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March 26, 2013

Kiribati acquires international funding for solar power

Kiribati acquires international funding for solar power

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Environment
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Solar panel installation in the United States
Image: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Last Tuesday, AusAID Australia and the World Bank’s Global Environment Fund (GEF) reached an agreement to give the government of Kiribati US$5 million (AU$4,779,000, NZ$5,985,000, 3,885,000) to install solar panels around the country capital, located on the Tarawa atoll. According to Business Desk of the Brunei Times, AusAID promised AU$3.2 million in funding, while GEF promised US$1 million. The country was the first in the Pacific to make a deal with the World Bank.

The funding was part of a US$530 million (NZ$635 million) package announced at yesterday’s Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland involving New Zealand and the European Union, Australia, the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the World Bank Group, and the United Arab Emirates. Also at the summit yesterday, New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully had announced a national commitment of USD$54,262,000 (AU$51,861,000 NZ$65 million, €42,178,000) to Pacific region energy solutions, of which US$8,348,000 (AU$8 million, NZ$10 million, €6,483,000) would be specifically earmarked for renewable energy and improved energy efficiency in the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu.

A small school maneaba (equivalent to a school hall) in Nabeina, North Tarawa, Kiribati
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Kiribati is heavily dependent on diesel fuel for most of the energy available on the national power grid, which supplies power to half Kiribati’s population of 110,000. In addition, a third of the country’s population lacks access to electricity. Once installation of the solar panels is complete, they are estimated to reduce diesel consumption by 230,000 liters (60,760 gallons) a year and give access to the electricity to some parts of the population that currently have no electricity. The European Union already has committed €100 million to sustainable energy in the region, with €10 million of that coming as a result of an announcement made last week.

In a press release about the news, Kiribati President Anote Tong was quoted as saying, “Kiribati faces big challenges it is remote, it is at risk from the effects of climate change, and it is vulnerable to economic shocks. […] Shifting Kiribati’s focus to reliable solar energy will provide a more secure, more sustainable power source for the country’s people.” Radio New Zealand International quoted Tong as saying, “It’s the first time we are doing this. We’re excited at the prospect of even substituting fossil fuel to a small extent at this stage. What the system being envisaged will only produce around 500 kilowatts, but this is the beginning of what I hope will be a pattern, the trend in the future.”

The European Union’s Fiji-based head of operations for the Pacific region, Renato Mele, supported alternative energy solutions like solar power for the region, but said that solar power had limitations because climate and environmental conditions sometimes meant batteries required to power the panels had a life of only 12 months, compared to other climates where batteries normally last five years. This created the potential to drive up standard operating costs. Mele has also noted these additional costs though are still lower than the cost of diesel power.

One News Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver noted, “Governments will be able to put the money they (currently) spend on diesel into things like education and health.”



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May 11, 2011

World Bank gives Kiribati emergency aid

World Bank gives Kiribati emergency aid – Wikinews, the free news source

World Bank gives Kiribati emergency aid

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kiribati is a Pacific nation of numerous low-lying islands
Image: Wikimedia Commons user Tauʻolunga, 2009.

Kiribati, one of the world’s most isolated nations, has received US$2 million in emergency food aid from the World Bank. Lying on the equator, the South Pacific country hosts some of the least developed communities in the world, with few natural resources and relying heavily on imports.

As the global food crisis pushes food prices through the roof, the people of this isolated region are struggling to cope, spending half of their income on food. The World Bank grant will provide emergency aid to 60,000 people, approximately 60 percent of the population.

Little skilled workforce and being so geographically isolated has hindered the country’s exports, with foreign aid and tourism each contributing one fifth of the area’s finances. Kiribati’s government and the World Bank struck the deal at the annual Asian Development Bank meeting in Hanoi, securing emergency food grants and developing programmes in environmental sustainability.

This is the second recent grant to Kiribati from the World Bank following a US$20 million allowance given in March to devise applications to deal with the effects of climate change.



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August 5, 2010

21 sites added to Unesco World Heritage list

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bagrati Cathedral.
Image: Kober.

Unesco’s World Heritage Committee inscribed 21 new sites into the World Heritage list on Wednesday, during the 34th session of the committee’s meeting in Brasilia, Brazil under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Culture of Brazil, João Luiz da Silva Ferreira.

Three countries had sites added to the list for the first time: Tajikistan, Kiribati, and Marshall Islands. The Committee added four sites to the World Heritage in Danger list, including the Gelati Monastery and Bagrati Cathedral, both in Georgia. The Galapagos (Ecuador) were removed from this list.

Some of the newly included World Heritages are: Papahānaumokuākea (United States), el Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Mexico), and São Francisco square (Brazil).

Unesco World Heritage sites have special cultural or physical significance as a place or region. Unesco conserves, names, and catalogues these sites for the common heritage of humanity. Italy ranks as the country with the most World Heritage sites, having 45 in total.

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September 7, 2005

UN holding recruitment exams in under-represented countries

UN holding recruitment exams in under-represented countries

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005

In order to find P-2 level officers for the United Nations Secretariat, the international organization is holding competitive recruitment competitions in 42 countries. The examinations will take place in February, 2006.

Six occupational groups are being sought: Architecture, Demography, Library, Security, Science and Technology, and Statistics. There will be a written examination (both a general paper and a specialised paper) and an interview.

The written examination questions are given in English and French, the two working languages of the Secretariat. Candidates must write their answers for the general paper in English or French. However, they may write their answers for the specialized paper in English, French, or any of the other four official languages of the Secretariat, i.e., Arabic, Chinese, Russian, or Spanish.

The examinations will take place on February 28, 2006 in New York, Addis Ababa, Andorra La Vella, Athens, Bangkok, Beirut, Geneva, Monaco, Nairobi, Santiago, Vaduz, Valletta, and Vienna.

According to the UN, applicants “should hold at least a first-level university degree relevant to the occupational group in which they would like to take the examination. Furthermore, applicants should not be more than 32 years old on 31 December, 2006 … Fluency in either English or French is required.”

The following countries have been selected for the 2006 competition: Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Saudi Arabia, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Cabo Verde, Comores, Republic of Korea, Gambia, Japan, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Equatorial Guinea, Israel, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Malta, San Marino, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Norway, Oman, Panama, Portugal, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tonga, Tuvalu, USA, and Vietnam.

The practice of scouting under-represented nations for highly-qualified employees is an annual occurrence.

The United Nations Secretariat is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and it is headed by the United Nations Secretary General and assisted by a staff of international civil servants worldwide. It provides studies, information, and facilities needed by United Nations bodies for their meetings. It also carries out tasks as directed by the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly, the UN Economic and Social Council, and other UN bodies. The United Nations Charter provides that the staff be chosen by application of the “highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity,” with due regard for the importance of recruiting on a wide geographical basis.

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