Nauru

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Capital: Yaren
Land: 21 sq. km
EEZ: 320,000 sq. km
Population: 9,233 (2006)
Language: English, Nauruan
Currency: Australian Dollar
Economy: Phosphate

The Republic of Nauru is one of the smallest independent, democratic states in the world. It is  a  republic  with  a  Westminster  parliamentary  system  of  government  but  with  a  slight variance as the President is both head of government and head of state. The island is small, isolated, coral capped with 21 km2 in area, 20 km in circumference, located in the central Pacific  Ocean 42 km south of the equator and 1287 km west of the International Date Line. Ocean Island (Banaba) is its nearest neighbour.

Nauru  is  a  small  single  oval-shaped  and  raised  coral  equatorial  island,  located  about  40 kilometres (km) south of the Equator at 0° 32’ 0” S, 166° 55’ 0” E. Its total land area is 21 square kilometres (km2) with an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 320 000 km2. The island is divided into two plateau areas  – “bottom side” a few metres above sea level, and “topside” typically  30  metres  higher.  The  topside  area  is  dominated  by  pinnacles  and  outcrops  of limestone, the result of nearly a century of mining of the high-grade tricalcic phosphate rock. The  bottom  side  consists  of  a  narrow  coastal  plain  that  is  150  –  300  m  wide  as  well  as surrounded by coral reef, which is exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The bottom side is the residential area for the Nauru populace. The highest point of the island is 65m above sea level. The island lies to the west of Kiribati; to the east of Papua New Guinea (PNG); to the south of the Marshal Islands and to the north of the Solomon Islands.

The climate is equatorial and maritime in nature. There have been no cyclones on record. Although rainfall averages 2 080 mm per year, periodic droughts are a serious problem with only 280 mm of rainfall in the driest year recorded. Land biodiversity is limited, with only 60 species of indigenous vascular plants. A century of mining activity in the interior has resulted in the drainage of large quantities of silt and soil onto the reef, which has greatly reduced the productivity and diversity of reef life. Sewage is dumped into the ocean just beyond the reef, causing  further  environmental  problems,  while  the  island’s  many  poorly  maintained  septic tanks  have contaminated the ground water. Access to fresh water is thus a serious problem on  Nauru  with  potable  water  coming  only  from  rainwater  collection  and  reverse  osmosis desalination plants. These desalination plants used around 30% of the energy generated by Nauru Utility Corporation (NUC) in 2008.

The main driver of climate variability in Nauru is the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). La Niña events are associated with delayed onset of the wet season and drier than normal wet seasons, often resulting in an extended drought. During El Niño, temperatures on Nauru are warmer  than  normal  due  to  warmer  sea  temperatures;  and  rainfall  and  cloud  amount  are increased.  Another  key  climate  driver  for  Nauru  is  the  Inter-tropical  Convergence  Zone (ITCZ). The ITCZ affects Nauru all year round. Its seasonal north/south movement drives the seasonal  rainfall  cycle,  which  peaks  in  Dec-Feb.  The  South  Pacific  Convergence  Zone (SPCZ) affects Nauru during its maximum northward displacement in July and August.

The 2012 census shows a population of 9,945 persons of whom 90.8% are ethnic Nauruan. The  population  has  fallen  since  2002  mainly  due  to  a  fall  in  the  number  of  expatriate workers,  mostly  from  Kiribati  and  Tuvalu,  who  began  leaving  Nauru  as  the  island’s phosphate production dwindled. The main economic sector used to be the mining and export of phosphate, which is now virtually exhausted. The island has been mined extensively in the past for phosphate. Few other resources exist and most necessities are imported from Australia. Small scale subsistence agriculture exists within the island communities.

Nauru is faced with serious economic challenges. Its once thriving phosphate industry has ceased  operation  thus  depriving  Nauru  of  its  major  lifeline  revenue  source.  The local infrastructure,  including  power  generation,  drinking  water  and  health  services,  has  been adversely  affected  in  recent  years  by  the  decline  in  income  from  phosphate  mining. However,  further  explorations  of  the  residual  phosphate  deposits  have  raised  hopes  that there may be potential to keep the phosphate mining for yet sometime. With fewer prospects in the phosphate industry, Nauru has to look at other alternative revenue sources to support its economic development. Unfortunately, for a country of the size of Nauru (21 km2) with its limited natural resources, the options are not many.

