18 November 2016
On the 8th November 2016 the Land Planning Team at Kiribati’s Ministry for Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development held a public celebration in South Tarawa, Kiribati to recognise World Town Planning Day.
Kiribati is a small island nation in the central Pacific Ocean comprised of 33 low-lying coral atoll islands and one raised coral island. It has a population of 110,000, more than 50% of whom live in the capital of South Tarawa where the population density exceeds that of Auckland or Sydney. Land planning is crucial as a growing urban population, limited land area and sea level rise are resulting in land scarcity, conflicts and growing challenges for water and sanitation.
NZPI member Emma O’Neill is on a Volunteer Service Abroad New Zealand (VSA) assignment as a Land Management Systems Advisor with the Kiribati Ministry for Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development. Emma’s role is to help build capacity in the Land Management Division, working in particular with the planning and land administration staff.
Community understanding of the importance of planning is limited in Kiribati, so the event was a great opportunity for the planning team to work together with other stakeholders from across government to raise community awareness. A local drama group was engaged to present a series of drama and musical events about planning issues which were presented to a large crowd of community members, and the team worked to create a series of posters, fact sheets and brochures that will continue to be useful for building understanding of the importance of land planning.
As well as engaging the community, working with the team on the World Town Planning Day event provided an opportunity to develop skills in project planning, collaboration and budgeting. It also provided an opportunity to showcase progress towards the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, in particular Goal #11: Sustainable cities and communities.
The event was a great success and the team is committed to making World Town Planning Day an annual celebration in Kiribati.
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