Category Archives: In the news

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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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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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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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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Kirarenti Muller and wife Totibure on their sea wall protecting their home back right of pic in the village of Temwaiku on the island of Tarawa. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age

Fiji will not turn its back on Kiribati

Kirarenti Muller and wife Totibure on their sea wall protecting their home back right of pic in the village of Temwaiku on the island of Tarawa. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age

Kirarenti Muller and wife Totibure on their sea wall protecting their home back right of pic in the village of Temwaiku on the island of Tarawa. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age

Kiribati’s President Anote Tong  has welcomed assurance from Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama that Fiji will not turn its back on Kiribati in its hour of need, Island Business, reports.

President Tong welcomed the remarks made by Prime Minister Bainimarama during the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Conservation and Protected Areas held in Suva last week where he said that “if the sea level continues to rise because the world won’t tackle global warming, some or all of the people of Kiribati may have to come to live in Fiji.”

The Kiribati leader said this is the kind of moral response we need especially from a neighbouring country within the Pacific.

“We realize that comments made by the Fijian Prime Minister are not easy… but for us the situation we find ourselves in is even more difficult,” President Tong said at the margins of the Parliament session now underway in the capital, Tarawa.

“I have often said that this is the moral challenge because it calls on answers which are unprecedented – never written and never heard of, so this calls for out-of-the-box solutions.” Tong added.

Read the full story on Islands Business

Also read, government land purchase within grasp
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COSPPac team with Kiribati Met Service staff who participated in a 2 days workshop at Kiribati Met Service office in Betio

Climate change workshop – a success

The Office of Te Beretitenti (OB) through the Kiribati Meteorological Service (KMS) in partnership with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) through Climate and Ocean Support Program for Pacific (COSPPac) held a Kiribati Climate and Communication Workshop from November 18-22.

COSPPac team with Kiribati Met Service staff who participated in a 2 days workshop at Kiribati Met Service office in Betio

COSPPac team with Kiribati Met Service staff who participated in a 2 days workshop at Kiribati Met Service office in Betio

Together with the KMS climate section, the team delivered climate services stakeholder workshops and staff skills trainings. These sessions aimed to:

  • Raise awareness about and improve understanding of KMS climate services products among media and key government stakeholders;
  • Solicit feedback from stakeholders about their needs and how to improve the products; and
  • Enhance KMS staff members’ climate knowledge and applied technical skills.

The objective of the stakeholder workshops was to train representatives from the media and from key government sectors in the interpretation of the climate outlooks, as well as eliciting suggestions from them participants on ways to improve these products or to generate new products that better suit their needs.

“The Kiribati Climate outlook is a monthly bulletin issued from the KMS climate section which consist of information on the season climate condition and rainfall outlook for the next three months in Kiribati. The ultimate aim for this bulletin is to let the people of Kiribati (through media) and government sectors know such information for their planning and decision making,” Mr. Ueneta Toorua, Climate Officer said. 

“Since the information is very technical it also very difficult for KMS to know if everyone understands and uses this product,” he said.

The KMS climate service products (including information and forecasts on high tides, seasonal rainfall, and ENSO phases) have the potential to help government sectors better prepare for tidal inundation and drought. If these products are not properly understood or if they are misinterpreted, however, they are usually ignored or can even have a negative effect.

Evaluations rated the workshops very highly, noting that they have helped to raise awareness about ENSO’s effects on Kiribati, about the climate products coming out of the KMS, as well as the interpretation and uses of these products.

As a result of the one week workshop, government sector and media stakeholders benefitted from more targeted, understandable, and relevant climate products and services as a result of the feedback. In turn, the people of Kiribati will benefit from improved awareness and thus improved preparedness for seasonal climate variability.

View the current Climate Outlook for Kiribati on our Seasonal Climate Information.
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Also read about Kiribati’s future climate

HM Tiarite_G_Kwong

Kiribati’s speech during UNFCCC COP19

Republic of KiribatiHM Tiarite_G_Kwong
Statement by: Honorable Minister Mr. Tiarite George Kwong
Minister of Environment, Lands and Agriculture Development
of the Republic of Kiribati

High Level Segment
UNFCCC COP 19th Metting

Warsaw, Poland
19 – 21 November 2013

Mr. President,
Excellencies,
UNFCCC Executive Secretary,
Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen

I bring to you all very warm greetings from the people of Kiribati, young and old, the Government and my President, His Excellency Anote Tong on whose behalf I am privileged to address this august body. In Kiribati we start all addresses by conferring blessings of peace and security on all those present so I would like to begin by saying to you all: KAM NA BANE NI MAURI.

