Hope amidst Kiribati water crisis, but international help is needed

RNZ Pacific reports Kiribati has the highest infant mortality rates in the Pacific linked directly to unsafe drinking water, according to Childfund.

The country has very low ground water which is contaminated by salt and rubbish. Climate change is making it worse with rising sea water, periods of drought and sporadic rains.

Micronesian Games delayed due to issues with facilities

It's the second time the Games have had to be postponed with the event due to take place in July-August 2022 pulled due to ongoing uncertainty about covid-19 and restricted travel in the region.

In a letter to member island nations of the council, secretary general Joey Miranda said that after recommendations from the Marshall Islands government and other stakeholders involved, they concluded that the quadrennial event can't be delivered on the July 2023 date.

'Hardly any rain' for Kiribati island in nearly two years says MP

The Kiribati government in June last year declared a state of disaster, after the discovery of high salinity levels in monitoring wells and very low rainfall.

RNZ Pacific reports Teima Onorio said the drought had been harsh to the island's about 1000 residents, and they needed a lot of help.

Still work to do as Kiribati rejoins Forum - Academic

The Micronesian country's shock withdrawal in July last year rocked the foundations of Pacific regionalism and raised questions about the power dynamics and politics within the Pacific Islands Forum.

In a statement on Monday, the Kiribati government confirmed the nation would be returning to the fold.

Fiji PM says Kiribati set to rejoin Pacific Islands Forum

Forum Chair, the Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, said his office has received a letter confirming this intention from the Kiribati President, Taneti Maamau.

Rabuka visited Kiribati just over a week ago, on his first official overseas visit since taking office.

At the time he said bringing Kiribati back into the Forum was the visit's overall objective.

Fiji leader feels he has repaired Pacific-Kiribati relations

On Friday, Rabuka led a high-level delegation to Tarawa - and key on the agenda was Kiribati's membership of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Kiribati's withdrawal from the Forum last July fractured regional unity and solidarity.

President Taneti Maamau refused to attend the annual Leaders' gathering in Suva due to what he claimed was failure by the PIF to address concerns of equity, equality and inclusiveness in a number of key decisions including the appointment of the current Secretary General.

Rabuka's first trip overseas to be to Kiribati

The Kiribati government has confirmed that Rabuka will lead a delegation to the Micronesian nation on Friday.

It said the request for the visit was made by the Fiji government as part of its official engagements overseas.

Kiribati residents have been urged to "clean their villages" to keep the capital Tarawa "beautiful and clean" before the Fiji delegation visits.


NZ Immigration improves visa conditions for Pacific Island Forum Countries

“Previously, visa conditions were granted specific to the individual’s circumstances for travel, and therefore varied. Following requests from Pacific nations we recognise the need to consider consistent visa conditions for frequent travellers.

The changes for officials and diplomats recognise the need to provide greater consistency to our Pacific Island Forum Country and Kiribati counterparts with visa validity conditions and assurance of our commitment to an efficient process,” says Minister Woods.

Kiribati removes pre-departure Covid-19 test for international travelers

A statement from the Office of the President said all incoming passengers are instead required to visit local health clinics on South Tarawa and Betio, two or three days after arrival.

It said pre-departure Covid-19 test for inter-island travel has also been removed.

According to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the number of daily Covid infections continue to decline. It said the Omicron B2 has arrived in the country with very few people infected by it.

Empty seats mark first Pacific Islands Forum summit meeting

Prime ministers from Australia and Papua New Guinea are expected to fly into Suva tonight, however the empty seats with Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Nauru name tags will not be filled.

This morning's meeting for leaders, observers and associate members was opened by Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama, who acknowledged the 'breakdown in communication' with the Micronesian bloc.

He called on the leaders to remember the necessity of re-establishing "our family bonds".