Kiribati: Enhancing National Food Security in the Context of Climate Change

Introduction

Kiribati is a nation comprised of 33 atolls (21 inhabited) spread across a vast Pacific Ocean territory. The people of rural Kiribati are largely reliant upon a limited land base and coastal zone fisheries for both nutrition and livelihood.

As the population grows and climate change advances, the security of island resources will be challenged. Already, the ecosystem integrity upon which islanders depend for climate change resilience is being eroded. This is evinced by many factors including deteriorating quality of near-shore fisheries, degraded lagoon health, and reduced freshwater quality. The primary reason for this is that current management regimes for both atoll and lagoon resources are defined by open resource access. There is very little active management, research, and/or regulation to make certain use of lagoon resources is maintained within sustainable limits. The nation has very little experience with the design and implementation of community-based management regimes to incentivize improved and more innovative management techniques. There are few tools in place to support better management of lagoon resource in light of expanding economic use and demand for these resources. This situation challenges resource management both within the lagoon and on the atoll. Climate change will certainly exacerbates an already very high level of vulnerability.

The project objective is to build the adaptive capacity of vulnerable Kiribati communities to ensure food security under conditions of climate change.

To address these challenges and reach the project’s objective, the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) investment will support the realization of two components and related activities. Both components will be closely aligned so that national and site-based activities are designed to build synergies, increase awareness, and generate much more informed and strategic use of natural resources so that ecosystem integrity is able to continue to function as the foundation of food security needs.

Project Details

The project objective is to build the adaptive capacity of vulnerable Kiribati communities to ensure food security under conditions of climate change.

To address these challenges and reach the project’s objective, the LDCF investment will support the realization of two components and related activities. Both components will be closely aligned so that national and site-based activities are designed to build synergies, increase awareness, and generate much more informed and strategic use of natural resources so that ecosystem integrity is able to continue to function as the foundation of food security needs.

Under Component One, the project will assist Kiribati to address urgent institutional capacity building needs primarily on the national level. This will include helping to set in place an improved regulatory environment, strengthened institutional planning and policy frameworks, and generation of data required to support informed decision-making.

Under Component Two, the project will assist Kiribati to address climate change vulnerabilities by implementing and demonstrating community-based adaptation measures. The project will work on a select number of atolls to set in place models for land and lagoon resources management that is predicated upon informed planning and management processes. The general awareness of rural communities regarding fisheries management and climate change impacts will be increased.  Community-based monitoring systems will be established. This will be used to inform decision-making, serve as an early warning system for climate change impacts, and be linked to island-wide vulnerability assessments. The monitoring system will linked to national level programming so that national level decision-making benefits from more broad-based information sources. The project will support the generation, adoption, and implementation of model council by-laws designed to be ecosystem inclusive and enhance ecosystem integrity. This will include model regulations for the management of fisheries, including permit and reporting mechanisms for both subsistence, commercial and tourism use of lagoon resources. The project will work with extension officers responsible for both agriculture and fisheries resources. This will include building the capacities of officers, responsible government agencies, island councils, and rural stakeholders through formal training programs utilizing fisheries field schools. Model programs for more sustainable and climate resilient practices will be tested, assessed, and ready for national replication.

All project activity will target the reduction of food security issues by setting in place capacities required for local communities to maintain and enhance ecosystem integrity. By project close, Kiribati should have operational models showing that food security, ecosystem integrity and climate change resilience can be enhanced through improved management approaches.

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Key Collaborators: 
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Ministry or Environment, Lands and Agriculture Development of Kiribati
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Project Status: 
Under Implementation
Funding Source: 

Key Results and Outputs

Expected Outcomes
Expected Outcome
Institutional capacity development to reduce vulnerability to climate change-induced food shortages
Implementation of community adaptation measures to increase food security
Project Management

Expected Outputs
Expected Output
1.1 Development of Climate Early Warning and Information System, and the capacity to use the system nationally including (i) Extended meteorological and hydrological observations by National Meteorological Service; (ii) identification of critical areas for agro-ecological, hydrological and coastal services in relation to livelihoods, and overlay of likely climate change impacts under modelling scenarios; (iii) development of coastal fisheries spatial database and GIS including predicted impacts of climate on species population and distribution; and (iv) Use of state radio and TV for dissemination of climate risk information, seasonal forecasts related to food production, and warning of extreme events.
1.2 National policy and planning framework and capacities emplaced to integrate decision making tools to increase adaptation to changed climatic conditions and preparedness for extreme events, and to deploy funds and human resources as needed, including: (i) Training of officials and community groups in the Tarawa Atoll and seven main outer islands to use climate risk information to undertake vulnerability assessments, integrated land/ marine resource-use planning taking into account climate risks, development of management framework for inshore/lagoonal ecosystems under changing cliimate, prioritization of adaptation actions for fisheries and food security; and (iii) Review and amendment of fisheries legislation and guidelines to implement measures that enhance resilience to climate impacts, including draft community protocols or by-laws for community-sanctioned set-asides to protect refugia and recruitment areas.
2.1 Demonstration of climate resilient fishery practices, including, including i) public works to restore vegetative cover in degraded coastal areas to reduce erosion and siltation of coral reefs under changing climate conditions, and monitoring of coral reef siltation levels in pilot sites; (iii) building artificial coral reefs in pilot sites,; (v) training community members to participate in monitoring lagoon and coastal ecosystems
2.2 Increasing effective processing and storage to act as food buffer during times of shortages at community level because of drought or disruption of transport by storms, including: (i) constructing storage and processing facilities where needed on the seven main outer islands; (ii) feeding information from the Climate Early Warning and Information System into the surplus food collection and distribution system; and (iii) undertaking extension work with communities to promote traditional local preservation methods