Helping people living in the outer islands to develop healthy and sustainable livelihoods in Kiribati

IFAD invests in rural communities vulnerable to climate change, limited access to fresh and clean water, and malnutrition

Samoa, 3 September 2014 – A US$7 million project supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will improve rural livelihoods and strengthen people’s capacity to adapt to climate change, benefitting 11,600 vulnerable people living in four outer islands of Kiribati. The IFAD financing agreement for the project was signed today at theInternational Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Apia, Samoa by Anote Tong, President of Kiribati and Hoonae Kim, Director of the Asia and Pacific Region, IFAD.

“This is a very important project for the people of Kiribati, the rural people in my country will definitely benefit and we look forward to concrete results,” said Tong at the signing ceremony.

Financing of the Outer Islands Food and Water Project in Abebama, Beru, North Tabiteuea and Nonouti outer islands includes $3 million provided by IFAD in the form of a grant, $1 million from the Republic of Kiribati and the remainder coming from the Taiwan Technical Mission and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

“We have chosen to sign this agreement here today, at the International Conference for Small Island Developing States as a way of reinforcing our support to all SIDS countries around the world,” said Kim today.

Kiribati is considered one of the most vulnerable countries of the Pacific Islands, with the lowest income per capita and a population dispersed across 33 atoll islands scattered over 3.5 million square kilometres in the Central Pacific. South Tarawa, the main atoll, is home to half of the country’s population due to recent migration from the outer islands. The remaining half of the population, some 50,000 rural people, are experiencing growing hardship because of climate change, limited access to fresh and clean water, and malnutrition due to unreliable imported food supplies, and poor and unhealthy diets.

The project targets four outer islands (Abebama, Beru, North Tabiteuea and Nonouti) and approximately 43 communities, prioritising women and young people aged 15 – 30. The project will work to promote activities for increasing household production of fruits, vegetables, poultry, root crops and tree crops, and to improve diets through the consumption of a higher proportion of calories and nutrients from local food crops. It will also implement ways to harvest rainwater to increase household water supply.

This is the first project that IFAD is financing in the country. IFAD has invested a total of $476 million in 23 small island developing states since its inception and, with the addition of the Outer Islands Food and Water Project in Kiribati, is currently implementing 20 projects in 15 countries for a total of $142 million benefiting more than five million people, including smallholder farmers, rural dwellers and fishers in Africa, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea, Caribbean and Pacific regions.

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