Kiribati's Second National Communication - In Progress
The creation of a National Communication offers countries the opportunity to contribute with technically sound studies and information that can be used for designing mitigation and adaptation measures, and project proposals that can and will help increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change. Activities generally include: V&A assessments, Greenhouse Gas Inventory preparation, Mitigation Analysis or Education, and awareness raising activities. The ultimate goal is the integration of climate change considerations into relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions.
The combination of its geographic location and economic situation makes Kiribati one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Global temperature increase affects coral growth and sea level. In Kiribati, coastal erosion, sea water from storm surges inundating the land, extensive sea spray, and coral bleaching are being observed, impacts consistent with what to expect from climate change. These changes are adversely affecting the people’s livelihood. Climate change, through its impacts of sea level rise, are leading to coastal erosion, and more frequent and damaging storm surges which are expected to increasingly reduce vital agricultural productivity of crops such as pandanus varieties and coconut.
To view progress on Kiribati's SNC click here.
Kiribati is situated in the Central Pacific Ocean and consists of 33 atolls with a total land area of about 800 sq km. The atolls have a maximum height of 3 to 4 m above mean sea level and support an estimated population of about 95,000 people. Most people live a subsistence lifestyle, as the country is amongst the poorest and least developed countries in the world - having only a few natural resources, the main industries are tourism and the exports of Copra and fish. The combination of its geographic location and economic situation makes Kiribati one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change.
Global temperature increase affects coral growth and sea level. It is known that the heat content of the oceans has increased, and this could mean increase in internal energy (turbidity enhancement) of the oceans and/or increase in sea level. In Kiribati, coastal erosion, sea water from storm surges inundating the land, extensive sea spray, and coral bleaching are being observed - quite consistent with what to expect from climate change. These changes are adversely affecting the people’s livelihood. Climate change through its impacts of sea level rise leading to coastal erosion, and more frequent and damaging storm surges bounding on the edges of the land will reduce agricultural productivity such as of pandanus varieties, and coconut.
Adaptation Needs and Priorities
- Establishment of a climate change and sea level monitoring center.
- Formation of an integrated coastal zone management plan.
- Public awareness programming.
- Education and training program.
- Research and information dissemination.
- Technology transfers program.
- Water supplies program.
Alternative energy source program.
In its National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), Kiribati builds upon these observations to identify nine key areas in which adaptation action is required. These nine key areas (as detailed in Table 3) include implementation in the areas of (MELAD, 2007):
- Freshwater–A water resources adaptation project; and a well improvement project to improve public health;
- Coastal zones–A coastal zone management program for adaptation;
Risk reduction and monitoring–A strengthening of climate change information and monitoring program; upgrading of coastal defenses and causeways; and upgrading of meteorological services;
Marine resources–Coral monitoring, restoration and stock enhancement; and
Agriculture–Agricultural food crops development.
- Dohan, Rosemary; Hove, Hilary; Echeverría, Daniella; Hammill, Anne, Parry, Jo-Ellen. (2011) “Review of Current and Planned Adaptation Action: The Pacific.” Adaptation Partnership/International Institute for Sustainable Development, pp. 71 - 81.
- Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] (2011). Kiribati. The World Factbook. Retrieved fromhttps://www.cia.gov/library/publications/theworld-factbook/geos/kr.html
- Government of Kiribati (2005). Government of Kiribati Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. Retrieved from http://www.environment.gov.ki/CC/KirCCA%20Strategy%202005.pdf
- Kiribati Adaptation Program [KAP] (n.d.). General background. Retrieved from http://www.kap.gov.ki/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5:kiribati-adaptation-project
- Ministry of Environment and Social Development [MESD] (1999). Kiribati Government Initial Communication under the United Nations Convention on Climate Change. Retrieved from http://unfccc.int/essential_background/library/items/3599.php?rec=j&priref=2437#beg
- Ministry of Environment, Land and Agricultural Development [MELAD] (2007). Republic of Kiribati National Adaptation Program of Action. Retrieved from http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/napa/kir01.pdf
Key Results and Outputs
- Sustainable development and the integration of climate change concerns into medium- and long-term planning
- Inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases
- Measures contributing to addressing climate change
- Research and systematic observation
- Climate change impacts, adaptation measures and response strategies
- Education, training and public awareness
Potential Adaptation Measures:
Agriculture and Food Security
- Educational & outreach activities to change management practices to those suited to climate change
- Switch to different cultivars
- Decrease water demands, e.g. by increasing efficiency, reducing water losses, water recycling, changing irrigation practices
- Improve or develop water management
Coastal Zones and Marine Ecosystems
- Develop Integrated Coastal Zone Management
- Protect, including building sea walls, and beach nourishment
- Research/monitor the coastal ecosystem
Monitoring and Evaluation
In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.
Parties to the Convention must submit national reports on implementation of the Convention to the Conference of the Parties (COP). The required contents of national communications and the timetable for their submission are different for Annex I and non-Annex I Parties. This is in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" enshrined in the Convention.
The core elements of the national communications for both Annex I and non-Annex I Parties are information on emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and details of the activities a Party has undertaken to implement the Convention. National communications usually contain information on national circumstances, vulnerability assessment, financial resources and transfer of technology, and education, training and public awareness.
Since 1994, governments have invested significant time and resources in the preparation, collection and validation of data on GHG emissions, and the COP has made determined efforts to improve the quality and consistency of the data, which are ensured by established guidelines for reporting. Non-Annex I Parties receive financial and technical assistance in preparing their national communications, facilitated by the UNFCCC secretariat.