Saturday, March 5, 2011

World Bank to help Kiribati adapt

The Solomon Times Online: The World Bank Board today approved the first Country Assistance Strategy for Kiribati. The strategy, which was developed in consultation with government, donors and civil society, puts climate change at the centre of the three-year plan.

With 33 atoll islands, spread across an area the size of India, Kiribati is one of the most remote and geographically dispersed countries in the world. Its' inhabited atolls lie only a few meters above sea level, making the country highly vulnerable to impacts from climate change and natural disasters. Already the effects of rising sea-levels and associated soil salination are starting to threaten limited fresh water supplies.

Reflecting Kiribati's vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters, the core of the World Bank Group's Country Assistance Strategy will be to support the Kiribati government on climate change adaptation measures. This will include supporting the government to manage groundwater reserves, managing coastal areas, improving rainwater collection, and developing new sources of water.

"Despite its small population - the challenges loom large for Kiribati" said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Country Director, the Pacific. "The country and its people are at the coal-face of climate change and other natural disasters. This is a very real existential threat. This Country Assistance Strategy shows the World Bank's commitment to work with the government in the critical area of climate change adaptation."…

Kiribati's coat of arms

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