Fresh  water  is  also  a  serious  problem  on  Nauru  with  potable  water  coming  only  from rainwater collection and reverse osmosis desalination plants. Nauru is a permeable island with very little surface runoff and no rivers or reservoirs.  Potable water is collected in rainwater tanks from the roofs of domestic and commercial buildings. Water for non -potable uses is obtained from domestic bores at houses around the island. Shallow groundwater is the major storage for water between rainy seasons.  There  is  increasing  salinity  in  the groundwater  bores  around  the  perimeter  of  the  island,  and  increasing  demand  for groundwater  water  due  to  development.  Groundwater is contaminated by wastewater disposal from houses, shops, commercial buildings and RPC. Nauru  now  is  highly  dependent  on  donor  support  especially  from  Australia,  Japan,  New Zealand  and  Taiwan  (ROC).  It  is  important  that  Nauru  develops  and  strengthens  its partnership  arrangements  with  the  above  countries  to  be  able  to  meet  the  goals  of  its national development strategies which have identified key areas to be targeted in order to achieve some degree of economic stability.

The  Government  has  prioritized  reforms  in  the  electricity  and  water  sectors  and  in  the management  of  fuel.  With  the  recent  adoption  of  its  National  Energy  Policy  additional legislation  will  be  developed  as  required  to  provide  a  clear  and  practical  path  towards sustainable development.

 

Source: ©SPC, 2013.

Date updated: March 2016 

National Climate Change Priorities

The National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) is Nauru’s key document to development.  The  overall  impact  that  the  NSDS  seeks  to  make  is  captured  in  the  peoples vision for development and is stated as “a future where individual, community, business and government partnerships contribute to a sustainable quality of life for all Nauruans”. Following the review of the NSDS in 2009, climate change was included as one of the key elements to be addressed under the ‘Environment’ strategy. It is worth noting the areas that have been ‘significantly strengthened’ also have relevance to effectively addressing climate change in Nauru are:

SDS Areas strengthened in the 2009 review

New strategies and milestones

Environment

  • Building resilience to climate change
  • Comprehensive  law on Environmental Management, including Environment Impact guidelines

Gender

  • Addressing gender issues in various sectors

Community Development

  • Improving community involvement in development process
  • Strengthen culture and traditions of Nauru

Youth

Law and Justice

  • Targeting young people
  • Addressing gender-based violence

Land issues

  • Land management
  • Land-use plans

Fisheries

 

The NSDS identifies six key priorities or strategies designed to address its ‘Environment’ Strategic Area.  While all strategies contribute to achieving adaptation and mitigation efforts to climate change, Nauru specifies two priorities for climate change and includes:

  • Develop locally-tailored approaches and initiatives to mitigate the causes of climate change and adapt to its impacts; and
  • Enhance resilience to climate change impacts

The Republic of Nauru Framework for Climate Change Adaptation  and  Disaster  Risk  Reduction  (RONAdapt)  –  represents  the  Government  of Nauru’s  response  to  the  risks  to  sustainable  development  posed  by  climate  change  and disasters.  RONAdapt  is  intended  to  support  progress  towards  the  country’s  national development priorities and the goal of environmental sustainability, by ensuring that a focus on  reducing  vulnerabilities  and  risks  is  incorporated  into  planning  and  activities  across  all sectors of the economy and society. The priorities outlined in the RONAdapt are intended to contribute to the achievement of the National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) and to increasing Nauru’s resilience to climate change and disasters, by targeting the following goals:

  1. Water security
  2. Energy security
  3. Food security
  4. A healthy environment
  5. A healthy people
  6. Productive, secure land resources.

From a disaster perspective, the key water concern in Nauru is drought, and loss of secure water for key services such as the hospital. During periods where there is little or no rain for more  than  3  months,  Nauru’s  water  supply  situation  deteriorates  dramatically,  and production capacity becomes stressed. If the RO units break down during drought periods, Nauru faces a social and health disaster.

Enhancing  water  security  is  therefore  both  a  key  national  development  priority  and  also fundamental  to  reducing  vulnerability  to  climate  change  and  to  potential  disaster  events. Under the water sector, there are also some important policy and planning gaps that need to be filled.

Major health issues in Nauru include non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and water-borne illnesses.  Nauru  has  very  high  rates  of  NCDs  including  cardiovascular  disease,  diabetes, cancer and respiratory diseases.

Nauru’s  small  population  and  distance  from  other  countries  also  presents  challenges  in providing  quality,  cost  effective  health  care.  Supply  lines  are  not  always  reliable,  key services  such  as  water  and  energy  are  at  times  disrupted,  and  health  infrastructure (including both  hospitals) are subject to coastal flooding risks.  Lack of local capacity is an additional constraint to improved health outcomes.

Climate change and extreme events are anticipated to introduce additional stresses, both to community health as well as to the functioning of the health care system.  There is a need to build local capacity of the health sector to prepare and cope with adverse effects of climate change and vulnerability of disasters.

