Category Archives: Media room

Dutch Ambassador -  Robert Willem Zaagman presenting his credentials to Kiribati President, Anote Tong

Four new Ambassadors’ meet with President Tong

Dutch Ambassador -  Robert Willem Zaagman presenting his credentials to Kiribati President, Anote Tong

Dutch Ambassador – Robert Willem Zaagman presenting his credentials to Kiribati President, Anote Tong

Press Release: Bairiki Tarawa 24 February 2015

Four new ambassadors’ met with President Anote Tong last Monday to present their Letters of Credence as accredited Ambassadors’ to the Republic of Kiribati.

The visiting foreign diplomats include the U.S. Ambassador Ms. Judith Beth Cefkin, from the Netherlands – Dutch Ambassador Mr. Robert Willem Zaagman, Spanish Ambassador Mr. Manuel Viturro de la Tore and German Ambassador Dr. Anne-Marie Schleich.

All four diplomats are accredited Ambassadors’ to Kiribati after presenting their respective Letters of Credentials before Kiribati President His Excellency Anote Tong last Monday.

President Tong hosted the new ambassadors’ to an international cocktail reception last Monday where Tong spoke of the realization that we are one planet and as such there is greater need for global collaboration on the opportunities and challenges that the changing world pose such as climate change, sustainable development and fisheries to name but a few.

In his remarks on Monday night, President Tong reflected on the cordial relationship between Kiribati and the four countries and is confident that there is much to build on in pursuit of our mutual needs and promotion of the welfare of our peoples.

The Ambassadors’ from Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, as members of the European Union, will be visiting EU-funded projects in the country specifically the EU – Environmentally Safe Aggregates to Tarawa (ESAT) project, the EU – Solar Energy Project (School and business Solar PV equipment) as well as EU – Kiribati Water and Sanitation project.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador Judith Cefkin will be officiating a ground-breaking ceremony in North Tarawa for a brand new health clinic funded by USAid.

All four ambassadors’, who are non-resident in Kiribati, depart for their respective missions on Thursday.

Gathering freshwater from a well in Kiribati.

Rain Water Harvesting Contract for Construction signed

The objective of the Kiribati Adaptation Program Phase III (KAPIII) is to ‘Improve the resilience of Kiribati to the impacts of climate change on freshwater supply and coastal infrastructure’. One of the infrastructure projects funded under KAPIII is the construction of rainwater harvesting systems on North Tarawa.

KAPIII Water Engineer, Marella Rebgetz, explained that “in keeping with the fact that KAPIII is a climate adaptation project, rather than a water infrastructure project, the provision of rainwater in North Tarawa is primarily aimed at trying to provide a reserve water supply for drought times, rather than an additional water supply for general use. Thus rainwater systems will be fitted on existing Church buildings, but the systems are to be owned and maintained by the village, rather than the Church, and the water is to be conserved for times when the wells go brackish.”

The contract for construction works for Rain Water Harvesting on North Tarawa was signed on Wednesday, 31 December 2014 between the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities (MPWU) and King Holdings Ltd. King Holdings will be constructing Rain Water Harvesting Works on Tearinibai KPC church, Nuatabu KPC church, Nuatabu Catholic church, Taratai Catholic church, Tabonibara Catholic church and Tabonibara Catholic maneaba.

The selection of villages was chosen so as to complement the villages being covered under the KIRIWATSAN Rainwater Harvesting Project.

KAPIII Program Manager, Kautuna Kaitara said that, extensive community engagement has been undertaken with these communities both to obtain their input into the designs, and to obtain their agreement regarding how the systems are to be operated and maintained.

A MoU between the village and the Churches has been signed regarding ownership, maintenance and operation of the system, and the sharing and conservation of water. Further community engagement with the villages to establish a committee to manage the systems is ongoing.

The works are expected to be completed by June this year.

The Kiribati Adaptation Program- Phase III (KAPIII) is a five-year project under the Office of the President and funded via the World Bank GEF LDCF Trust Fund with co financing from the governments of Australia and Japan, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery partnership, as well as in-kind from the Government of Kiribati.

Kiribati President, Anote Tong and EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica.  Photo credit: EU-Audio Visual Services.

EU announces $23 million Euro for Kiribati

Kiribati President, Anote Tong and EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica.  Photo credit: EU-Audio Visual Services.

Kiribati President, Anote Tong and EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica. Photo credit: EU-Audio Visual Services.

A $ 23 million Euro commitment was just signed between the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica and President of Kiribati, His Excellency Anote Tong in Brussels.

