Tabiteuea Meang Trip

Development of the Integrated Environment and Natural Resources coManagement Plan at Tabiteuea North

On March 2nd, 2023 a team from the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development (MELAD) went on an official 11-day trip to Tabiteuea North to develop an Integrated Environment and Natural Resources coManagement Plan (IENRMP) on the island. The team consisted of 9 officials from the Environment and Conservation Division of MELAD, 1 official from the Lands Management Division of MELAD, 1 official from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, and 1 official from the Ministry of Women, Youth, Sport, and Social Affairs.

Tabiteuea North is one of the pilot islands covered under the Ridge to Reef (R2R) Project where an IENRMP will be developed to assist the islands in countering the effects of climate change. Three villages were chosen during the team’s meeting with the island’s full council which was held on the 3rd of March. The village of Aiwa was first visited, followed by Eita, and lastly the village of Tanaeang. During the consultations held with each of the villages, the team firstly briefed the villagers on the purpose of developing the IENRMP for the villages, then they gave presentations on the Environment Act 2021, Waste Sorting, and Climate Change. The villagers were able to build on the knowledge gained from the presentations by working with the team in developing a draft of their village’s IENRMP. Some of the common climate change issues raised by the villagers were the increase in salinity of well water, rising temperatures, coastal erosion, dieback of plantations and the reduction or loss of several marine resources. The team assisted the villagers in developing ways to alleviate and become more resilient to the effects of climate change and took record of these for further development of the villages’ final IENRMP during the team’s next visit to the island.

While working on the development of the three villages’ IENRMP, the team also managed to carry out several other environmental activities to build awareness and environmental data recording of the island. One of these was conducting a training and capacity building to the island’s Environment Extension Officer. An Environment Integrated Vulnerability Assessment Survey was also held at several households at all villages. Seagrass demarcations, School visits to the island’s Junior and Senior Secondary Schools, Police consultation, Waste auditing, Inspection of Environmental Licensing and Compliance, Identification of Mining Sites, and Mapping of environment significant features of the three targeted villages were also conducted.

With assistance from the island’s council members and villages, the team was able to complete all required activities before their return to Tarawa on the 13th of March 2023. The trip was funded by the Ridge to Reef Project through the Environment and Conservation Division of the Ministry of Environment, Lands, and Agricultural Development.