Food insecurity is a major risk for Nauru, given the island’s dependence on imported foods and its geographic isolation. This situation is also closely linked with health problems such as the prevalence of NCDs, and is exacerbated by government debt and household income levels which make imported foods expensive and supply unsteady.  For these reasons, agricultural development is targeted by the NSDS as a priority.

Agricultural production is relatively small at present, and is constrained by limited availability of suitable land and water, and by limited expertise and interest in growing food and raising livestock. The island’s soil is relatively infertile and has poor water holding capacity while in some areas is also contaminated. In addition, the land tenure system means land ownership is  fragmented  and  little  is  publicly  owned,  which  increases  the  complexity  of  land management. What little fertile land remains untouched by mining is in the coastal strip, and thus in small parcels around houses.

Climate  change  adds  to  the  already  significant  challenge  of  attaining  the  NSDS  goal  of increasing domestic agricultural production.  Despite these constraints, there is potential to increase  agriculture  production  and  productivity,  and  in  doing  so  strengthen  food security and  improve  livelihoods  and  health,  thus  contributing  to  Nauru’s  efforts  to  reduce vulnerability to future climate change.

The Division of Agriculture under department of CIE has primary responsibility for supporting agricultural  development  from  subsistence  to  small  scale  farming,  and  is  the  lead  agency responsible for overseeing implementation of the agriculture sector’s priority CCA and DRR actions. The  institutional  and  human  capacity  available  in  Nauru  to  support  and  expand agricultural development is limited and needs to be expanded.

Fisheries  are  a  critically  important  resource  in  Nauru,  contributing  to  food  security  and cultural practices (particularly in low income households) as well as providing an important source of foreign revenue for government.

Climate change is also expected to affect fisheries. Nauru lies within the Pacific Equatorial Divergence (PEQD) and the Western Pacific Warm Pool (Warm Pool) provinces, depending on the prevailing El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions.  Climate change is projected  to  increase  sea  surface  temperatures,  sea  levels,  ocean  acidification  and  to change ocean currents. These effects will, in turn, impact on Nauru’s fisheries resources.

The  Nauru  Fisheries  and  Marine  Resource  Management  Authority  (NFMRA),  a  statutory corporation  under  the  Nauru  Fisheries  and  Marine  Resources  Authority  Act  1997,  is responsible for fisheries  management  including overseeing,  managing  and  developing  the country’s natural marine resources and environment.

The  practice  of  Disaster  Management  (DM)  and  Emergency  Response  (ER)  implies strengthening preparedness, response and recovery systems for potential extreme events or disaster scenarios.  Oversight  of  DRM  activities  lies  with  the  NDRMO  (which  resides  with CIE), supported  by  high-level  guidance  from  the  National  Disaster  Risk  Management Council. Coordination of emergency response is at present the responsibility of the Police department.  There  are  some  important  policy  and  planning  gaps  that  need  to  be  filled  to strengthen disaster management and emergency response.

The energy sector can play a critical role in helping to improve Nauru’s coping and adaptive capacities  with  respect  to  climate  change,  and  to  development  goals  generally.  Energy services  provide  a  tool  for  reducing  vulnerability  through,  for  instance,  economic empowerment and the delivery of health and education services.

Electricity  production  is  currently  reliant  on  imported  diesel,  and  thus  places  a  significant burden  on  the  government’s  limited  financial  resources.  Import-dependency also creates supply risks. Further,  energy  production is closely linked to water production,  since  the reverse  osmosis  desalination  units  are  energy  intensive.  At  the  same  time,  energy infrastructure is located in the coastal strip, and thus susceptible to particular  climate  and disaster risks which need to be considered in future planning.

From a disaster perspective, a key concern is the potential for outbreak of fire at the tank farm area. The fire protection system at the tank farm is presently not functioning, and is also not  of  sufficient  capacity  to  extinguish  a  major  fire.  Such  an  event  would  have  major implications  for  provision  of  energy  to  the  island,  both  during  the  disruption  and  for  quite some  time  after  given  limited  alternative  infrastructure  available  should  the  facility  be destroyed.  The  possibility  of  energy  shortages,  arising  from  for  instance  fuel  supply disruptions and/or problems with the power station, is also a critical concern.

The Energy Roadmap endorsed by the government in 2014 sets out strategies and activities in  six  thematic  areas,  namely:  power,  petroleum,  renewable  energy,  demand  side  energy efficiencytransport,  and  institutional  strengthening  and  capacity  building.  Progress implementing the Roadmap will contribute directly towards helping Nauru adapt to climate change and reduce disaster risks.  The Energy Roadmap identifies a swathe of institutional strengthening activities for the sector.