The funding will help to improve economic opportunities and livelihoods in Kiribati by developing Kiritimati, thereby also helping to alleviate growing climate change threats affecting the main island Tarawa as well as poverty. It includes supportive measures such as enhancing administrative capacities and boosting civil society organizations.

Announcing the support, Commissioner Mimica said, “Despite the geographical distance between the EU and Kiribati, I’d like to underline the EU’s ongoing commitment and support to being a firm partner to the country, as well as the Pacific region as a whole: particularly in its fight against climate change.”


Side event in Lima, Peru

Kiribati holds successful joint-side event with Taiwan at the margins of UNFCCC meeting in Lima, Peru

Side event in Lima, Peru

Side event in Lima, Peru

Press release – San Borja (Lima Peru) 8 December 2014

Ambassador Makurita Baaro took the audience into a journey of reality, beginning with the show casing of a local climate change song and video clip by the Kiribati Climate Change Children’s Network, where the children of Kiribati plea to world leaders for climate justice.

She then told participants that while the islands will not disappear in the next decade or so, climate change has already taken a toll on the islands with coastal erosion, constant sea intrusion affecting water lens and water supplies, Government expenses on the rise to protect public infrastructure, and agricultural activities difficult from the onslaught of sea level rise coupled with poor in-fertile soil.

Our Government has taken every effort to adapt to these new realities, Ambassador Baaro says, now it is has launched a comprehensive joint implementation plan on climate change and disaster called the KJIP and is taking a whole of nation approach to tackle the problem as well as preparing for the worst case scenario in the future.

She adds the four-month old grouping of the most vulnerable countries called the coalition of low lying atoll nations on climate change – CANCC – is another undertaking by Government to leverage advocate and tell the story of the plight of peoples in small low lying countries like, Tuvalu, Maldives, Tokelau, Marshall Islands and Kiribati. Uniting to join forces to focus global attention on the plight of their people, these atoll nations are barely three meters above sea-water level.  The CANCC inaugural meeting was held in Tarawa, Kiribati in July this year and is an open coalition inclusive of potential atoll islands including country and development partners genuinely interested in supporting their cause.

“It is no longer about who is to blame and what caused it?” she said. It is a common problem affecting us all and affecting our children and theirs. It is about working together, all of us within our capabilities, working together as good global citizens to address a major challenge to our one and only home…our Planet Earth”

‘We are the early warning system for the world, what’s going to happen to us will also happen to millions of people living in major coastal cities around the world, acting now is the only possible and most appropriate cause of action,’ she said.

Ambassador Baaro also took a time to acknowledge the continued partnership the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has done to Kiribati in many different areas that have had impact on Kiribati’s effort to tackle climate change.

The Kiribati-ITRI join side event was also attended by a Parliamentary delegation from Taipei, Taiwan.

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Her Execellency  Makurita Baaro delivers her speech in Lima, Peru

Coalition of Low Lying Atoll Nations on Climate Change meets at sidelines of UNFCCC meeting in Lima, Peru

Her Execellency  Makurita Baaro delivers her speech in Lima, Peru

Her Execellency Makurita Baaro delivers her speech in Lima, Peru

Press release – San Borja (Lima-Peru) 7 December 2014

Born out from an inaugural Leaders’ meeting in Kiribati’s capital Tarawa in July 2014 hosted by Beretitenti Tong, Kiribati’s Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, HE Makurita Baaro says this is the first Ministerial and Ambassadorial level meet of the coalition members, following the most recent CANCC leaders meeting held in Apia, Samoa at the sidelines of the Third UN Conference of SIDS in September.

“The leaders agreed in Apia that officials from the five countries’ capitals (Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Tokelau) shall progress three major goals of the young coalition, and that is, the setting up of a climate alert fund for the coalition, consider options for the institutionalization of the coalition and to agree on milestone events for 2015,” Ambassador Baaro said.

The meeting not only provided the opportunity for members of the coalition to discuss and progress these directives from Leaders but was also seen by the meeting as a welcomed opportunity to strengthen CANCC, still very much in its infancy requiring collective and constant nurturing from all members.

While the coalition is very much in its infancy the meeting further reiterated their countries commitment to see this coalition through based on the very real fact the member countries have so much to gain by working together being at the frontline of the most vulnerable in the face of climate change, for the benefit of their respective citizens.

In considering the decision by CANCC Leaders in Apia to look into the establishment of a Climate Alert Fund for the coalition, the meeting agreed to pool their capacity as one in developing the concept of the  fund given the experience each country has in managing their own individual trust funds. It was also important to consider this in the context of new developments happening on climate financing. Officials agreed to first discuss the establishment of the CAF with relevant national stakeholders including financial experts in their capitals. The subject will then be further discussed in February 2015 at the wings of the ADP Session in Geneva.

