Kiribati faces multiple threats from climate change. Storm surge and high tides are compounding existing development pressures along the coast of South Tarawa, home to around 51 percent of the population. Saline incursion is threatening freshwater supplies and the limited arable land. Food security is at risk from impacts of warming and acidification on reefs and fisheries, which are a crucial source of nutrition and livelihoods.
The Government of Kiribati is actively responding to these challenges, working with partners to access climate finance, including the Green Climate Fund. Adaptive strategies are needed across key development sectors to build resilience, economic growth and employment opportunities for I-Kiribati. Children entering school today in Kiribati will face a different, less secure future and need skills to prepare them.
Through the $35 million (2011-2019) Kiribati Education Improvement Program (KEIP), Australia is working with the Ministry of Education to ensure school facilities have raised floors and optional protective seawalls to reduce future coastal flooding. The facilities provide a light and naturally ventilated learning environment, with disability access, and are built with regionally sourced sustainable materials. Clean water, via rain water capture, and improved sanitation facilities are also priorities. The Kiribati Adaptation Project and South Tarawa Improvement project also support these priorities.
Children entering these schools today learn a curriculum that integrates climate change, taught by teachers trained in climate change through the Kiribati Teacher Training College. This ‘Skills for Life’ curriculum is preparing children for a future in which adapting to climate change will be an everyday challenge – a challenge that will demand locally developed action and solutions.
Australia’s support to the Kiribati Institute of Technology is providing students in vocational training with climate change skills – facilitating them to develop innovative ways to cope and adapt in their island homes.
All of these programs are helping I-Kiribati to build the skills they need for secure and prosperous futures.
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