Land is a scare resource in Nauru and much of the island has already been degraded by mining activities, which are ongoing.  A related issue is that of waste collection, disposal and management. The dump site has very little available capacity, and is being further stressed by  the  large  quantities  of  waste  (mainly  plastics)  generated  by  the  RPC.  Moreover, the existing dump site is not lined, leading to concerns about possible migration of contaminated leachate into Buada lagoon.

At present Nauru has no endorsed land use plan to guide development decisions. Land use planning is critical to, for instance, ensure that future infrastructure investments are coherent with the visions and needs of all of Nauru’s communities.  Preparation and endorsement of a Nauru Land Use Plan  (broadening the Master Land Use Plan proposed for Topside to focus also on Nauru’s coastal areas) which integrates climate and disaster risks.

As highlighted by the NSDS, strategic infrastructure can play an important role in improving economic  productivity  and/or  reducing  community  vulnerability,  and  thus  in  making  Nauru more  resilient.  The  2011  Nauru  Economic  Infrastructure  Strategy  and  Investment  Plan (NEISIP)  identifies  the  government’s  needs  and  immediate  priorities  in  the  infrastructure sector,  focusing  on  short  and  medium  term  needs  relating  to  transportwatersanitation, waste management, telecommunications and government buildings (including schools and hospitals).

Infrastructure needs to be designed and managed with future conditions in mind, sometimes referred to as being “climate proofed” and able to withstand disaster events.  Sea level rise and  associated  coastal  erosion,  flooding  during  extreme  rainfall  events,  storm  surge  and fires are hazards that may threaten vital infrastructure.

The  absence  of  an  over-arching  coastal  zone  management  plan  hinders  coordination between government agencies and communities regarding management of the coastal zone. There  is  also  presently  no  environmental  legislation  or  building  codes  that  govern development activities.

Develop  and  implement  an  Integrated  Coastal  Zone  Management  Plan  (ICZMP),  which integrates climate and disaster risks. Over time, this should be integrated as a component of a wider Nauru Land Use Plan.

Protection of scarce land and soil resources is an important issue for reducing environmental degradation  and  improving  the  overall  health  of  Nauru’s  environmental  resources,  as  is addressing water contamination.

Date updated: March 2016 

Governance

Nauru ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1993 and the Kyoto Protocol in 2001. The Government has taken concrete steps to ensure compliance with the obligations under these international conventions. The country’s First National Communication was submitted to the UNFCCC in 1999, and its Second National Communication is under development. Nauru also participates in regional climate change meetings, including of the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable which monitors the implementation of the Pacific Island Framework for Action on Climate Change (PIFACC) providing the overall regional agenda for responding to the challenges of climate change.

In 2014, the Government of Nauru committed to the Small Islands Developing States Conference (SIDS) and actively participated in the development of the post-2015 cooperation framework for the Barbados Program of Action and Mauritius Strategy. Nauru has demonstrated this commitment through their current chairmanship of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) and their position on the United Nations Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mainstreaming DRR is an important government commitment, reflected in its endorsement of the Hyogo Framework for Action: 2005-2015 ‘Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters’ (HFA) and the Pacific Regional DRM Framework. Adopted by Nauru in 2005, the HFA is a 10-year plan that describes what is required from different sectors and actors to reduce disaster losses. The Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management Framework for Action 2005 - 2015 (RFA) was endorsed in October 2005. Adapted from the HFA, the RFA reflects an “all hazards” approach to disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management, in support of sustainable development.

As a response to these commitments, Nauru introduced the Disaster Risk Management Act 2008 and in 2010 established the National Disaster Risk Management Office (NDRMO) to coordinate day to day activities. A National Disaster Risk Management Plan was drafted in 2008, but has not been endorsed.

A number of development strategies and policy instruments as a response to climate change have  been  introduced  by  the  Government therefore since  2005  through  the  economic  reform programme.  These include the NSDS 2005-2025 (rev 2009); Nauru’s Utility Sector-A Strategy for  Reform;  National  Energy  Policy  Framework;  National  Energy  Roadmap  2014-2020; Nauru Utilities Cooperation Act and RONAdapt.

The responsibility  for  implementing  climate  change  adaptation  and  disaster  risk  reduction related  activities  is  shared  across  different  parts of  government  and  the  community. However,  at  the  operational  level,  the  Department  of  Environment  under  the  Ministry  of Commerce, Industry and Environment (CIE) has the primary responsibility for coordination, monitoring  progress  and  reporting  on  the  RONAdapt  implementation  of  Nauru’s climate change activities at all government department/sector levels. Strengthening coordination mechanisms such as ensuring ‘coordination policy committees for water, energy and climate change, and waste are effective and functional’ is a medium-term milestones targeted by the NSDS for Nauru to be implemented by 2015 under the Environment strategic area.

