Kiribati is one of the least-developed small-island states in the Pacific. Its low-lying atolls are extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as coastal flooding.
Since 1998, social indicators have only marginally improved and per capita growth has stagnated. There is a great socio-economic disparity between the capital and the outer islands, where many have a subsistence-based lifestyle. The outer islands lack social services such as health, education, safe drinking water and sanitation – one of the country’s most urgent requirements and, along with energy, an EU funding priority.
The Country Strategy Paper for Kiribati (2008-13) and a multi-annual indicative programme set out the priorities for €13.8 million of EU funding under the 10thEuropean Development Fund (2008-13). These are:
- water – development of the management of fresh water resources such as the provision of rain water catchments and storage, and
- energy – including the development of solar photovoltaic technology.
A complementary €4.8 million has been allocated in 2012 to support the provision of drinkable water in the Christmas islands.
EU action in the field of renewable energy intends to provide people and communities with basic electricity services for households, secondary schools, small businesses and to solar project operations in the Line Islands, including the development of solar photovoltaic technology.