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Kiribati Dredging Vessel Launched

For Immediate Release

Kiribati Dredging Vessel Launched

The launch of a dredging vessel in Kiribati illustrates the EU's commitment to supporting Kiribati in its efforts to achieve sustainable development, while addressing its vulnerability to climate change.

"Today's launching paves the way for this pioneering project's success by allowing i-Kiribati people access to a local, environmentally-safe source of construction material. Kiribati sets an example to be replicated by all small islands states", European Commissioner for Development, Mr Andris Piebalgs said in launching the vessel.

Mr Pielbags launched the vessel along with Mr Tom Murdoch, the Kiribati Minister of Finance and Economic Development, and M. Michael Petterson, Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Applied Geoscience Division.

Kiribati Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Murdoch said: ‘’The people of Kiribati appreciate very much the continuous support provided by the European Union. The EU is a key player in Kiribati and the Government and people of Kiribati will continue to value our close relationship’’.

The SPC's Michael Petterson added: “The European Union is to be congratulated for helping SPC develop a project that can alleviate negative environmental impacts and provide not only alternative lagoon sources of sand but also provide sustainable, high quality employment for Kiribati people”.

The EUR 5.2 million (AUD 7.7 million) 'Environmentally Safe Aggregates to Tarawa' project is funded by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). By protecting the vulnerable beaches of South Tarawa, where 60 percent of the I-Kiribati people live, the project addresses risks associated with climate change and damages caused by aggregates mining. It does this through the provision of an alternative supply of appropriately sourced material to meet South Tarawa’s growing aggregates demand.

(ENDS)

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