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European Union External Action

Kiribati and the EU

The EU's partnership with Kiribati began in 1979.

Key issues

  • Climate change (deterioration of coastal zones)
  • Need for clean water
  • Energy and fisheries.
  • Access to social services (health, education) water and sanitation – especially in the outer islands. Less than half the population have access to safe drinking water and sanitation. 

Development cooperation

All EU funding aims to improve living conditions in the outer islands (reducing the socio-economic imbalance between urban and rural areas) and increase climate change resilience.

Past EU assistance

Ongoing projects under the European Development Fund, focusing on renewable energy and water and sanitation

  • Water & Sanitation project in Kiribati's Outer Islands
  • Improving Drinking Water Supply in Kiritimati Island
    Both seek to increase access to safe drinking water and appropriate sanitation facilities. Water tanks and rainwater harvesting facilities were installed in the 16 outer islands, while community awareness raising on sanitation issues has led to more than 10 islands being declared open-defecation free zones, with an immediate positive impact on public health.
  • Solar Energy for Outer Islands
    Aims to increase the energy security of rural communities, in particular schools, students and teachers. Solar equipment has been installed in all 16 outer islands, with schools among the first to benefit.
  • Environmentally Safe Aggregates to Tarawa (ESAT)
    Provides an alternative construction material and removes the incentive for beach mining. A dredging barge was built and started operating in 2014, while a company was set up to ensure long-term sustainability of the project.

Regional funding

In addition to these projects, Kiribati benefits from regional projects in fisheries, disaster risk management and climate change, deep-sea minerals, tourism and trade.

Current EU assistance

Funding under the EDF – up to €23 million in 2014-20 – continues the focus on  developing the outer islands, especially Kiritimati, specifically:

  • developing and implementing a Kiritimati Comprehensive Development Plan (Phase I)
  • reinforcing Kiribati's capacities in public finance management.  

Phase I has already started, with the successful recruitment in June 2015 of a team of i-Kiribati national and international experts to develop the Line and Phoenix Integrated Development Strategy (the re-named Kiritimati Comprehensive Development Plan).

Funding for 2014-20 under the EDF


Indicative funding
(€ million)

As a % of the total

Supporting the inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development of Kiritimati Island



Measures for civil society included in the support measures

Support measures






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