The  Government  of  Nauru  recognises  that  effective  institutions  and  the  inter-relationships between them are at the heart of its ability to respond  to growing climate and disaster risks. For this reason, the Department of Environment under the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment (CIE), Government of Republic of Nauru (GoN) has primary responsibility for coordination of Nauru’s climate change activities. CIE includes a Climate Change Unit as well as a National Disaster Risk Management (NDRM) Unit.

For more information, go to Nauru SNC Report

Date updated: March 2016 

Adaptation

Nauru established the RONAdapt as part of its national efforts to prepare for adaptation. The RONAdapt represents the Government of Nauru’s response to the  risks  to  climate  change  and  disaster  risk  reduction  and  is  therefore  aligned  with  the development priorities embedded in the NSDS. It is intended to support achievement of Nauru’s NSDS goals, by highlighting a series of actions that will also reduce Nauru’s vulnerability to climate change and disasters. In doing so, it will improve the country’s social, economic and environmental resilience.

Priority actions are given to those that will work towards the goals in the NSDS, as well as those  in  sectoral  plans  and  strategies  where  these  already  give  consideration  to  climate change and disaster risks. The priorities outlined targets the following goals:

Nauru  is  keen  to  improve  its resilience  which  has  been  severely compromised by nearly a century of intensive phosphate mining. One such improvement will be transition to untapped clean energy sources, such as renewable resources rather than relying on the traditional imported dirty liquid fuels.

The other pressing adaptation strategy is to improve the indigenous food supply and potable water availability and storage. In addition there  is  a  concurrent  need  to  rehabilitate  the  environment  and  improve  the  health  of  the population. 

Nauru’s priority climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction actions are summarised in thematic areas in the table below (adapted from the SNC Report, 2015):

SECTOR PRIORITY

STRATEGY

Water

  • Fill  information  gaps  and  increase  access  to  baseline information about the water sector
  • Increase water supply and storage capacity
  • Reduce  water  demand  through  appropriate  conservation
  • Measures
  • Rehabilitate and protect groundwater resources
  • Disaster and contingency management for water sector

Health

  • Fill  key  knowledge  and  awareness  gaps  to  reduce community  health  risks,  including  those  relating  to  the impacts of climate change
  • Reduce chronic health problems of the community
  • Expand environmental monitoring capacity
  • Build human capacity of health services
  • Secure  key  health  infrastructure  and  services  against extreme events

Agriculture

  • Improve water security for agricultural needs
  • Increase  household  engagement  with  agriculture  and livestock and improve grower skills and practices

Fisheries and marine Resources

  • Fill  knowledge  gaps  –  Identify  and  document  vulnerable fisheries and marine resources
  • Support  a  community  based  ecosystem  approach  to fisheries management (CEAFM)
  • Promote  aquaculture  as  an  important  contributor  to  food security that can reduce pressure on coastal fisheries
  • Strengthen  the  human  capacity  of  government  and community stakeholders

Disaster management and emergency response

  • Improve community preparedness and response systems
  • Fill  knowledge  gaps  and  ensure  equitable  access  to information

Energy

  • Reduce electricity demand for water
  • Expand renewable energy capacity
  • Reduce transport fuel use while ensuring mobility
  • Improve  local  capacity  for  managing  and  maintaining  a sustainable energy sector
  • Reduce risk of major fire outbreak at tank farm

Land management and rehabilitation

  • Increase availability and productivity of land resources
  • Improve  waste  management  to  reduce  land  degradation and contamination risks

Infrastructure and coastal protection

 

  • Reduce coastal risks to key infrastructure
  • Reduce flooding occurrence and intensity

Biodiversity and environment

 

  • Designate areas for conservation of biodiversity
  • Protection  of  flora  and  fauna,  through  control  of  invasive species

Community development

  • Take greater account of gender in planning
  • Implement  community  development  strategies  of  the Ministry  of  Home  Affairs,  relating  to  women  and  youth, family  services,  preservation  of  cultural  resources,  and livelihood development

Education and human development

  • Skills  transfer  to  local  Nauruans  during  development projects

 For detailed information on adaptation actions in Nauru, go to: Nauru SNC report.

Date updated: March 2016 

Current climate

Warming trends are evident in annual and half-year mean air temperatures for Pohnpei since 1951. The Yap mean air temperature trend shows little change for the same period.

Extreme temperatures such as Warm Days and Warm Nights have been increasing at Pohnpei consistent with global warming trends. Trends in minimum temperatures at Yap are not consistent with Pohnpei or global warming trends and may be due to unresolved in homogeneities in the record.

