea.  Photo: Justin McManus, The Age.

Global Climate efforts to be renewed at Pacific Summit

Residents stand by the site of their former village, Tebunginako, now inundated by the sea.  Photo: Justin McManus, The Age.

Residents stand by the site of their former village, Tebunginako, now inundated by the sea. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age.

Some of the world’s smallest nations will use a Pacific summit this week to push the globe’s biggest polluters to finally act on climate change, an issue that threatens their very existence, Zee News reports.

Host nation the Marshall Islands wants the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), which opens in the capital Majuro on Tuesday, to kickstart stalled international efforts to tackle global warming and rising seas.

“We want this to be the Pacific Islands Forum where the region says ‘enough’s enough’,” said Marshall Islands Minister Assisting the President Tony deBrum.

“The Pacific Rim is the source of more than 60 per cent of the world’s emissions and rising, so this is the key battlefield in the war against climate change. It’s time for us to unleash a new wave of climate leadership.”

The 15-nation PIF consists mainly of small island states, along with resource-rich Papua New Guinea and regional powers Australia and New Zealand.

Read the full story on Zee News
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His Excellency Anote Tong

Sustainable development and climate change, inseparable

His Excellency Anote Tong

His Excellency Anote Tong

Kiribati’s President Anote Tong believes the future we want must acknowledge and address the special needs of those at the extreme end of the vulnerable scale, the Islands Business reports

While addressing the delegates attending the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) inaugural meeting, President Tong said the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati are grappling with the challenges of climate change.

“For countries on the frontline of the climate change challenge, sustainable development and climate change are inseparable. Our uncertain future is a clear and loud statement on the urgent need for resolving the debate on sustainable development –of what we as part of the global community have failed to.

Read more about the change in climate in Kiribati

“The modern concept of green or blue growth emerged from the environmental devastation caused by the industrial revolution and the stark realization that our planet’s life support systems are on the brink of collapse.

“As leaders it is our duty to provide solutions and options to guarantee our people’s survival and future. But we must also be realistic to acknowledge our limited capacity to do this our own. This is why I always argued for the international allocation adaptation resources to be based on the urgency and degree of vulnerability of a country or a region. I believe that our region and others sharing the same fate should have priority in the allocation of international adaptation resources,” President Tong explained.

Read the full article on Islands Business
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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)

Island Report image Nikunau

‘Overcrowding and climate change’

Reuters photojournalist David Gray visited South Tarawa recently, here’s what he had to say …

The ocean laps against a protective seawall outside the maternity ward at Kiribati’s Nawerewere Hospital, marshalling itself for another assault with the next king tide.

Inside, a basic clinic is crowded with young mothers and newborn babies, the latest additions to a population boom that has risen as relentlessly as the sea in a deeply Christian outpost where family planning is still viewed with skepticism.

It is a boom that threatens to overwhelm the tiny atoll of South Tarawa as quickly as the rising seas. Some 50,000 people, about half of Kiribati’s total population, are already crammed onto a sand and coral strip measuring 16 sq km (6 sq miles).

“Climate change is a definite long-term threat to Kiribati, there’s no doubt whatsoever about that,” says Simon Donner, a climate scientist at the University of British Columbia who has been visiting South Tarawa since 2005.

“But that doesn’t mean it’s the biggest problem right now … Any first-time visitor to Tarawa is not struck by the impacts of sea level rise, they’re struck by how crowded it is.”

Read the full article and view the pictures at news.yahoo.com
Read the South Tarawa Island Report for more detailed information on South Tarawa
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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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