National adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs) provide a process for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to identify priority activities that respond to their urgent and immediate needs to adapt to climate change – those for which further delay would increase vulnerability and/or costs at a later stage.Kiribati is one of the most vulnerable countries to the adverse impacts of climate change. The atolls of Kiribati rise 3-4 metres above mean sea level and are an average of a few hundred metres wide. These atolls are the home of nearly 90,000 Kiribati people with their distinct culture. Inundation and erosion destroy key areas of land, and storm surges contaminate the fresh groundwater lens which is vital for survival. An economic evaluation of the costs of climate change related risks has been estimated to be 35% of Kiribati GDP. The estimate takes into account only the potential impacts of climate change on coastal zone (US$7-$13 million a year) and water resources (US$1-$3 million a year). In 1998 the GDP was US$47 million (WB,2000). The experience of implementing the two projects on adaptation gave rise to the need to have a policy statement and a strategy on adaptation. This policy statement stresses that Kiribati needs to be prepared for adaptation, piloting small scale adaptation projects, and collecting data useful for designing adaptation measures that achieve climate proofing aims. NAPA is consistent with this policy and intends to make visible adaptation efforts through undertaking work on upgrading and protection of essential physical assets that are increasingly being exposed to risks of climate change impacts, particularly from droughts, storm surges, storm variability and sea level rise.
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