SPC Geoscience Division


Coastal protection project opened in Ailinglaplap, Marshall Islands

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Sea wall

3 November 2015, Majuro

The President of the Republic of Marshall Islands, His Excellency Christopher Loeak, today officially opened the Coastal Causeway Project in Woja Island, Ailinglaplap, as part of the country's efforts to build resilience to climate change.

The project has involved constructing a rock causeway combined with soft engineering measures, such as tree planting, to strengthen the vulnerable and narrow road link between the two parts of Woja Island.

The project is part of the European Union-supported regional €11.4 million Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States initiative, implemented in partnership with the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Government of the Republic of Marshall Islands.

Speaking at the opening of the causeway, President Loeak said the strengthened and elevated road link meant there was now a safe passage between the two parts of Woja Island.

“When it comes to climate change, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, with its low lying and scattered atolls, is especially vulnerable, and sea level rise is one of the greatest challenges we face today,” the President said.

“Until now, the communities living on the two different parts of Woja Island had to schedule their daily activities, such as getting to school or to the health clinic, around the state of the tide. At high tide, they had to make their way through what was often waist deep water to get to the other side of the island.

“The Government of the Marshall Islands is especially pleased to see this project implemented and constructed by the Ministry of Public Works, with support from the European Union and SPC, so now we have the capacity, to tackle further similar projects with the help of our development partners,” the President said.

"This is a good example of the European Union supporting governments and communities to implement their own priorities in partnership with regional organisations,” the European Union Ambassador for the Pacific, His Excellency Andrew Jacobs, said.

''In the Pacific, the European Union has been, and will continue to be, a long-standing partner in the fight against climate change. We have translated our words into action with approximately €250 million worth of ongoing climate and disaster and sustainable energy-related projects.''

The Director of SPC’s Geoscience Division, Professor Michael Petterson, congratulated the government and people of the Marshall Islands for effectively implementing this project despite all the challenges resulting from remoteness and transportation issues.

“This is an excellent example of building capacity to address climate change impacts. As we know, sea level rise affects all of our Pacific Islands so initiatives such as these are vital to build resilience through practical efforts,”,” Prof Petterson said.


Media contacts: Zhiyad Khan    SPC Project Communications Assistant, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Mohammed Nazeem Kasim, EU Press and Information Officer, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Denise deBrum-Reiher, RMI Public Information Officer, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Background: The Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States (GCCA:PSIS) project is a €11.4  million  European Union supported project, implemented regionally in partnership with SPC and nationally by each of the nine participating governments in Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu.



The Government of Kiribati through the Office of the President requested SOPAC support to review of its National DRM governance arrangements this year. From 8th – 14th June, 2010 a SOPAC team comprising of Mosese Sikivou (Manager CRP), Tony Madigan (DRM Consultant) and Noa Tokavou (Disaster Management Adviser) visited Kiribati in order to establish a process for the review, undertake initial consultations with community and government representatives and collate relevant data and information. A meeting of the National Disaster Council was convened on 10th June at Tarawa expressly for the purpose of consultation in relation to the review.

The initial review mission revealed that there is a need to improve/strengthen the understanding of the links between disasters and development and to integrate disaster risk considerations more prominently within the development planning process across all levels – local (Islands Councils) sectoral and national level as well as to improve partnerships and coordination between Government ministries and non government organisations.  It is necessary to strengthen the institutional capacity of key technical agencies such as the Ministry of Works, NDMO, Met Office, Ministry of Finance (National Economic Planning Office) etc. to facilitate the increased performance of responsibilities in relation to a new DRM regime.

The second country engagement tentatively is scheduled for mid August and is expected to result in the presentation of revised DRM governance arrangements to the Kiribati Government.