Improving drinking water supply in Kiritimati Island is the main objective of a new EU funded project under the 10th European Development Fun (EDF). The allocation of €4.8 million is part of the EU effort to support developing countries achieve their Millennium Development Goals. The Ambassador of the European Union for the Pacific, Mr. Andrew Jacobs, and the President of Kiribati, His Excellency Anote Tong met in South Tarawa on 20 May 2013 to sign the agreement which marks the official start of the initiative. They also signed an additional €1.5 million agreement to continue and reinforce the capacity building component of the EU aid to Kiribati which includes the strengthening of Kiribati’s public finance management system.
Kiritimati is the second most populated island in Kiribati with an annual growth rate of 8%. The population is estimated to reach 12,000 individuals by 2020. Water supply on the island is already restricted. Most families do not have access to water for more than three hours every couple of days. The project aims to provide 85% of the island’s households with improved water sources; and 75% of households, schools and hospitals in London and Tennessee with continuous water supply. The project will also help the people of Kiritimati build resilience against the global threat of climate change which may cause salt water intrusion into groundwater reserves and increase the incidence and/or severity of extreme weather events, including droughts.
‘The European Union and Kiribati have forged a fruitful friendship over almost four decades. This initiative is a concrete example of our strong partnership and continued commitment to support the government of Kiribati and its people in their efforts towards attainment of the Millennium Development Goals’ said Ambassador Andrew Jacobs, Head of the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) was chosen by the Government of Kiribati and by the EU as implementing partner of the project.
An additional €1.5M grant was made available to continue and strengthen the Government’s capacity to manage EU funds and to strengthen its public finance management systems, including transparency and budget process.
With these two new envelopes, the total of the European aid to Kiribati under the 10th EDF will reach €21 million (AUD 27 million).
Improved Drinking Water Supply Project
In 2004, Christmas Island was designated as the main potential growth island in the line with the new to addressing imbalance between Gilbert Group to the west and the Line Islands to the east. As a result of the government’s strategy, Kiritimati population growth forecasts predict an annual growth rate of 8%. Kiribati has relatively high infant and under-five mortality rates often due to water borne diseases caused by poor quality groundwater used as a source of drinking water. The Improved Drinking Water Supply project seeks to directly address these issues by: 1- Improving the Government and community participation in the management of Kiritimati Island drinking water supplies; 2- Improved understanding of the condition and sustainability of Kiritimati Island’s potable groundwater resources; 3- Improved quality, quantity and reliability of potable water supplied to the priority areas of London and Tennessee in particular. Activities include notably: the development of a Water Use efficiency plan; on-the-job training activities to benefit local communities and government staff; installation and rehabilitation of monitoring bores; urgent improvement of the existing water supply system. In this regard the project will reinforce the water governance structures at community level and at the same time strengthen working partnerships between communities and national government line ministries around water issues.
Technical Cooperation Facility Phase II
The overall objective of the programme is the implementation of the Kiribati National Development Plan 2012-15 through the support of sound development programmes financed from the European Development Fund. The TCF will provide technical assistance, training support for EU project and programmes, and fund conferences and seminars. The Expected Results are: 1 – Strengthened capacity of the NAO office to successfully coordinate and monitor the implementation of all EDF programmes and EU-related action in Kiribati; 2 – Reinforced assistance to government agencies and departments involved in the implementation of EDF projects; 3- Strengthening in the area of Public Finance Management and improvement of public Finance management systems including transparency and budget process; 4- Programming of the 11th European Development Fund National Indicative Programme (NIP).