Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Additional EU support for Kiribati environment project

The European Union today endorsed a grant contract, signed between the Republic of Kiribati and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, for an additional €2 million (AUD 2.8 million) for the Environmentally Safe Aggregates for Tarawa (ESAT)project. This brings the total European Union financial contribution to the project to €5.2 million (AUD 7.1 million).

Implemented in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the project is the first of its kind in the Pacific. It is designed to protect the fragile beaches of South Tarawa from damage caused by unsustainable sand and gravel mining, by providing an environmentally safe supply of aggregates for building materials.

“The European Union is pleased to partner with the Kiribati government and with SPC in this pioneering project. TheEnvironmentally Safe Aggregates for Tarawa project is yet another example of the ever closer cooperation between the European Union and its partners in the Pacific”, said Renato Mele, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific.

“The project has successfully enabled i-Kiribati people to access a local, environmentally-safe source of construction material. The additional activities agreed today will further strengthen the already significant impact of the project. Kiribati has set an example which can be replicated by other small island states,” Mr Mele added.

Professor Mike Petterson from the SPC said: “This project is an excellent example of innovation in aid assistance.  It began with an environmental challenge (beach mining)  and mineral need (aggregates for construction), identified abundant offshore resources, designed and built a sand dredger and will end up with a profit making private company employing at least 20 people that could last for decades.  The project has become a platform for a wide range of new construction and adaptation to climate change activities in Kiribati. It is an engine for change.”