Tag Archives: Kiribati President Anote Tong

From_mgrs_house_nuts_pastures_river

Government land purchase within grasp

From_mgrs_house_nuts_pastures_river

Land in Fiji to be purchased by Kiribati, Natoavatu Estate

Press Release, Bairiki, Tarawa 23 August, 2013

Kiribati Government plan to purchase a piece of land in Vanua Levu has got the nod from the Fiji Islands Government, bringing Kiribati closer to its wish purchase land in Fiji.

Under Fiji’s law all land purchase has to be consented first by the Fiji Government. “We’ve got the Government’s consent when Fiji’s Lands and Mineral Resources Minister signed our application for consent to a dealing, as required under Section 6 & 7 Land Sales Act, Cap 137 of Fiji’s law, last month (July)” a statement from the Office of Te Beretitenti said.

“There are conditions of course such as the transfer of property be complete within 3 months, funds for this purchase be brought from an offshore account, clearance from the Commissioner from the Inland Revenue and Governor, Reserve Bank of Fiji be sought and that approval is also sought from the Fiji Trade & Investment Board if this property will involve with commercial or business activity,” the statement said.

The consent means Kiribati’s plan to purchase this land known as Natoavatu Estate from owners and trustees, the Church of England is about to roll out.

According to the Office of Te Beretitenti, Government negotiations over the land began about 2 years ago, in 2011 Government finally identified Natoavatu as an ideal land to buy followed by Parliament’s approval of 9.3 million Australian dollars in 2012 for the purchase.

Natoavatu Estate is being looked after by a Manager employed by Trustees of the Church of England and there are no settlements whatsoever except for lengths and depth of lush forestry.

Natoavatu Estate is measured 5,451 acres or fifteen times bigger than Betio, the commercial heart and most populated area of Kiribati.

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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Part of the main road on South Tarawa.

Australia to give $15 million for road

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr with His Excellency Anote Tong during his visit to Kiribati. Photo: Rimon/OB

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr with His Excellency Anote Tong during his visit to Kiribati. Photo: Rimon/OB

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has announced Australia will provide $15 million to rehabilitate 40 kilometres of main road in South Tarawa, Kiribati, which has been undermined by rising sea levels and coastal erosion.

Speaking from Kiribati, Senator Carr said the works were essential if the nation was to survive the impact of climate change.

“Kiribati is at the front line of climate change,” Senator Carr said.

“Its highest point is now just three metres above sea level.

“Unless action is taken, Kiribati will be uninhabitable by 2030 as a result of coastal erosion, sea level rise and saltwater intrusion into drinking water.

“This project will provide more than 40 per cent of the population with better access to health clinics, schools and markets.

“Coastal roads will be rehabilitated to withstand rising sea levels and storm surges caused by climate change.

“We’ll also support the Kiribati Adaptation Program to replace 11 kilometres of damaged water mains and increase access to safe drinking water.

“I’m proud we can assist in rebuilding local roads and protecting basic Kiribati infrastructure from the devastating effects of human-induced climate change.”

Australia’s funding would be delivered over three years (2013-2015) in partnership with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Senator Carr will also join Kiribati President Anote Tong to present a statement to the UN Security Council on the need for climate change action to reduce the risk of future conflicts over scarce resources.

His Excellency Anote Tong

‘Sustainable development, climate change inseparable’

Kiribati President His Excellency Anote Tong’s address to the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, January 31- February 2 2013…

 Opening remarks

Every year, we converge here in this beautiful city of Delhi to take stock of our progress towards achieving sustainable development and to continue our quest for the elusive formula needed to remedy the associated challenges including that of climate change. But such a mission would seem impossible if we are not willing to accept that these remedies will come with costs and must call for sacrifice. In other words we want our pie but are also eating it at an ever increasing rate. But ladies and gentlemen the law of balance does not permit that.

Dr. Pachauri, Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI); Dr. Arcot Ramachandran, Chairman of the Governing Council of TERI; Y.E Mr Donald Ramotar, President of Guyana; Y.E Mr. James Alex Michel, President of Seychelles; fellow leaders; distinguished participants; friends from the business communities; ladies and gentleman … Kam na Mauri, Namaskar and Greetings to you all.

Once again I am deeply honoured and grateful for the opportunity to address the 2013 session of the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit. Not only is it a pleasure to meet old friends again and to make new acquaintances but more importantly it provides us with the opportunity to interact as like-minded people, to deliberate on humankind’s ongoing quest for solutions to ensure the survival of our planet and that of humanity.

We would not be all here today if we did not believe in the value of the continuity of life on earth and that it is under serious threat. I have no doubt that we all agree that these threats are global in nature and that their solution calls for collective global action; that the only way forward to make any progress in addressing these challenges, is by acting together, as one global family.  But sadly in spite of our ongoing rhetoric we have up to this moment remained unable to achieve what we set out to accomplish simply because it is not convenient.  But giving up the quest is not an option because the future we want for our children and our children’s children is at stake.

The Future We Want

In June last year at the historical Rio+20 Conference, the world defined and produced the Future We Want document to advocate a stronger case for sustainable development as the way forward to saving the world from the chains of unsustainable and selfish rates of development. In the 20 years since the Earth Summit of 1992, the Future We Want has now become the most important guide in much of the ongoing discussions on sustainable development including those that will take place here at this summit. But once again as with the holy texts we will as individuals and nations have our own interpretations of the Future We Want. And I believe that herein lies the secret to our inability to make progress on this very critical debate – since we come on board the debating stage with our own predetermined mandates based on our individual national priorities as determined by our respective Governments. We are consistently repeating the mistake of believing that the ongoing discussions (negotiations) on global challenges such as sustainable development and climate change are just another opportunity to protect and to ensure that our levels of GDP are not put in jeopardy by any remedies proposed or binding agreements concluded to address these issues.