The meeting agreed that it was important to ensure that the CAF adds value to all the members by way of acting as a catalyst to improve access to new climate funding including the new Green Climate Fund and other climate funding facilities.

The meeting agreed that as frontline nations to climate change, it is important to take the lead in the Ratification of the Doha Amendments as a way of showing its commitment to the COP process and advocate expediting its ratification in other groups.

The meeting also highlighted the critical importance of the coming year in the lead up to COP 21 in France and the finalization of the post 2015 Development Agenda and agreed that CANCC member countries should take every opportunity to meet at the margins of all key UN high-level events that are related to climate change and sustainable development.

The Meeting was attended by the Foreign Minister of Tuvalu, Honourable Taukelina Finikaso, the Kiribati and Maldives Ambassadors to the United Nations, Senior officials from the Marshall Islands as well as officials from Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Maldives.

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Evire Banririe, PUB Water Reticulation Secnior Technician, checks the Water Air Release Valve

Water leak detection works underway

Evire Banririe, PUB Water Reticulation Secnior Technician, checks the Water Air Release Valve

Evire Banririe, PUB Water Reticulation Secnior Technician, checks the Water Air Release Valve

Leak detection works is being carried out on South Tarawa’s main water reticulation system using a sound detection device. The work is being carried out by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) and Posch and Partners Consulting Engineers (P&P) through the Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) The leak detection works is being carried out by Mr Robert Skerjanz from P&P who is a leak detection expert with 28 years’ experience and PUB staff.

Posch & Partners Consulting Engineers (P&P) are based in Austria, Europe. The company is specialized on water, energy and environmental projects and provides consulting services, designs and construction supervision. The main focus is on water supply, wastewater and hydropower projects.

P&P will lead the implementation of leak detection and pipe network repair/minor upgrade activities on the PUB water supply network in Betio and South Tarawa; implement improved public water distribution systems in selected pilot South Tarawa communities and to build the PUB’s capacity in leak detection, repair, and planning/managing programs of leak investigation and leak reduction.

Mr Robert Skerjanz, the Leak Detection Expert with 28 years experience said, “Performing active leak detection on the transmission main, from the water treatment plant to the reservoir in Betio is essential in order to repair leaks before the road is newly surfaced by the KRRP.”

Although it is still premature to provide results, Mr Skerjanz said that after completing the works on the transmission main, activities will be extended to the reticulation system where he expects a lot more leakages.

Mr Skerjanz said that three water meters will be installed in chambers along the 30km transmission line, which will allow PUB in the future to monitor the water consumption section by section. An abnormal consumption with one section will indicate to PUB a leak in the section.

Mr Kautuna Kaitara, Program Manager for KAPIII said that reducing leakage is a key priority for the Government of Kiribati which will address the supply/needs of approximately 50% of national population residing in South Tarawa.

In 2000 a World Bank-funded study estimated that in the absence of adaptation the combined effect of sea level rise, changes in rainfall and higher temperatures could result in a decline of 19-38% in the thickness of the main groundwater lens in Tarawa and inundation of up to 54% of land in some villages in South Tarawa and up to 80% in some villages in North Tarawa by 2050.

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MPWU presents during the Consultation Workshop to Buota and Bonriki villagers

Governance Roadmap on Water Reserves first workshop, complete

MPWU presents during the Consultation Workshop to Buota and Bonriki villagers

MPWU presents during the Consultation Workshop to Buota and Bonriki villagers

The urgent need to protect and manage effectively the Water Reserves at Buota and Bonriki is recognized by the Kiribati Government in the National Water Resources Implementation Plan, the Tarawa Water and Sanitation Road Map 2011-2030 and the Kiribati Development Plan 2012 – 2015.

The critical state of the water reserves is likely to get more serious in the future as a result of the impacts of climate change on future rainfall / drought patterns, together with the population growth.

Because the preservation of the water reserves in peri-urban Buota and Bonriki is critical to the long term health and economic growth of South Tarawa, the Cabinet approved the establishment of an inter-Ministerial Water Reserves Task Force, chaired by MELAD.

The purpose of the Task Force is to:

1. Move all unauthorized dwellings located within the boundary of the water reserves and end harmful practices (such as sand mining) on the Buota and Bonriki Reserves; and

2. Develop and implement a long term sustainable management plan for the two reserves.

The Task Force has now developed the first draft of its approach to these two tasks which are described as a “Governance Roadmap”, and presented this approach to all stakeholders during its first workshop on 28-29 October 2014 to consider the draft proposals.

