Kiribati: Strengthening Atolls for Climate-Resilient Future Urban Expansion

Context and objectives

This project supported the Government of Kiribati in identifying key factors and plan for the climate resilience, basic infrastructure servicing, allocation and financing of safe and affordable land for urban expansion, that met the needs and priorities of low to low-middle income households.

This was accomplished through data and information analysis of the issues related to the potential development of disaster and climate change-resilient urban settlements, and by providing experience and advice on planning and implementing policies and systems for safe and resilient urban growth.

The activities facilitated the integration of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) in the national Development planning process as well as fostered the development of risk tools to guide vulnerability reduction. The approaches could then be replicated in other low-lying atoll countries.

Main activities and results

  • Collecting and analyzing the drivers of urbanization in Kiribati, human settlement patterns and how these are affected by disaster risk and climate change impacts, and management arrangements; 
  • Developing and assessing policy, technical and financing options, including for a pilot climate-resilient (particularly to inundation risk), affordable, infrastructure-serviced greenfield subdivision for residential and associated land uses (small businesses, open spaces, and educational and health facilities) on undeveloped and vacant urban state land (Temaiku Bight); 
  • Preparing and documenting appropriate policies, systems and procedures for future replication and scale up of this holistic approach to climate-resilient settlements in Kiribati.

The Ministry of Finance National Statistical Office undertook a household survey which led to the development of a case study on spatial development, contributing to shared knowledge and lessons on disaster resilience and climate adaptation in vulnerable urban settlements. In addition, a technical note, drawing on the household survey data and accompanying case study was prepared on the household willingness-to-pay in South Tarawa for good quality and continued supply of water. The findings from this project have contributed to knowledge-sharing within government agencies. It has also further outlined the elaboration of the needs, gaps and options for future support for Kiribati human settlements and infrastructure to build the resilience of cities and towns to the impacts of climate change.

The outputs and products developed under this ACP-EU NDRR project also informed future economic analyses in the frame of the $60 million World Bank South Tarawa Water Supply and Sanitation Project, which was approved by the World Bank Board in December 2019 and which aims to increase access to, and quality of water supply services, and to improve the operational performance of the water supply services provider, in South Tarawa.

Partnerships and coordination

The Office of the President provided overall guidance to the technical assistance. Furthermore, civil society organizations, the Ministry of Lands, the Public Utilities Board, the Ministry of Fisheries, and the Kiribati Postal Service were actively engaged in implementing a basic system that enables in-depth surveys of residents and will underpin future urban management information systems. 


  • Pacific
Priority area
  • Risk identification and assessment
Window of Action
  • Window 2
Amount approved
  • $453,863
  • $0
  • 08/2017 - 07/2020