At Pohnpei, there has been a decreasing trend in May–October rainfall since 1950. This implies either a shift in the mean location of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) away from Pohnpei and/or a change in the intensity of rainfall associated with the ITCZ.

There has also been a decreasing trend in Very Wet Day rainfall at Pohnpei and Consecutive Dry Days at Yap since 1952. The remaining annual, half-year and extreme daily rainfall trends show little change at both sites.

Tropical cyclones (typhoons) affect the Nauru mainly between June and November. An average of 71 cyclones per decade developed within or crossed the Nauru’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) between the 1977 and 2011 seasons. Tropical cyclones were most frequent in El Niño years (88 cyclones per decade) and least frequent in La Niña years (38 cyclones per decade). The neutral season average is 84 cyclones per decade. Thirty-seven of the 212 tropical cyclones (17%) between the 1981 and 2011 seasons became severe events (Category 3 or stronger) in the Nauru’s EEZ. Available data are not suitable for assessing long-term trends.

Wind-waves in the Nauru are dominated by north-easterly trade winds and westerly monsoon winds seasonally, and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) inter-annually. There is little variation in wave climate between the eastern and western parts of the country; however Yap, in the west, has a more marked dependence on the El Niño–Southern Oscillation in June–September than Pohnpei, in the east. There is data that is available but are not suitable for assessing long-term trends. For more information see Section 4.3 of the NAURU chapter p67) under Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO (2014). Climate Variability, Extremes and Change in the Western Tropical Pacific: New Science and Updated Country Reports, Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning Program Technical Report, Australian Bureau of Meteorology and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Melbourne, Australia.

For detailed information, go to: Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, 2014.

Future climate

For the period to 2100, the latest global climate model (GCM) projections and climate science findings for NAURU indicate:

  • El Niño and La Niña events will continue to occur in the future (very high confidence), but there is little consensus on whether these events will change in intensity or frequency;

  • Annual mean temperatures and extremely high daily temperatures will continue to rise (very high confidence);

  • Average annual rainfall is projected to increase (medium confidence), with more extreme rain events (high confidence);

  • Drought frequency is projected to decrease (medium confidence);

  • Ocean acidification is expected to continue (very high confidence);

  • The risk of coral bleaching will increase in the future (very high confidence);

  • Sea level will continue to rise(very high confidence); and

  • Wave height is projected to decrease in December–March (low confidence), and waves may be more directed from the south in the June–September (low confidence)

For detailed information, go to: Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, 2014.

Date updated: March 2016 

Knowledge Management & Education

Nauru  is  making  various  efforts  and  prioritising  both  climate  change  mitigation  and adaptation as one of the core development issues. To address the capacity building issues, Nauru  in  association  with  various  development  partners  has  been  conducting  many  short term  capacity  development  training  programs  and  workshops  for  the  policy  makers, government  and  non-government  staffs,  students  and  local  population.  Both  government and  non-government  institutions  in  Nauru  have  effectively  stimulated  interest  and understanding  of  environmental  issues  through  workshops,  quiz  contests,  role-plays, theatre, radio, TV and Video shows.

Government of Nauru is seeking financial and infrastructure support to expand the capacity building and awareness raising at various levels. There are barriers in dissemination of the right information to the right target audience, alongside complications that can arise when specialised English terminology is used during consultation  and  awareness  programmes. The key issues, barriers and opportunities are discussed below:

  • The  capacity  building  and  public  awareness  program  and  activities  need  to  be focused  and  relevant  in  the  local  context.  Efforts should be focussed on making climate-change information available to a wider audience.
  • Topics related to global climate change needs to be incorporated in the curricula of primary and secondary schools and appropriate training of teachers in environmental education.
  • Provide  incentives  to  the  students  for  choosing  higher  education  in  environment, climate change and related development studies.
  • Provide support for environment and climate change higher education.
  • Start established institution for climate change & sustainable development
  • Creating  easy  access  to  climate  change  information  and  make  this  information available in local languages
  • Periodic assessment of impact and effectiveness of current awareness programmes should be undertaken.

For more information go to: SNC REPORT TO UNFCCC Portal.

Date updated: March 2016 

Mitigation

The Government of Nauru realises the difficulties in terms of mitigation and has adaptation to climate change as its top priority. In this  respect  a  transition  from  relying  on  imported  fossil  fuels  by  putting  in  place  an indigenous solar energy supply is also an adaptation strategy to become more resilient and has as a co-benefit, mitigation.

