A team of 12 officials from government and UNDP have returned from Maiana, after conducting groundbreaking consultations for the project Enhancing Food Security in the Context of Global Climate Change, with the full Island Council on November 9 and island representatives on November 10th at Tebangetua village.
Fifteen members (15) of the full Island Council from Tekaranga to Bubutei wards and the islet Tebikerai met with the team during the launch.
Ecotourism activities was one of the interests of some Councilors when discussions centred on provision of hospitality services in future including meeting Te Mauri Mark, the national tourism standard for accommodations. Internal trade on local produce was another interest discussed focusing on registration for commercial business for both the short and long term licences. A Councilor proposed for establishment of a local market on the island.
The second consultation with the village wards’ representatives had a turnout of more than 40 participants from the Elders’ group, Women, Youth, schools, and some Government officials stationed on the island. From the discussions, participants had an interest in agricultural activities, aquaculture, in particular milkfish farming, and internal trade on local produce to S/Tarawa.
In a closing remark made by one Elder, appreciation was conveyed for re-introducing cultural and traditional ways of planting, preparing and preserving local food that is now being eroded and about to disappear due to changes in life style and dependency on imported food. The Government was thanked for continuing to assist its people to build their resilience towards the adverse impacts of climate change.
Fisheries officials managed to make a site visit of the Bubutei village fishpond which require maintenance and could be assisted by the project.
The consultations marked the commencement of this project to raise awareness of the islanders so they are well informed of the activities that Government will be rolling out, to build their adaptive capacity and enhance their food security in light of climate change.
The project is executed by the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development (MELAD), with other implementing partners from Office of Te Beretitenti (OB), Ministry of Information, Communications, Transport and Tourism Development (MICTTD), Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Co-operatives (MCIC), Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Development (MFMRD) and Ministry of Education (MoE).
The team had completed its round of launching the project at the three outer islands, Abemama and Nonouti, selected for piloting the project. Some Ministries had already rolled out their first activities on these islands this quarter while the rest will commence in the new year.
The 5-year project has US$4.45 million dollar funding provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) while UNDP, provided US$140,000.