Mr President,
I wish to take this opportunity to express my delegation.s and my own, deep appreciation to our gracious hosts, the Government and people of Poland for the warm hospitality we all have been accorded since our arrival in your beautiful country and for the meticulous arrangements to ensure the successful conduct of our meeting here in Warsaw.

Mr President,
I also wish to echo the sentiments conveyed by previous speakers in congratulating you Mr President on assuming the Presidency of this 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. I am confident that under your able stewardship, our work towards improving the security and quality of life for all members of our global community, in particular those who are the most vulnerable to climate change will move to new levels of international political commitment and support in an inclusive and transparent manner Kiribati fully supports you in this important task.

Mr. President,
I also want to commend the untiring commitment and work of our Secretary-General, His Excellency Mr Ban Ki-moon on the issue of climate change and the plight of the most vulnerable. those living on the front line of the climate challenge which includes my own country. The people of my country and of our region reiterate our deep gratitude for the Secretary General.s personal commitment in this regard. Under the UN SG leadership, Kiribati also expects the upcoming World Leaders Summit and the Global Conference on SIDS to inform the work of the ADP process with a guarantee of a new, ambitious and legally binding climate change protocol by 2015 that is centered on saving the most vulnerable countries like Kiribati and our global planet.

Mr President,
The challenges facing us as we gather again for this 19th session of COP here in Warsaw are even greater and urgent than when we met a year ago. Security challenges posed by climate change continue to undermine our efforts, the global family of nations to achieve sustainable development.our efforts as a global community to work towards peace and security. For some of us, it is a plea for basic survival. As such, I also wished to support and align my statement with those made by Fiji on behalf of the G77 and China, Nepal on behalf of Least Developed Countries and Nauru on behalf of Alliance of Small Island Developing States.

Mr President,
The tragic event facing the people of the Philippines following super typhoon Haiyan. clearly demonstrate the magnitude of the calamity facing us as we meet in Warsaw. We join previous speakers in conveying to the people and Government of the Philippines, and to those who lost loved ones, that we in Kiribati join you in prayer during these extremely sad and difficult times.

Mr. President,
What is happening in the Philippines is the reality of climate change. This reminds us of the important work we urgently need and must do now. We gather here in Warsaw, small island developing states, developing and developed states, small, medium sized and big countries because we have a common purpose. and a shared responsibility for our planet. to work together to address and find global concrete solution for the greatest challenge facing us with climate change.

Mr President,
Kiribati has and will again highlight that this is a critical issue for the survival of our people and indeed for all of humanity. Scientists tell us that calamity awaits and not just for those of us on low-lying islands. What we are experiencing now on these low-lying atolls is an early warning of what will happen further down the line for everyone. No one will be spared. We cannot continue to abuse our planet in this way. For the future we want for our children and grandchildren, we need leadership. We need collective action. We need commitment. We need Goodwill NOW at COP19.

Mr President,
My delegation was very much touched by the opening session program showcasing the situation and the dream of our children living in the other Poland, a village in Kiribati. This means a lot to us, it demonstrates a message of hope that under your presidency and chairmanship – the focus of COP 19 is to have a better and safer future for our children that is inclusive and transparent. not only in Kiribati and Poland and around the world.

Mr President,
While we welcome the progress achieved so far under the UNFCCC process it still is NOT ENOUGH to ensure the survival of our people and our planet. The recent release of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5) reaffirms what we already know and what we are already experiencing on the ground. It reconfirms the need to ask even harder questions for us in Kiribati – what lies beyond adaptation? What can be done if we can no longer adapt to climate change?

How can we continue to adapt, when our survival is at stake??

Mr President,
Kiribati calls for equal importance to be given to both mitigation and adaptation measures through balanced resource allocation. The delivery of international adaptation finance and resources are taking much too long. The Green Climate Fund needs to be operationalized and resourced as SOON as possible so it can start its operations by the end of 2014. Kiribati calls for improved access in particular for SIDS and LDCs, especially through direct access. We also call on our partners from developed countries to announce and pledge scaled-up climate finance for the years to come as part of the outcomes here in Warsaw, including also the need to increase the level of mitigation commitments and ambitions.

Mr. President,
Kiribati is very concerned with the current lack of ambition to reduce greenhouse gases. The inadequate support for adaptation for SIDS means increased vulnerabilities, high exposure to external shocks and increasing adverse effects of climate change. The establishment of an international mechanism on Loss and Damage is crucial and must be in place now here in this meeting as we have decided in Doha. For countries like Kiribati, loss and damage can no longer be avoided through mitigation nor can be avoided through adaptation. In this regard, loss and damage must be treated with the urgency it demands.

