Suva, Fiji – The importance of regular transportation and access to outer islands in Tuvalu plays a critical role in the successful implementation of community based conservation and sustainable development projects.
To address this, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) recently supported the Government of Tuvalu to procure a 30 meter vessel. The Talamoana is designed to carry up to 15 persons and will be used by the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) 2 Project to transport expert teams as well as essential equipment to the outer islands. The nine islands that make up Tuvalu stretch over a vast area of ocean. Nanumea, for example, is located approximately 400 kilometres from Funafuti and is closer to Kiribati, whilst Niulakita stretches some 220 kilometres from the capital, situated closer to the Island of Rotuma.
The availability of this vessel will enable teams of government officials and project personnel to plan missions to outer islands without having to rely on regular transport with fixed schedules. Travel by regular transport involves loss of time to offload and upload passengers and cargo on each island, with a single trip lasting up to four weeks. The availability of the Talamoana will ensure timely support by UNDP to facilitate project activities, including community discussions and field work such as surveys and deployment of fish aggregating devices in each island.
The UNDP Resident Representative Osnat Lubrani emphasised that “the procurement of the Talamoana is very significant as a basic project input that is crucial for effective project implementation in Tuvalu. The archipelagic nature of Tuvalu calls for uniquely complex arrangements to ensure a direct relationship between the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and improved access to outer islands.”
“The decision to provide a vessel is a first for UNDP; it arises from recognition of the unique realities experienced by a small island state such as Tuvalu and a commitment to support the country in bringing development to the people more quickly and efficiently,” Ms. Lubrani said.
The procurement of the vessel also responds directly to the call emerging from the 2014 International Conference on Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) for investment in increased inter-island connectivity as essential for attaining sustainable development.
The Government of Tuvalu played a key role in the selection of the vessel. The Department of Environment, Department of Fisheries, Marine Department and Department of Rural Development worked closely with consultants (Billet Wright and Associates Limited) to identify a vessel most suited to its needs.
The NAPA 2 is a 4-year Project focussing on implementing three priorities outlined in Tuvalu’s National Adaptation Programme of Action, namely through the following components: coastal fisheries, disaster risk management and integrating locally-specific climate change concerns into existing outer Island Strategic Plans and mobilising resources.
Emily Moli, UNDP Knowledge Communications Analyst, tel: 3227 504; email: email@example.com