Green and Climate Resilient Island Development

At a Glance

Start Date Q1 2017
Funding Source Core
Approved Budget USD 654 000
Status Active
Thematic Area
  • Cross Cutting

Project Rationale

Kiribati, consisting of 33 widely scattered islands, is highly vulnerable to climate change and impacted by rising sea levels, increasingly frequent and severe storms, permanent erosion of the shoreline, frequent seawater inundation on freshwater resources, and reduced food security. The country also faces a number of structural economic challenges given its remoteness, small market size, and limited institutional capacity. Agriculture contributes to around 20% of Kiribati’s GDP, while tourism is a minor contributor at approximately 0.5%. Forty-four percent of the outer island population has access to electricity, with subsistence farming and fishing as the primary economic activities.

In 2013, the Government of Kiribati (GoK) adopted a Whole-of Island-Approach (WOIA) for outer islands in an effort to reduce the extreme vulnerability of outer island livelihoods to climate change impacts. Led by the Office of the President, the approach aims to improve climate-resilient capacities of island communities and to address challenges in terms of the lack of basic infrastructure, services, and employment opportunities. The WOIA for outer island planning and development is closely linked to the Kiribati Joint Implementation Plan on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (KJIP), an integrated national program.

The GoK has requested technical support to address implementation challenges in the WOIA, particularly to identify sustainable micro-scale income generation opportunities and to improve availability and access to green infrastructure services for the achievement of development objectives. The program will seek to build on programmatic experiences from GGGI’s pilot of the Philippines’ Ecotown Climate Resilient Green Growth Planning Project at the provincial level to support the implementation of WOIA approach in Kiribati. The WOIA is currently being implemented in one island, with a second island to begin in 2016.

Building on 2015-16 Work

This project builds on a scoping mission conducted in 2015 that identified the WOIA as a viable mechanism to which GGGI could provide its support. The scoping results also identified agriculture, economic activities, and infrastructure as possible areas of support from GGGI to the WOIA. This project builds on these preliminary suggestions and on consultations in 2016 with the group of development partners – GIZ, SPC and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) – involved in the WOIA to target outcomes in the areas of green infrastructure and income-generating opportunities. Given the GoK’s support for the WOIA, the existence of a recent comprehensive national planning document on climate change, and complementarities with other development partners, supporting the implementation of the WOIA at the local level and exploring green infrastructure and income generating opportunities would be an important contribution by GGGI to build Kiribati’s climate change resilience.
The project will also continue to build on and add value to the existing WOIA through identifying growth opportunities and specifically, by incorporating experiences from other GGGI Country Programs including the Ecotown project in the Philippines. GGGI will also join the development partner group supporting the WOIA and carry out joint planning and missions with this group to build on the WOIA implementation to date and avoid duplication of efforts.

Delivery Strategy


  • Develop an action plan for income generating activities that support climate resilience for one island, building on Kiribati’s “Whole of Island Approach”
  • Prepare a design and financial proposal for one climate resilient infrastructure project that also supports income generating activities
  • Deliver one capacity building event to share knowledge on climate resilient green growth approaches


  • Government and community adopt action plan for green income generating activities for implementation on one island
  • Government approves the climate resilient infrastructure project for implementation

Planned Results

The overall aim of this project is to contribute to climate-resilient development of Kiribati’s outer islands through the provision of support to green micro-business and improved infrastructure services based on the WOIA. Specifically, GGGI will provide technical assistance to support the government in adopting an action plan in an island under the WOIA framework, as well as endorsing a climate rresilient infrastructure project. This will be done through delivery of the following outputs:

Action plan for income generating activities that support climate resilience for one island developed. Under the WOIA approach, Abaiang Island has developed an action plan which, include the identification and development of income-generating opportunities. There is a need to strengthen green growth and green infrastructure elements in the action plan in order to build on and replicate the approach in other islands. This will entail capturing lessons learned from the WOIA in Abaiang and the green growth plans developed in the under the Ecotown approach implemented by GGGI in the Municipality of San Vincente, Philippines.

Design and financial proposal for one climate resilient infrastructure project that also supports income generating activities prepared. GGGI will provide technical support in green infrastructure planning. The Philippines’ Ecotown approach in the identification of aspects with high climate risks significantly assisted in planning more climate-resilient infrastructure. A similar approach will be used in Kiribati to assist the island council and local businesses to plan for infrastructure such as sustainable energy services.

One capacity-building event to share knowledge on climate resilient green growth approaches delivered. The experience of GGGI in the Philippines in implementing green growth will be utilized during the implementation of the project. GGGI will conduct a comparative analysis on the Climate Resilient Green Growth (CRGG) Framework and Ecotown approach using the WOIA approach to identify best practices that can be transferred between countries. The application of these best practices will strengthen the implementation of the WOIA and also provide a significant opportunity for GGGI to deliver South-South knowledge transfer and capacity development activities informed by the Philippines Ecotown approach.


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