There will be a second workshop in about four months to consider the final draft proposals and a third workshop four months or so after that – in the middle of 2015 – to consider the final proposals. Over the next 8 months consultations will take place, involving all stakeholders, coming together at the workshops to seek agreement and build consensus about the way forward – for the protection and conservation of the two water reserves that are so important to the lives of so many of the people of South Tarawa and of Kiribati.

The process will take place within the framework of government policy, the laws of Kiribati and the World Bank’s Operational Policy on involuntary resettlement.

Implementation of an Immediate Actions Plan to address the first purpose of the Task Force and a Sustainable Management Plan to address the second, will only start after there is full and open consultation with all stakeholders and agreement about what is to be done.

This agreement will be made into a formal written document with representatives of all key stakeholders participating. It is hoped this can be achieved by the middle of next year and both plans can then be implemented.

The first step is to start a process of community engagement. This will mean that, after this workshop: a) consultations start and continue on a regular basis with all communities involved; b) a communication, education and awareness plan is started; and c) a census and survey of the unauthorised residents on the two water reserves and a survey of Buota and Bonriki village residents is carried out. The surveys are necessary to draw up the first draft of a Resettlement Plan for the water reserves, and a Process Framework for the two village communities, for presentation at the next workshop.

The main stakeholders are the communities of Buota and Bonriki villages, the residents of South Tarawa, the unauthorized residents on the two water reserves, the Urban and Island Councils and their planning Boards, the administrative arms of government in a number of Ministries and agencies – MELAD, MPWU, MoHMS and PUB, the executive arm of government – Cabinet – and the Kiribati Adaptation Program III and Office of the Beretitenti under whose management and direction the process falls.

The process of consultation to reach agreement between all these many parties may be difficult and involve hard decisions but the achievement of the end result – clean and safe water – is very important to the people of South Tarawa and of Kiribati. All stakeholders will need to participate openly and constructively to reach an outcome that is fair to all and recognizes and meets the needs of all, as far as this is possible in meeting the overall goal – clean and safe water for South Tarawa.

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Land owner from Tabonibara, North Tarawa, signs the voluntary land use agreement

Location confirmed for infiltration galleries in North Tarawa


Land owner from Tabonibara, North Tarawa, signs the voluntary land use agreement

Land owner from Tabonibara, North Tarawa, signs the voluntary land use agreement

Landowners in Nooto and Tabonibara villages of Rural Tarawa have willingly signed off an agreement for the voluntary use of their lands for water infiltration galleries, thanks to an extensive and exhaustive KAPIII community consultation undertaking.

The signing was witnessed by the Australian High Commissioner to Kiribati HE. Mr. George Fraser, Kiribati’s Finance Minister Hon.Tom Murduch and the Minister for Commerce Hon. Pinto Katia.

A total of 7 landowners for Tabonibara and 11 for Nooto signed the agreement to declare their land for infiltration galleries which will be a reserve area for water, where no housing, graves or bwabwai pits will be found.

To safeguard the endangered fresh water from the effects of climate change and as part of an adaptation measure KAPIII will be funding the two infiltration galleries, which will provide the people of Nooto and Tabonibara villages with fresh clean water to drink from in relation to climate change and salt water intrusion.

Acknowledging the generosity made by the landowners, The Australian High Commissioner to Kiribati in his speech said. “Your permission to use this land for the galleries will be a key legacy from you to future generations, and one that will help improve your own livelihoods, those of your family, friends and community.”

“Australia, as a development partner, recognizes the importance of assisting your government to improve sustainable access to freshwater, and so we are pleased to support the third phase of the Kiribati Adaptation Project which aims to improve resilience to the impacts of climate change on fresh water supply.” He added.

“The signing that we have seen today signifies a major landmark in the progressive development of the project. It gives us a strong feeling that the project will surely be accomplished in the not distant future.” North Tarawa Mayor, Harry Tekaiti.

The Minister of Finance, Tom Murdoch on behalf of the Government of Kiribati thanked the land owners and called on the people of Tabonibara to safeguard the infiltration galleries not just for today but for their future generations.

An Infiltration gallery at the Taborio School in North Tarawa was erected during KAPII and its success has trickled the allocation of AUD$372,000 out of the $10.8 million project for the two infiltration galleries in Nooto and in Tabonibara, under KAPIII.

