Kiribati: Strengthening Atolls for Climate-Resilient Future Urban Expansion

Context and Objectives
The objective of the activity is to support the Government of Kiribati to identify key factors and plan for the climate resilience, basic infrastructure servicing, allocation and financing of safe and affordable land for urban expansion, that meets the needs and priorities of low- to low-middle income households.
This is done 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 facilitates the integration of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) in the national Development planning process as well as foster the development of risk tools to guide vulnerability reduction. The approaches could then be replicated in other low-lying atoll countries.

Main Activities
Collating 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.


  • A safe and affordable housing needs and priority survey instrument was developed, which was reviewed by the National Statistics Office and carried out by enumerators in a few hundred households (households in Betio, Bairiki and Bikenibeu, Eita, Tebikenikora, Nanikaai, Tanaea, and South Tarawana).
  • Two villages - Nanikaai and Tebikenikora - were identified for further investigations into the regulatory framework for access to land and household decision-making.
  • A technical review was conducted of the feasibility of the Temaiku Land Development Proposal, which proposes to turn an uninhabitable area of low-lying land in Kiribati into new higher land through a process of reclamation.
  • Three days of classroom and field training on urban management took place in December 2017 for 20 participants from civil society organizations and the Government of Kiribati.
  • Work started on the preparation of a facts-based estimate of land and housing needs and preference, and an assessment of effective demand based on for example population growth projections, climate vulnerability projections for existing urban villages, and an identification of vacant and/or underutilized state lands.

Partnerships and Coordination
The Office of the President provides overall guidance to the technical assistance. Furthermore, CSO, the Ministry of Lands, the Public Utilities Board, the Ministry of Fisheries, and the Kiribati Postal Service are actively engaged in implementing a basic system that will enable 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
  • $455,000
  • $0
  • 08/2017 - 07/2020