Tarawa, Kiribati, June 13, 2018 – The Republic of Kiribati and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) held a ceremony today to celebrate the opening of the GGGI Kiribati Country Office and signing of a Host Country Agreement (HCA) in support of Kiribati’s sustainable development. A traditional Botaki ceremony was held at the Marine Training Center in Betio, Tarawa and was presided over by H.E. Mr. Alexander Teabo, Minister of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development (MELAD) of Kiribati and Dr. Frank Rijsberman, Director-General of GGGI.
The event was attended by high ranking officials, including His Excellency Taneti Maamau, President of Kiribati, the Minister of Communications, Transport and Tourism Development, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, the Minister of Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy and the High Commissioner for New Zealand, Michael Upton.
Honorable Minister Alexander Teabo delivered an opening address by stating that “We are excited to host GGGI within our Ministry and look forward to working together. The signing of the HCA only reinforces the commitment of our Government toward green growth in line with those that are outlined with the vision of a healthy, wealthy and peaceful Kiribati.”
The Minister also highlighted the importance of strengthening international cooperation to assist the Government in overcoming challenges faced by the people of Kiribati.
The Director General of GGGI, Frank Rijsberman added that, “We, at GGGI, are excited to be starting our program in Kiribati focusing on agriculture, income generation, nutrition and health. Through our staff based in MELAD, we look forward to working with the Government and its development partners to strengthen green growth in the country.”
On the second day of activities, His Excellency Taneti Maamau, President of Kiribati, accompanied Honorable Minister Alexander Teabo and Dr. Frank Rijsberman during a mangrove planting activity where over 1,000 mangrove seedlings were planted as part of a larger initiative to protect Kiribati against coastal erosion and to support marine ecosystems. Dr. Frank Rijsberman expressed that being able to participate in the planting of over 1,000 mangrove trees “was by far the highlight of his trip.”
The signing of the HCA as well as the opening of the GGGI Kiribati Country Office, both symbolize the commitment by both the Government of Kiribati and GGGI toward charting a green growth pathway for the country in the spirit of cooperation and mutual support to achieve shared objectives. The GGGI Kiribati Country Office is embedded within the administrative offices of MELAD in Bikenibeu, Tarawa. The program will be implemented in close partnership with MELAD and in a broader collaboration with other ministries, reflecting the importance of an integrated approach to building climate resilience and green growth.