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Kiribati is one of the least-developed small-island states in the Pacific. Due to low-lying atolls, Kiribati is most vulnerable to the effects of climate change as for example coastal flooding. Since 1998, social indicators have only marginally improved and GDP per capita growth has stagnated. There is a great socio-economic disparity between the capital and the outer islands, where many follow a subsistence-based lifestyle. The outer island areas are severely disadvantaged with regard to social services such as health, education, water and sanitation. It is estimated that less then half of the population of around 100,000 people has access to safe drinking water and sanitation, which has been identified as one of the country's top priority needs.
The Country Strategy Paper for Kiribati (2008-2013) presents the strategic framework for cooperation between the European Commission (EC) and Kiribati under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). EC assistance will concentrate on the water and energy sector. It is planned to support renewable energy projects (e.g. solar photovoltaic technology) as well as projects related to the reliable provision of water and sanitation. This includes the development and management of freshwater resources, such as the provision of rainwater catchments and storage.
The EC's total allocation (2008-2013) foreseen for Kiribati to address these priorities amounts to €13.8 million.
The Country Strategy Paper for Kiribati (2002-2007) gave priority to improving the health facilities in the outer islands of Kiribati and to continue the successful solar energy programme under 9th EDF funding. The still ongoing Improvement of Outer Island Health Services Project aims to substantially enhance access to health and medical services in the outer islands. Other ongoing activities of the European Commission in Kiribati include the Solar Energy for Outer Islands Project.
For further details on projects and programmes in Kiribati funded from the European Development Fund and the general budget of the EU, please visit the project's section of the website of the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific on Fiji Island, responsible for Kiribati.
Other sources of information
The Directorate-General for Development is responsible for drawing up the cooperation strategy with Kiribati.
More information on EU relations with Kiribati is available on the pages of the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific on Fiji Island, which is also responsible for co-operation activities in Kiribati.
Information on trade relations in the ACP region can be found on the website of the Directorate-General for Trade.