Kiribati’s marine resources sector received a major boost on Monday 29 June when Government signed a $4 million Grant Funding Agreement with the Government of New Zealand. The New Zealand Aid Programme funding will support a second phase of Tobwan Waara – the Joint Kiribati Sustainable Fisheries Development and Management Programme.
Tobwan Waara is the framework for New Zealand’s support to the marine resources sector in Kiribati, under the high-level Kiribati-New Zealand Ten Year Strategy for Sustainable Fisheries Sector Development and Management, which was signed between Kiribati and New Zealand in November 2016.
The new funding, channelled through New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, will enable the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Development to implement the Programme for a further four years, from 2020 to 2023.
The goal of the Programme is to maintain a healthy marine resource base and develop fisheries sustainably so that current and future generations of i-Kiribati experience economic stability and food security through a series of short, medium and long-term outcomes aligned with the MFMRD’s Strategic Plan 2020-2023.
In the short term the Programme’s expected outcomes are: enforceable marine resource governance frameworks developed and understood by stakeholders; data, research and analysis inform resource management and development decisions; increased market access for marine products; reliable and secure facilities and infrastructure for fisheries development; i-Kiribati skills meet marine resource development needs; gender equity and impact informs decisions; and MFMRD leadership, management and coordination capabilities are strengthened.
Over the medium term, outcomes will include improved compliance with marine resource laws, regulations, and rules; the outer Islands are integrated into fisheries value chains; there is Increased employment and incomes from viable marine resources; and Increased investment in marine resources development.
The Programme’s long term outcomes will include sustainable management of marine resource, including the maintenance or restoration of key fish stocks; enhanced food security and sustainable livelihoods for i-Kiribati; and that the Kiribati Blue Economy delivers inclusive growth.
In implementing the Programme over the next four years, MFMRD staff and a small group of technical advisers sponsored by MFAT will work together to deliver seven key outputs:
- Development and implementation of resource management governance frameworks
- Increased capacity in data collection, management, and analysis
- Upskilling and equipping of offshore and coastal compliance officers
- Advice and support provided to the seafood safety sector
- Delivery of marine resources extension work in the coastal and aquaculture sectors
- Increased project development and management skills
- Development and implementation of MFMRD and marine resources sector human resources development plans.
As with the earlier phase of the Programme, its delivery will be overseen by a Programme Steering Committee that will meet at least six-monthly and will be responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Activity in line with priorities of the Government of Kiribati.
In welcoming the new funding, the MFMRD Secretary, Dr Agnes Yeeting said,
“The support provided by New Zealand for Tobwan Waara since 2016 has been of enormous benefit to the Ministry and to all i-Kiribati, as it has helped us better develop and manage our key renewable marine resources for the present and future economic and social benefit of our nation. On behalf of the Government and people of Kiribati I thank New Zealand for its recognition of the importance of our marine resources sector and for its generosity in providing this valued support. Special thanks are due to the New Zealand High Commissioner, his Excellency Paul Wallis, and his team in Tarawa, for their close attention to Tobwan Waara and for their commitment to seeing this funding realised.”