Locally-sourced: How Kiribati is boosting food security and communities' climate resilience

Wednesday, 26 April, 2023

Locally-sourced: How Kiribati is boosting food security and communities' climate resilience

Published by UNDP Climate on 17 February 2023

With most islands just 1 to 3 meters above sea level, and with an average width of only a few hundred metres, Kiribati is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Damaging storm surges, more extreme weather, changing rainfall patterns, and warming oceans all pose a serious and increasing threat to the low-lying island nation.

Once abundant marine resources are dwindling due to human pressures and increasing sea temperatures. Fish are moving further offshore to cooler waters, reducing fishers' catch size. Increasing saltwater intrusion and more extreme weather patterns are threatening already limited agricultural production. Traditional food systems are in decline in favour of imported foods - foods typically rich in fats and sugar and low in nutritional value, impacting the health of communities.

In 2016, the Government launched a project dedicated to enhancing food security in the context of accelerating global climate change. Supported by the Global Environment Facility-Least Developed Countries Fund and UN Development Programme, nine stakeholders from across the government of Kiribati have worked closely with communities on three pilot islands – Maiana, Abemama and Nonouti.

The goals of the project, led by the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development and the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Development, have been to ensure sustainable management of lands and coastal fisheries, enhance food production and diversification, and improve the adaptive capacity and livelihoods of island communities. Pilot island communities are already seeing positive changes as a result of the project, with enhanced food supply on land and from the sea.

Learn more about the project (2016 - 2023):

Video produced by Sarina Webb, February 2023.