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Participants of the SPC EU-GCCA: PSIS workshop try out the new tippy tap display. Photo: KAPIII

Hand washing with soap will save lives

Participants of the SPC EU-GCCA: PSIS workshop try out the new tippy tap display. Photo: KAPIII

Participants of the SPC EU-GCCA: PSIS workshop try out the new tippy tap display. Photo: KAPIII

Hand washing with soap is the most effective & inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal & acute respiratory infections, which take the lives of millions of children in developing countries. Together, they are responsible for the majority of all child deaths. Yet, despite its lifesaving potential, handwashing with soap is seldom practiced and difficult to promote. Turning handwashing with soap before eating and after using the toilet into an ingrained habit could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention.

In Kiribati the Infant Mortality Rate is 47/1000 live births, which is the highest in the Pacific region. Hand washing with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhea among children under five by almost 50 percent, and respiratory infections by nearly 25 percent.

On Wednesday 15 October 2014, Kiribati will be joining hands with over 200 million people in over 100 countries around the world to celebrate Global Hand Washing Day with the theme ‘Clean Hands Save Lives’. The event will be held in Bairiki Square in South Tarawa from 11am to 3pm in the presence of Secretaries, Diplomats, Heads o UN agencies, members of community and school students.

Global Hand Washing Day celebrations has been organized in a joint effort  by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), Ministry of Public Works and Utilities (MPWU), Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development, Ministry of Education, Office of Te Beretitenti, Red Cross, Water and Sanitation Projects, KIRIWATSAN I, Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII),  SPC- EU GCCA: PSIS and the South Tarawa Sanitation Improvement Sector Project (STSISP).

The public is encouraged to join this celebration so that awareness and understanding of the importance of hand washing with soap can be practiced by all.

The event will include:
–          Demonstration of handwashing with soap
–          School event on Global Hand Washing theme
–          Drama show from Red Cross
–          Games for children
–          Floor show by KCCN (Kiribati Children Campaigners Network).

About the projects


The Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) is a five-year climate change adaptation project under the Office of the President. The objective of KAPIII is to improve the resilience of Kiribati to the impacts of climate change on freshwater supply and coastal infrastructure.

Freshwater supply projects include providing support to the MPWU and PUB; the installation of rainwater harvesting works and infiltration gallery works in North and South Tarawa; and the detection and repair of leaks in the PUB’s pipe system from Buota to Betio.

KAPIII is funded via the World Bank GEF LDCF Trust Fund with co-financing from the governments of Australia and Japan, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery partnership, as well as in-kind from the Government of Kiribati.


The Water and Sanitation project in the Outer Islands of the Republic of Kiribati Phase I (KIRIWATSAN I) is funded by EU, implemented by the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities with technical assistance from UNICEF.

It involves 70 communities in the 16 Gilbert Islands. The project aims to empower people by engaging them to achieve better access to safe drinking water, adequate and socially acceptable sanitation facilities, combined with an effective education/awareness raising campaign to improve their understanding of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues and to encourage behavioural changes, especially starting with children, as agents of change.


The South Tarawa Sanitation Improvement Program (STSISP) aims to improve the health of communities on South Tarawa by rehabilitating and upgrading existing sanitation infrastructure. STSISP will improve access to sanitation services from 64 per cent of South Tarawa’s population in 2010 to 80 per cent by 2018. 

Rehabilitation of current infrastructure will limit contamination of groundwater reserves, which are currently polluted by pit latrines and poorly managed septic tanks.

The Asian Development Bank is the lead agency on this program.


The Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States (GCCA: PSIS) project is a three-year project funded by the European Union and executed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). The overall objective of the GCCA: PSIS project is to support the governments of nine smaller Pacific Island States, namely Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu, in their efforts to tackle the adverse effects of climate change. The purpose of the project is to promote long-term strategies and approaches to adaptation planning and pave the way for more effective and coordinated aid delivery to address climate change at the national and regional level.

Kiribati Global March 20 September 2014

Kiribati joins People’s Climate March

Kiribati Global March 20 September 2014Kiribati Climate Action Network (KIRICAN) and 350 Kiribati will be hosting the People’s Climate March on Saturday 20 September 2014 at the fish market in Teaoraereke, South Tarawa, Kiribati with a big cleanup campaign, joining hands with people around the world and in New York on this Global Action Movement.

The People’s Climate March is about people from different communities standing in solidarity to show world leaders, that people are ready for action on climate change.

World leaders are meeting in New York City for a United Nations Summit to discuss climate change and because of this, thousands of people from around the world including Kiribati are coming together to show that communities are powerful, united and resilient.

The program starts at 8:30am and is filled with a whole bunch of activities, ranging from singing, dancing and cleaning.

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