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MDG 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
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MDG 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
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Kiribati and Climate Change

Climate change is already having a serious impact on low-lying islands such as Kiribati, which is why the Australian government is helping the tiny Pacific nation to preserve its shrinking fresh water resources and adapt to face an uncertain future.

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Find out more about AusAID's efforts to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals.

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Segment 1

TITLE
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
TITLE
7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability. The world is attempting to reduce the emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. However, climate change is already increasing pressure on the environment and making sustainable development more challenging. Unaddressed, climate change is likely to exacerbate food shortages ... and erode recent gains in poverty reduction.
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Target. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs. Halve the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
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Kiribati.
VOICEOVER
Climate change is already affecting many countries, particularly in the Pacific. It's exacerbating current environmental and development challenges and, if left unaddressed, holds the potential to stall and reverse progress towards the MDGs. Kiribati, which already suffers many environmental challenges, is one of the most vulnerable countries in the region.
ARTA ARBAIANG [Kiribati Elder]
I feel that the sun is getting hotter and at the same time I feel there has been an increase in the level of seawater.
VOICEOVER
The president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, believes his island could become uninhabitable in as few as 20 years, in part due to the effects of climate change on the fragile natural environment.
ANOTE TONG [Kiribati President]
Previously I thought 2060, would be a safe ... maybe getting too close to the edge. But now it seems that it might be a lot earlier; I think 2030 might be more realistic. But I think the response has to be much earlier than that.
VOICEOVER
Extreme weather events, like cyclones, contribute to coastal erosion, putting settlements at risk. The main source of reliable fresh water in the capital comes from an underground lens. The combined effects of population pressures and saline intrusion are putting water supplies at risk.
MARELLA REBGETZ [Water Engineer, Kiribati Adaptation Project]
There's no above-ground water in Kiribati. It's all in the water lens, which makes it very fragile.
VOICEOVER
Australia is helping Kiribati to address the sustainability of their water supplies by working with locals to better manage water resources, monitor groundwater quality, and improve sanitation to reduce groundwater pollution. While uncertainty remains over the future of Kiribati, President Tong is focused on ensuring his people are equipped to migrate if this becomes necessary. Australia is assisting by supporting training programs aimed at providing skills in demand in other countries, such as a Maritime Training College for sailors and the Kiribati Australia Nurses Initiative being run through Griffith University in Queensland.
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What is Australia doing? Providing AUD$150 million, through the International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative, to help vulnerable countries in our region increase resilience to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. Working to improve understanding of current and projected climate change impacts to help Pacific Island countries make informed adaptation decisions. Funding monitoring stations to ensure Pacific Island countries have access to accurate data on sea level rise.