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Kiribati Government’s STWSP multi million dollar project proposal delivered to GCF

The South Tarawa Water Supply (STWSP) project proposal was delivered early this week to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) headquarters in Songdo, South Korea, by GCF’s multinational accredited entity (AE), the Asian Development Bank, for funding consideration.

Finance Minister, Dr Teuea Toatu says Government is pleased that efforts to access climate finance pledges under the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change, in particular the Paris Agreement is being realised at the national level. The STWSP will be the largest transformative water project for Kiribati.

Dr Toatu says the livelihood of over to 50% of the population could significantly be under stress, given constant climate related impacts of sea level rise combined with increasing intensity of storms and a worsening wave climate to the only source of freshwater in the capital, South Tarawa, the Bonriki groundwater lens.

“We are at the forefront of climate change, yet we’ve just been in the arena of climate financing for a year or so now, having an ambitious project like this, is a testament of how serious and grave climate change is to us in Kiribati, therefore, having a climate resilient future for our people is of paramount importance, and it outweighs everything,” Dr Toatu said.

“Models suggest that climate change significantlly increases the likelihood of extreme events (overtopping or droughts) that would render over 50% of the lens unusable for several years,’ Dr Toatu said.

“An increasingly erratic precipitation pattern impacts groundwater replenishment, which in turn affects groundwater quality and quantity. The complete absence of surface water amplifies the difficulties. Thus, a growing population consuming more water, partly because of increasing temperatures, is facing a difficult situation.”

The multi-million dollar project proposal with a budget of US$58.9 million is seeking GCF’s financial support of US$31m, and co-financing support of US$15m from ADB and US$13.8 million from the World Bank, with an objective to provide 100% of South Tarawa’s population with 24/7 access to safe drinking water, at a quantity of 57 liters per day per person,by 2024.

Jonathan Mitchell, Director of the Climate Finance Division of the Ministry of Finance and National Designated Authority for GCF says project will improve health, and with the project fully adapted to climate change risks and vulnerabilities, increased resilience for South Tarawa population,” he added.

He said the submitted proposal comes with a no objection letter from the Ministry of Finance as NDA for  the GCF, adding under GCF process all project submissions must have clearance from the NDA offices in-country to signify country’s or Government support to any project proposals formulated by implementing entities at multinational, regional and national level.

“The project’s submission this week also marks the beginning of the 120 days required under GCF rules where the proposal will go through a comprehensive scrutiny process by GCF, if successful, Kiribati’s first project will be ready for GCF Board meeting consideration in July 2018,” Mitchell said.

The proposed timelines of the project are October 2018 and will end December 2024.

Apart from GCF, Kiribati’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, through its Climate Finance Division is also designated authority for the Adaptation Fund, and focal point for the Climate Investment Fund.....PACNEWS

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