Mr. President,
Time is running out for us. Climate change poses the most urgent security challenge for Kiribati. now. We are in the front line of all this. It is already causing severe coastal erosions, involuntary displacement of villages, decrease in food and water security, and more importantly, has become a survival issue. These impacts are putting enormous pressure on domestic institutions, the national budget, the families and the sense of well-being of the people. These will continue to be exacerbated in the foreseeable future.

Mr. President,
We cannot continue to stand on the side-lines and wait for others to deliver. In Kiribati, we are taking charge of our situation and moving forward with our mitigation and adaptation strategies. We are now working directly with our partners on this like Australia, EU and Taiwan to implement our national adaptation priorities.

Mr President,
While we are taking adaptation measures to ensure that Kiribati remains habitable for as long as possible, prudence demands that we prepare for a long term future for our people. Kiribati has taken the position that it would be irresponsible to acknowledge what we are experiencing on the groundand not do anything to prepare our people and communities for eventual migration, in circumstances that permit them to migrate with dignity. We must prepare our people for this eventuality. That said relocation will always be viewed as an option of last resort. So what are we doing Mr President? Let me share a few of the things that we are doing in Kiribati. We are buying land offshore to enhance food security for our people. We are also working on improving the education and the skills of our people to a level where they are able to compete for jobs in the international labour market. We have facilitated overseas employment and permanent emigration opportunities for our people. These are in line with Governments policy on relocation and migration with dignity. We want our people to have the option to MIGRATE WITH DIGNITY, so they can contribute meaningfully to their new homes rather than climate refugees. We are exploring long term survivability and self-reliance options that ensures sustainability of culture, heritage and identity of the Kiribati people. We are looking at the various options available to a disappearing state, the legalities and the precedents.

Mr President,
We can only do so much, WE CANNOT DO IT ALONE. Much more needs to be done. Because of climate change, our future as a nation and as people is uncertain. Like many others here in this room. We present a whole new security challenge. We also bring a whole new meaning to human rights and the right to a secure future? Climate change has raised a new dimension of human rights, the right to clean drinking water, the right to education, the right to survival. It has also brought a new dimension to the definition of the word refugee.

Mr President,
As we meet this time in Warsaw for COP 19, we challenge all delegations to focus on the urgent need to address the urgent security implications of climate change, including violation of territorial integrity, existential threat, more frequent and severe climate-related disasters, threats to water and food security, slow onset events, increased natural resource scarcity, and forced displacement of communities. But above all Mr President, let us focus on the human dimensions of climate change, including, where necessary, initiatives for preparing communities and whole peoples for relocation.

Mr President,
We have every confidence that under your able presidency and the Polish Government’s leadership,  you will craft and steer this UNFCCC process to these new innovative levels that can help set a new PEOPLE oriented course for this crucial multilateral process. When all of us return to our respective homes from Warsaw, to our respective children, and grandchildren we must be able to look them in the eye and tell them with all honesty that we have done all that is within our collective powers to combat the devastating consequences of climate change. I would like to conclude by wishing you all the Kiribati traditional blessings of: TE MAURI, TE RAOI AO TE TABOMOA . meaning, May Health, Peace and Prosperity be with you Mr President as well as on all of us.

I thank you Mr. President.

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A former fresh water pond that now is flooded with sea water that is killing coconut trees and milk fish stocks, both vital parts of the local diet. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age

Global emissions hit record high

 

A former fresh water pond that now is flooded with sea water that is killing coconut trees and milk fish stocks, both vital parts of the local diet. Photo: Justin McManus/The Age

A former fresh water pond that now is flooded with sea water that is killing coconut trees and milk fish stocks, both vital parts of the local diet. Photo: Justin McManus/The Age

World carbon dioxide pollution levels in the atmosphere are accelerating and reached a record high in 2012, the U.N. weather agency said Wednesday, The Christian Science Monitor, reports.

The heat-trapping gas, pumped into the air by cars and smokestacks, was measured at 393.1 parts per million last year, up 2.2 ppm from the previous year, said the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization in its annual greenhouse gas inventory.

That is far beyond the 350 ppm that some scientists and environmental groups promote as the absolute upper limit for a safe level.

As the chief gas blamed for global warming, carbon dioxide’s 2012 increase outpaced the past decade’s average annual increase of 2.02 ppm.

Based on that rate, the organization says the world’s carbon dioxide pollution level is expected to cross the 400 ppm threshold by 2016. That level already was reached at some individual measurement stations in 2012 and 2013.

Read the full story on The Christian Science Monitor
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Also read about Kiribati’s future climate