Nauru’s main mitigation contribution as outlined under the INDC (see section below) is to achieve the outcomes and targets under the National Energy Road Map (NERM), NSDS and recommendations under the SNC and is conditional on receiving adequate funding and resources

The  key  mitigation  intervention  is  to  replace  a  substantial  part  of  the  existing  diesel generation  with  a  large  scale  grid  connected  solar  photovoltaic  (PV)  system  which  would assist in reducing the emissions from fossil fuels. Concurrent to the above there needs to be put  in  place  extensive  demand  side  energy  management  improvements  which  will complement  the  PV  installation.  The demand management improvements are expected to reduce emissions by bringing down diesel consumption further.

The cost of these mitigation measures is likely to be around US$50 million ( US$ 42 million for  Solar  PV  and  US$  8  million  for  demand  side  energy  efficiency  measures)  with  some uncertainty  depending  on  the  storage  of  energy  either  as  electrical  (  battery)  or  thermal (chilled water) to account for the high night time electrical load on the island.  Due to somewhat higher phosphate extraction in past years Nauru’s emissions in 1990 were higher than at present and estimated to be around 80kt. If economic activity proceeds at the current pace the BAU estimate for 2030 emissions of CO2 only will also be around 80kt.

For information on mitigation projects in Nauru, go to "Related Projects" tab.

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions

Nauru’s mitigation contribution will be contingent on obtaining funding and technical assistance to put in place the energy transition and energy savings measures.

Time frame:

2020-2030

Type of Contribution

Conditional Reduction based on identified mitigation actions

To replace a substantial part of electricity generation with the existing diesel  operated  plants  with  a  large  scale  grid  connected  solar photovoltaic  (PV)  system  with  an  estimated  cost  of  42  million  US$ which would assist in reducing the emissions from fossil fuels.

 

Concurrent  to  the  above  there  needs  to  be  put  in  place  extensive demand  side  energy  management  improvements  with  an  estimated cost of 8 million US$ which will complement the PV  installation. The demand management improvements  are  expected to reduce emissions by bringing down diesel consumption further.

 

The conditional mitigation contribution discussed above would require a total investment estimated at $50 million USD including substantial technical, capacity building and logistical assistance due to the limited capacity on the island.

 

Unconditional Reduction

 

The  unconditional  contribution  includes  a  secured  funding  of  US$5 million  for  implementation  of  a  0.6  MW  solar  PV  system  which  is expected  to  assist  in  unconditional  reduction of CO2 emissions marginally. This initiative will be used as a model project for the larger Solar PV plant and in addition assist in terms of technology transfer and institutional learning.

Type of Reduction

Being  a  Small  Island  Development  State  and  a  developing  country with  lowest  total  emissions  in  the  world,  Nauru’s  mitigation contributions are non-GHG targets through implementation of conditional and unconditional policies, measures and actions. Nauru also  recognizes  that  mitigation  contributions  from  developed countries may be absolute economy-wide emissions reduction targets relative  to  a  base  year  while  the  developing  countries  can communicate policies, measures and actions departing from business as usual emissions.

Sectors

Sectoral  (energy  sector)  commitment  focussed  on  a  transition  to renewable  energy  in  the  electricity  generation  sector  and  energy efficiency through demand side management.

Gases

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

BAU Emissions

The expected trajectory in emissions is highly uncertain due to paucity of reliable data and uncertainties in economic activities on the island.   Contributing  factors  include  both  the  small  size  of  the economy  and  the  uncertainty  of  phosphate  extraction opportunities and  the  other  recently  commenced  activities  including  offshore banking and housing Australian bound refugees. An extrapolation of trends  in  the  last  three  years  suggests  economic  growth  of  around 2.2%  p.a. Of  concern  are  high  levels  of  expansion  in  the  electricity sector  with  growth  over  the  same  period  being  around  13%  p.a. Estimates, however, are that CO2emissions will increase from 57 kt p.a. in 2014 to close to 80 kt p.a. in 2030. The mitigation options are envisaged to assist in reducing CO2 emission levels by 2030. It is important to note that the BAU emission estimates are not accurate due to substantial gaps in data for the sectors.

Methodology

The baseline, BAU and mitigation scenario assessments was done using best available historical data entered into the GACMO model which uses IPCC 2006 guidelines and conversion factors. Where data was not available default factors in the software were used.

Planning Process

Nauru’s  INDC  originates  from  a  series  of  strategies,  policies  and assessments concerned with sustainability, environmental protection and  energy  supply  developed  or  commissioned  by  the  Government over  the  past  decade.  These  include:  National  Sustainable Development  Strategy  (NSDS)  2005  –  2025  (revised  in 2009),  The Nauru  Energy  Road  Map  2014-2020  and  The  Second  National Communication (SNC) to the UNFCCC (submitted in 2015). Further, Extensive consultations with all relevant stakeholders were held during the preparation of Nauru’s INDC.

