Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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The Republic of Kiribati

CSI co-operated with UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP) in a pilot project on ‘Freshwater Security in Small Pacific Islands’. It aims were to draw on, and combine, expertise in social and natural sciences to develop an integrated approach to sustainable development in small islands. The focus was on the local community’s knowledge and perceptions of conservation and the wise use of freshwater and coastal resources. In 1996-1997 a ‘Groundwater Recharge Study’ was conducted on Bonriki Island, Tarawa. The study was co-funded by the IHP’s Humid Tropics Programme, the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and CSI. Field work started in August 1996 with a visit by three consultants, and three overseas trainees. Two local hydrologists continued the work between consultant visits and attended the UNESCO ‘Water Resources Workshop’ in Suva in July 1997. A report based on the data ‘Water Resource Conflicts in Tarawa’ was produced. It was later published as the IHP Technical Documents in Hydrology 25 as ‘Groundwater Recharge in low coral islands, Bonriki, South Tarawa, Kiribati’. The University of the South Pacific Atoll Research Programme is conducting a study of community knowledge of climate variations and their effects on freshwater supplies, crops and fishing in order to relate this to scientific understanding of climate. A comprehensive water resources management project was developed as follow-up to the UNESCO groundwater studies in Kiribati and Tonga is currently being carried out under funding from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.


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