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Traditional Kiribati beliefs about environmental issues and its impacts on rural and urban communities

Ruiti Aretaake (Department of Community Development, Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific Kiribati, Tarawa, Kiribati)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 2 October 2018

Issue publication date: 22 January 2019




The purpose of this paper is to report how the encouragement of collaboration between local stakeholders, communities and the government helps slow the great impact of disaster risks and the impacts of climate change on livelihoods and lives. It also describes how promoting the acceptance and contributions of traditional knowledge in this effort owing to their accessibility and affordability and their cultural compatibility with the community contributes to addressing the challenges in Kiribati faces.


Drawing on government and NGO reports, as well as other documentary sources, this paper examines the nature of current efforts and the state of community practices in Kiribati.


Disaster risks and climate change are currently destroying all facets of I-Kiribati life. It is, therefore, imperative that a holistic form of partnership bringing together both state and non-state actors and that through this community awareness be implemented within the Kiribati policies and community development programs to improve dissemination of prevention and risk reduction programs, while maintaining the cultural infrastructure.

Social implications

Access to modern technologies and factors which inhibit local utilization of natural resources as well as traditional Kiribati beliefs about environment issues and impacts on people illustrate the potential and difficulties of convergence of new ideas with traditional knowledge.


The Kiribati “Frontline” project is an activity which has been led by the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific Kiribati, both stimulated and in part subsidized by the Global Network for Disaster Reduction that provided financial support to work with rural and urban communities on mitigating disaster risks and climate change issues.



Aretaake, R. (2019), "Traditional Kiribati beliefs about environmental issues and its impacts on rural and urban communities", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 25-32.



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