SPC Geoscience Division

ESAT Project

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The Environmentally Safe Aggregate for Tarawa (ESAT) Project is designed to protect the fragile beaches of South Tarawa in Kiribati from damage caused by unsustainable sand and gravel mining. By providing an alternative supply of construction aggregate from the lagoon basin, the project aims to meet South Tarawa’s rapidly growing demands while also reducing pressure on its beaches.

The project is funded by the European Union and jointly implemented the SPC's Geoscience Division and the Government of Kiribati’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resource Development (MFMRD).

Large and unsustainable volumes of beach aggregate (sand, gravel and cobble – estimated at 70,000 m3/year in 2006) are removed from South Tarawa’s beaches every year. The fact that this is happening despite fears over shoreline instability and sea level rise, suggests that every possible effort to protect shoreline systems should be made.

ESAT offers a pragmatic “no-regrets” climate change adaptation response to this problem by providing an environmentally sustainable alternative which can reduce pressure on South Tarawa’s fragile beaches and bolster resilience in natural beach systems.


The single largest budget item in this project is the MV Tekimarawa-- a 40-m steel, open-water capable vessel with a shallow draft for lagoon work and a total payload of 300 tonnes.

ESAT also implements an awareness and behaviour change programme focused at community understanding and participation (Ara Bike Reirei) and also undertakes routine awareness events with schools.

The project also supports school curriculums through its efforts with the “SandWatch” programme. Comprehensive and strategic efforts to maintain community outreach and consultation are also underway, involving contracts to local NGOs who implement the ESAT Communications Strategy.






Project Overview



For more information contact:............................................................................................................................................. Christopher Mark Day - ESAT Project Manager

Email : Click here


Last Updated on Monday, 13 June 2016 14:58  


Nukualofa, Friday 16 March 2012: How exactly will climate change impact the lives of people living on small islands and what can be done to adapt to those impacts? On Lifuka Island in Tonga’s Ha’apai group, a project to find answers to this question is underway. The answer could help people around the Pacific and the world prepare  for, and adapt to, climate change.

The project is part of the Pacific Adaptation Strategy Assistance Program (PASAP) and aims to assess the vulnerability and adaptation to sea level rise in Lifuka. It is being run by the Government of Tonga with the assistance of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Tonga Community Development Trust (TCDT).

Fuka Kitekei’aho, National Coordinator for PASAP, said that Lifuka was chosen because it had already experienced sea level rise as a result of an earthquake in May 2006.

“The earthquake measured approximately 7.9 on the Richter scale and resulted in subsidence of 23 cm of the western side of Lifuka Island,” Mr Kitekei’aho said. “In the past four years, the island has experienced significant coastal erosion over a three kilometre section of the coastline, including where the harbour, homes, and hospital are located.”