Environment and Global Climate Change

Populations in several small island chains in Papua New Guinea are in the process of being resettled as they are uniquely vulnerable to the ravages of climate change and the increased frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones, along with rising sea levels. Papua New Guinea is the world’s ninth-largest greenhouse gas emitter primarily resulting from deforestation and forest degradation. Enhancing climate resiliency and adapting to the effects of climate change will be a key determinant in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu’s development economically, politically and socially. Addressing the negative impacts of sea-level rise, especially on food and water security, and preserving biodiversity are part of an approach that recognizes the numerous interrelated challenges facing the region.

The U.S. Government has made the Pacific a strategic focus by expanding bilateral and multilateral climate change–related assistance to the region. USAID is focusing on climate change programs to improve the ability of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) to formulate and implement policies. We will assist the PSIDS to implement effective on-the-ground adaptation initiatives to strengthen communities’ resilience to climate change. Specifically, USAID’s climate change programs will address the region’s most urgent issues: food and water security, management of important and vulnerable coastal resources, and strengthening of disaster preparedness efforts.

  • USAID supported a vulnerability assessment for 28 communities in the Solomon Islands Province of Choiseul, conducted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, in coordination with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Government of the Solomon Islands, and other development partners. The results of the vulnerability assessment will influence the types of adaptation activities to be implemented by stakeholders.
  • USAID is addressing car wrecks in Kiribati through an end-of-life (EOL) vehicle cleanup project. A public campaign runs for several weeks prior to the first collections to tell the public about the collections project, and encourage people to identify wrecks for collection.
  • USAID supported the opening of the Bikenibeu landfill in Kiribati. The empty landfill had not been used for many years due to uncertainty around the large quantity of water inside it. As a result of efforts by the solid waste management initiative last year, a regime has been developed for landfill operations that will ensure that the landfill does not cause pollution, while accepting household waste from the eastern half of South Tarawa not previously serviced by a purpose built landfill.
  • USAID supported a “Green Bag” household garbage collection system, which has been running for five months in Kiribati and is showing a steady increase in numbers, from around 350 bags a week after the first month to now 1,300 per week, including those collected by council trucks.

Last updated: October 28, 2013

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