US-New Zealand sign partnership to improve solid waste management in Kiribati

Nisha Biswal (left), USAID Assistant Administrator for Asia, and Amanda Ellis (right), Deputy Secretary for the International Development Group of MFAT, signed a USAID partnership agreement to support the Kiribati Solid Waste Management Initiative.

Nisha Biswal (left), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Asia, and Amanda Ellis (right), Deputy Secretary for the International Development Group of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, signed a partnership agreement on June 4, 2012, to support the Kiribati Solid Waste Management Initiative.

Kiribati, a Pacific Island country comprised of 33 small atoll islands spread over 1.4 million square miles, is plagued by poor solid waste management.  In the capital city of South Tarawa, only 22 percent of garbage produced by the 60,000 residents is currently being collected.  In Kiritimati, the second largest city, the problem is even worse with collection of only one percent of garbage.  The accumulation of trash has damaged coastal areas critical for food production and employment, as well as caused health problems, spreading waterborne and contagious diseases such as tuberculosis and lung infections, worm infestations, and skin infections among young children and the elderly. 

Assistant Administrator Biswal said, “USAID is committed to maximizing the development impact of every dollar we spend by coordinating with donor partners such as New Zealand. We believe that this program is a prime example of how together we can have a significant positive impact on the lives of the people of Kiribati.”

“This is a flagship project of practical collaboration between New Zealand and the US in the Pacific that will make a tangible difference to the people of Kiribati,” Deputy Secretary Ellis said. 'We are looking to find other ways to work together in the Pacific in the months ahead.'

The jointly funded initiative will bring household garbage collection to over 80 percent of households, increase the resilience of landfills to negative effects of climate change such as storm surge and sea level rise, and improve the capacity of the local governments to manage collection, recycling and disposal programs.

The collaboration is one of several new U.S. Government development initiatives in the Pacific Islands region, which demonstrates USAID’s increased interest to work with other donors to promote more efficient use of development resources.

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