The Future We Want will unavoidably call for a frank assessment of our international decision making structure. It requires bold but rational political commitment on a global scale. We must be brutally honest in accepting the reality that unless and until we can sit at a single Cabinet meeting table to deliberate on the future we want for our planet and our future generations the prospects for success are bleak indeed. Once again I pose the question “Whose interests are we pursuing? Are we here to secure the future of each other’s children or just our own?”

We no doubt all agree that humankind is a highly complicated species with the capacity to do immense good but also unimaginable evil. History has time and again demonstrated how true this has been as we recall the wonderful deeds of sacrifice of such personalities as Mother Theresa of India, visionary and courageous leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi but at the same time history has witnessed and will forever condemn the horrors which are a product of bad leadership. Today we stand at the crossroad in history to be judged by our action or inaction as leaders and citizens in addressing these critical challenges facing humanity on a global scale.

I believe that The Future We Want must acknowledge and address the special need of those at the extreme end of the vulnerability scale. Countries like Kiribati and the Maldives and other small islands grappling with the challenges of climate change while at the same time struggling to meet MDG commitments. 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 a global community have failed to do.

Even at the risk of repeating myself, I would like to refer to our initiative in closing off 400,000 square km of our EEZ from commercial fishing activities. The Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) is our contribution to global oceans conservation efforts which has now been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Following on from that in 2010 the Pacific Oceanscape was adopted as a regional initiative of the Pacific Island nations. In 2011 and 2012 other Pacific countries including the Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Tokelau, Australia and the adjoining Pacific waters of the United States have been designated marine protected as components of the Pacific Oceanscape. At the Rio + 20 Conference the World Bank also launched the Global Oceans Partnership program thereby adding momentum to what began as a national initiative. The momentum is growing as more countries in the Pacific are considering making similar commitments. My purpose in raising this issue is twofold – the first is simply to demonstrate that establishing such global conservation initiatives are achievable; the second is to note that this has been achieved without prolonged and contentious negotiations.

Post 2015 and where to from here?

The most important question challenging us today at this summit is whether our ongoing efforts in addressing the issues of sustainable development and climate change remain relevant and (or indeed) effective?

From the perspective of a small island (but large ocean state) like Kiribati my answer would be no. The next question is “what are the chances of positive progress in ever concluding an agreement on climate change?” Very little I would answer. So do we perish as a species?

Ladies and gentlemen let me share with you some of the thoughts which have flashed through my mind in moments of frustration and desperation. And I do take full responsibility if they may come across as being radical and unrealistic. I dream of having a broad (without details) agreement on issues over which there is consensus based on science. I believe we all agree that no one wants to destroy this planet. Based on this broad consensus I believe we could examine existing international agreements with the objective of adding climate change and sustainable development components where there are none or giving greater force to those clauses drafted by those visionary people who at the time had no conclusive information on climate change that we do today.

Existing international arrangements in maritime transportation for example have provisions dealing with polluting of the marine environment but none restricting the continued use of inefficient marine engines to set acceptable levels of GHG emissions. We in the Western and Central Tuna fisheries as (Pacific Island countries) Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) have unilaterally set some conditions of access into our EEZ which may not conform strictly  with the existing provisions of UNCLOS but which we believe to be very much in the spirit of UNCLOS which enshrines the principle of protecting the commons. I believe that if we take the opportunity to scrutinize other international agreements in trade, aviation and others we may well find a pathway which may be less contentious than the current UNFCCC negotiations. As I said these are just desperate propositions born of desperation and frustration. I challenge all of us here especially TERI to give it a look but I take full responsibility if it turns out to be a silly proposition.

Closing remarks

Mr. Chair, I look forward to the discussions that will unfold here today and in the next few days of this summit. Before I take my seat, I want to take this opportunity to thank TERI, the Board of Directors and of course Dr. Pachauri for remaining faithful to this cause and maintaining pressure for solutions.  I also extend my gratitude to the Government and people of India for the warmth and the kind hospitality extended to us since our arrival into this great city.

In conclusion I wish the 2013 DSDS deliberations every success and I extend and share with you our traditional blessings of Te Mauri (Health), Te Raoi(Peace) ao Te Tabomoa (Prosperity). Kam rabwa.

For more information visit the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit website.

President Anote Tong with Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma

Secretary-General visits Kiribati

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma outlines new areas of Commonwealth assistance and support to Kiribati after his recent visit…

Kiribati is a highly valued member of the Commonwealth. The purpose of my first official visit to Kiribati was to have direct exchanges with the leadership as to the country’s priorities, the challenges it faces, and to identify the partnership which the Commonwealth can offer.

I was honoured to be received so warmly during my visit, and I depart with great appreciation and a deeper understanding of Kiribati’s aspirations and the challenges posed by geography, human and natural resource constraints, and climate change.

My discussions covered many areas of the Commonwealth’s work as a trusted and collaborative partner in advancing our core values of democracy, development and respect for diversity.

During this visit, I had the honour of calling on the President, HE Anote Tong, and Vice-President and Minister of Internal and Social Affairs Hon Teima Onorio. I also met the Minister of Communication, Transport and Tourism Development Hon Taberannang Timeon; Minister of Public Works and Utilities Hon Kirabuke Teiaua; Minister of Commerce, Industries and Co-operatives Hon Pinto Katia; and Minister of Environment and Agricultural Development Hon Tiarite Kwong.

I also had meetings with former President Hon Teburoro Tito, and the Speaker of the House of Assembly Hon Taomati Iuta.

Read what the Secretary-General had to say on climate change and Kiribati at thecommonwealth.org