Fairness, Equity and

Ambition

Although a very small nation with absolute levels ofCO2eq emissions under 0.0002 % of world emissions(2014), Nauru wishes to play its part  in  the  enormous  challenge  presented  to  the  world  by  threat  of global warming. In Nauru’s case the threat is to its very existence.

 

Nauru is also faced with serious economic challenges.  Its  once thriving  phosphate  industry  has  ceased  operation  thus  depriving Nauru  of  its  major  lifeline  revenue  source.  The local infrastructure, including power generation, drinking water and health services, has been adversely affected in recent years by the decline in income from phosphate mining. With  fewer  prospects  in  the  phosphate  industry, Nauru has to look at other alternative revenue sources to support its economic  development.  Unfortunately,  for  a  country  of  the  size  of Nauru (21 km2) with its limited natural resources, the options are not many.

 

The global goal underlying the assessment of mitigation contribution is to reduce fossil fuel imports by using indigenous renewable energy and implementing energy efficiency measures. In light of the above, for such a remote island already severely damaged by phosphate mining, Nauru’s  mitigation  contribution  is  quite  ambitious.  With regards to equity Nauru cannot be expected to mitigate out of its own resources and would need extensive international assistance.

Loss and Damage

The  issue  of  loss  and  damage  is  important  to  Nauru,  particularly  when considering  the  current  low  level  of  mitigation  ambition  internationally  and  the  science  is telling us that there will be limits to adaptation. Nauru supports the concept that loss and damage must be considered as a separate and distinct element from adaptation in the 2015 COP21 agreement.

The inclusion of loss and damage in the INDC is twofold. First, its purpose is to highlight the significance of the issue for Nauru and second, to present our views on loss and damage in the 2015 climate agreement.

The reality of the impacts of climate change that Nauru and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are already experiencing means adaptation is absolutely critical.  However, the science is telling us that we are quickly moving towards a reality where adapting will not be sufficient. The prospect for loss and damage associated with climate change for Nauru and SIDS are real.  The  IPCC  findings  in  both  the  Fourth and  Fifth  Assessment Report from Working Group II show that there are substantial  limits  and  barriers  to  adaptation.  In Warsaw, Parties  also  acknowledged  that  loss  and  damage  associated  with  the  adverse effects of climate change involves more than that which can be reduced by adaptation..

Nauru  calls  for  loss  and  damage  to  be  included  as  a separate  element  of  the  2015 agreement,  one  that  is  separate  and  distinct  from  adaptation.  Loss  and  damage  must  be addressed  in  a  robust,  consistent  and  sustained  manner.  This  can  only  be  accomplished through a loss and damage mechanism that is anchored in the 2015 agreement. Anchoring the mechanism in the 2015 agreement will ensure that it is permanent.

Nauru acknowledges that there is on-going work under the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage, including a 2016 Review.

Immediate  and  adequate  financial,  technical  and  capacity  building  support  for  loss  and damage is needed and to be provided on a timely basis for Nauru and other SIDS to address loss and damage. It is beyond our current national  means to address loss and damage from climate  change  and  financial  flows  from  developed  countries  for  addressing  loss  and damage in Nauru and other vulnerable developing countries should be new and additional to financing for those for mitigation and adaptation.

For more information, go to Nauru INDC.

Date updated: March 2016 

Focal points - Climate change & Disaster Risk Management

Climate Change
Mr. Sasi Kumar

Acting Secretary
Department of Commerce, Industry & Environment
Yaren District
Republic of Nauru
Telephone: (674) 5573365
Email: sparavanoor@gmail.com
    
Mr. Bryan Star
Director for Environment
Department of Commerce, Industry & Environment
Yaren District
Republic of Nauru
Telephone: (674) 5573117/ 5566053
Email: bryan.star@naurugov.nr/ bryanstar007@gmail.com
 

Disaster Risk Management
Mr. Michael Aroi

Secretary
Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade
Republic of Nauru
Central Pacific
Telephone: (674) 5573040
Email: mike.aroi@gmail.com
Michael.aroi@naurugov.nr

Mr. Peter Jacob
Presidential Counsel
Telephone: (674)5573008
Email: peterjacob.nhc@gmail.com

Date updated: March 2016

References

List of references used to develop country profile:

  1. Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO (2014). Climate Variability, Extremes and Change in the Western Tropical Pacific: New Science and Updated Country Reports. Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning Program Technical Report, Australian Bureau of Meteorology and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Melbourne, Australia
  2. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations, July 2007.
  3. Pacific Disaster Net
  4. Forum Secretariat website
  5. Pacific Climate Change Portal Project Database
  6. Nauru Second National Communication Report to the UNFCCC
  7. Nauru INDC

Date updated: March 2016