Climate Change Adaptation and Asset Management in Kiribati

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climate change adaptation Kiribate infrastructure

Like all atoll and small island developing states Kiribati is vulnerable to climate change. The country also needs critical infrastructure like transport, water, coastal protection, power, and infrastructure.

They are highly dependent on development partners to construct them.

To withstand the impacts of climate change and natural disasters, Kiribati needs resilient infrastructure. Kiribati’s climate change adaptation and infrastructure development are already intricately linked.

A study by Willie, Henning, and Mannakkara from the University of Auckland aims to understand asset management’s role in strengthening climate adaptation in Kiribati, using its water sector as an example.

The researchers seek to understand how asset management can work in the Kiribati context, the link between infrastructure management and climate change adaptation, and how asset management practice can gain more support and sustainable funding.

The researchers analysed policy documents in Kiribati using NVivo software to meet the study’s objectives, such as:

  • Kiribati Vision for 20 years,
  • Kiribati Joint Implementation Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management,
  • Climate Change Policy,
  • National Disaster Risk Management Plan,
  • Kiribati Development Plan, etc.

The study also interviewed 30 ministry staff from the Government of Kiribati (GoK). Most of them agreed that asset management has an essential role in climate adaptation and as a climate adaptation strategy.

For instance, during natural disasters or climate emergencies like floods, better management strategies can ensure that critical infrastructure, like water infrastructures, can still operate and provide service, countering the impacts of natural or climatic disasters. 

When it comes to the prioritisation of climate change adaption in infrastructure, the study says that “the assessment of assets and infrastructure in light of climate change should include prioritisation of adaptation actions according to the risk of service levels of appropriate scale, as opposed to vulnerability or consequence of climate change to individual assets in isolation”.

Maintenance funds are not enough, quickly depleted during an emergency. Budget constraints also apply in Kiribati’s social infrastructure like water and sanitation. Lastly, funding and financing in Kiribati and other small island developing states (SIDS) are crucial.

To read the entire study, click the link provided in the “Source” section below.


Willie, Reenate; Henning, Theuns; Mannakkara, Sandeeka (2021): Adapting to climate change by strengthening asset management practices in Kiribati: Examples from the water sector. The University of Auckland. Conference contribution.

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