Restoring the unique seabird nesting grounds found on Phoenix Islands with the help of the aptly dubbed "rat-slayer" mission.
- Kiribati is made up of three groups of coral atolls which span over 3,000 kilometres of the Pacific, right on the equator.
- Most of the land is island atolls, and only one to two metres above sea level.
- Kiribati has a population of around 100,000, with nearly half the population living in overcrowded South Tarawa.
- Households are supported by subsistence fishing and copra cutting. Main sources of employment include the public sector and seafarers on cargo ships.
- Climate change is a major issue for low-lying Kiribati. Water supplies are being affected by variable rainfall patterns.
- Kiribati's population is growing quickly and expected to double by 2025.
- Unemployment is very high. Approximately 2,000 school leavers enter the economy each year, and there are not enough jobs. With little paid employment available, one person often financially supports a large family network.
- Rapid urban population growth in South Tarawa has damaged the environment, and led to significant public health issues. Population density in South Tarawa is 2,258 people per square kilometre.
- Kiribati's under-five mortality rate is the worst in the Pacific (66 per 1,000).
- Family violence rates are very high (70 percent), and alcohol abuse is increasing.
New Zealand Aid Programme activities
New Zealand’s development support for Kiribati for 2010/11 is NZ$25 million.
The New Zealand Aid Programme activities in Kiribati are based on the overall aid programme mandate and the specific development challenges in Kiribati. Activities and programmes currently underway include workforce skills development, sustainable urban development, and improved public sector performance.
Of the NZ$25 million development supported allocated to Kiribati NZ$13 million will go to a one off contribution for the upgrade of Cassidy Airport Runway.
Workforce skills development
The Government of Kiribati's top priority is the creation of employment opportunities and a skilled workforce that can access the national and international labour market.
The New Zealand Aid Programme has supported the Kiribati Marine Training Centre since 1983. The centre delivers vocational training to I-Kiribati seafarers.
New Zealand is investing $7 million in the centre between 2006 and 2012. To date this funding has seen the completion of new classrooms, dormitories and a galley. New Zealand is also helping the centre to develop its training curriculum so that it is accredited to train deck officers and engineers, establish a catering facility and offer English language training. This investment has enabled the Centre to increase its annual student intake from 150 to 200.
New Zealand has recently agreed to progress the design of a Kiribati Fisheries Training Programme to redevelop the Fisheries Training Centre in Tarawa. The New Zealand funded activities seek to increase international and domestic employment opportunities and fisheries revenue for Kiribati.
The New Zealand Aid Programme also currently provides scholarships and training awards for undergraduate or postgraduate study at New Zealand and Pacific regional universities, mid-career vocational training in New Zealand, and funding for workforce training in Kiribati.
Sustainable urban development
Activities are underway to address over-crowding in urban areas and associated public health and environmental problems. The urban development programme will also help with Kiribati's adaptation to climate change.
The programme aims to directly benefit approximately 7,000 people in South Tarawa, and indirectly support the rest of South Tarawa and communities on Kiritimati Island. The first phase commenced in 2008 and included preparatory work with Government, Urban Councils and communities.
From 2010 to 2013 the programme will deliver:
- Improved household water and sanitation for 6,000 people living in slum conditions in South Tarawa
- A new climate proofed subdivision in South Tarawa for up to 1,000 people to relieve overcrowding, and assist the Government to plan for natural growth
- Improved Solid Waste Management collection including through introducing recycling and waste minimisation strategies, and rehabilitation landfills.
- Small business development agencies to foster economic growth
- Rainwater harvesting on 14 public buildings in South Tarawa and Kiritimati Island to provide a supply of clean water for poor communites
- Rehabilitation of Kiritimati Island's Cassidy Airport runway to allo access to remote Line Islands where 10% of Kiribati's population live, and to enable tourists to visit the world class fishing, bird watiching and surfing spots
Public sector - improving performance
- New Zealand provides support to the Strategic Policy Unit within the Office of the Berentitenti (President). The unit is tasked with managing whole of government responses to issues such as climate change, population and disaster management
- The New Zealand Police have been helping the Kiribati Police Force to address the alarming levels of domestic violence in the country. A senior advisor is to work with the Acting Police Commissioner in a mentoring role. Specialist assistance is being provided with youth offending, child sexual abuse, road policing, and criminal prosecutions.
- The Phoenix Islands Protected Area became UNESCO's largest World Heritage marine protected area, at over 400,000 square kilometres, in 2010. New Zealand's Department of Conservation has completed its first phase of work that has seen pests eradicated from selected Islands within the group, and Government staff trained in effective invasive species management. This has seen a remarkable recovery of vegetation on the islands, and will provide a remote refuge for nesting seabirds.