Natural Resources of Kiribati: Where Natural Resources are Located in Kiribati

Kiribati, a diminutive island nation situated in the central Pacific Ocean, is endowed with a diverse array of natural resources that are integral to the livelihoods of its inhabitants. The country’s natural assets encompass fisheries and marine resources, agricultural resources, freshwater resources, mineral resources and renewable energy resources. These resources are essential for the sustenance of the population and the overall economic development of the nation.

However, the sustainable management and conservation of these resources are paramount to ensure their availability for future generations. The natural resources of Kiribati are not only significant for the economy but also for the cultural and social fabric of the nation. The people of Kiribati possess a profound connection to the land and sea, and these resources are fundamental to their way of life.

Therefore, it is crucial to comprehend and appreciate the importance of these natural resources and work towards their sustainable management and conservation. This article shall examine the various natural resources of Kiribati, their significance, and the endeavours being undertaken to ensure their sustainable utilisation for the benefit of the nation.


  • Kiribati is a small island nation in the Pacific with limited natural resources, making sustainable management crucial.
  • Fisheries and marine resources play a vital role in Kiribati’s economy and food security, with tuna being the main export.
  • Agricultural resources in Kiribati are limited due to the scarcity of arable land, but coconut and breadfruit are important crops.
  • Freshwater resources are scarce in Kiribati, with reliance on rainwater and limited groundwater availability.
  • Kiribati has limited mineral resources, with phosphate mining being historically important but now largely depleted.

Fisheries and Marine Resources

Significance of Fisheries to the Economy

The fisheries sector is a significant contributor to the economy of Kiribati, providing employment and income for many people in the country. The sustainable management of fisheries and marine resources is crucial for the long-term viability of this sector.

Sustainable Management Efforts

Kiribati has implemented various measures to ensure the sustainable use of its marine resources, including the establishment of marine protected areas and the implementation of sustainable fishing practices. These efforts are aimed at preserving the health of marine ecosystems and ensuring the continued availability of fish stocks for future generations. Additionally, Kiribati has entered into agreements with other countries and international organisations to promote sustainable fisheries management and combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in its waters.

Commitment to Sustainable Development

The government of Kiribati recognises the importance of fisheries and marine resources for the nation’s development and is committed to ensuring their sustainable management. By investing in research, monitoring, and enforcement measures, Kiribati aims to safeguard its marine resources and maximise their potential for economic and social development.

Agricultural Resources

Agricultural resources play a vital role in the economy and food security of Kiribati. The fertile soil and favourable climate of the islands support the cultivation of a variety of crops, including coconuts, breadfruit, pandanus, and taro. These crops are not only important for local consumption but also contribute to the export earnings of the country.

Agriculture also provides employment opportunities for many people in Kiribati, particularly in rural areas where subsistence farming is prevalent. The sustainable management of agricultural resources is essential to ensure food security and economic stability in Kiribati. The government has implemented various initiatives to promote sustainable agriculture practices, including soil conservation, water management, and agroforestry.

These efforts are aimed at preserving the productivity of agricultural land and minimising the impact of farming activities on the environment. In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on organic farming and agroecology in Kiribati, with a focus on sustainable farming methods that promote soil health and biodiversity. These approaches not only contribute to food security but also support the conservation of natural resources and ecosystems.

The government is also working to improve access to agricultural inputs, such as seeds and tools, and provide training and extension services to farmers to enhance their productivity and resilience in the face of climate change.

Freshwater Resources

Freshwater resources are essential for human survival and agricultural production in Kiribati. The limited availability of freshwater on the islands makes it a precious resource that requires careful management. Rainwater harvesting is a common practice in Kiribati, with many households relying on rooftop catchment systems to collect rainwater for drinking, cooking, and other domestic uses.

However, freshwater sources are vulnerable to contamination from human activities, such as improper waste disposal and agricultural runoff. The sustainable management of freshwater resources is critical for ensuring their availability and quality for current and future generations. The government has implemented measures to protect freshwater sources from pollution and over-extraction, including regulations on waste disposal and the promotion of water conservation practices.

Additionally, efforts are being made to improve water infrastructure and distribution systems to ensure equitable access to clean water across the islands. Climate change poses a significant threat to freshwater resources in Kiribati, with rising sea levels leading to saltwater intrusion into groundwater sources. This has implications for both drinking water supplies and agricultural irrigation.

The government is working to address these challenges through the development of climate-resilient water management strategies, including the construction of seawater barriers and the promotion of drought-resistant crops.

Mineral Resources

Kiribati is not known for its significant mineral resources, as the islands are predominantly composed of low-lying coral atolls with limited geological diversity. However, there are some potential mineral deposits, such as phosphate rock and sand, which have been exploited in the past for export. Phosphate mining was historically an important industry in Kiribati, providing revenue for the government and employment opportunities for local communities.

The sustainable management of mineral resources in Kiribati is important to minimise environmental impacts and ensure that any extraction activities are conducted responsibly. The government has implemented regulations to govern mineral extraction activities and mitigate their potential negative effects on the environment. Additionally, efforts are being made to diversify the economy away from reliance on mineral exports towards more sustainable industries.

While mineral resources may not be a primary focus of economic development in Kiribati, it is important to recognise their potential contribution to the nation’s economy. Sustainable management practices can help maximise the benefits of mineral extraction while minimising its environmental footprint.

Renewable Energy Resources

Abundant Natural Resources

The abundant sunshine and strong winds on the islands make them well-suited for solar and wind energy generation. The government has been investing in renewable energy infrastructure, including solar panels and wind turbines, to harness these natural resources for electricity generation.

Sustainable Management and Energy Efficiency

The sustainable management of renewable energy resources involves not only the development of infrastructure but also policies that promote energy efficiency and conservation. The government has implemented initiatives to improve energy efficiency in buildings and promote the use of energy-saving technologies. Additionally, efforts are being made to raise awareness about renewable energy options among the population and encourage their adoption at both household and institutional levels.

Benefits of Renewable Energy

The transition towards renewable energy sources has multiple benefits for Kiribati, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved energy security, and cost savings from reduced reliance on imported fuels. By investing in renewable energy infrastructure and promoting sustainable energy practices, Kiribati aims to achieve greater energy independence while contributing to global efforts to combat climate change.

Conservation and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

Conservation and sustainable management are essential principles that underpin all efforts to safeguard Kiribati’s natural resources for future generations. The government has established protected areas both on land and at sea to preserve biodiversity and ecosystems. These areas serve as refuges for endangered species and important breeding grounds for marine life.

In addition to protected areas, sustainable management practices are being promoted across all sectors that rely on natural resources, including fisheries, agriculture, water management, and energy production. This involves implementing regulations that govern resource use, promoting sustainable practices among resource users, investing in research and monitoring programmes, and fostering partnerships with local communities and international organisations. The conservation and sustainable management of natural resources are not only important for environmental protection but also for supporting the livelihoods and well-being of the people of Kiribati.

By ensuring that natural resources are used in a way that maintains their long-term productivity and health, Kiribati can secure a more resilient future for its population while contributing to global efforts towards sustainability. In conclusion, Kiribati’s natural resources are vital for its economic development, food security, cultural identity, and overall well-being. The sustainable management and conservation of these resources are essential to ensure their availability for future generations.

By investing in sustainable practices across all sectors that rely on natural resources, Kiribati can secure a more resilient future while contributing to global efforts towards sustainability.


What are the natural resources of Kiribati?

Kiribati’s natural resources include fish, coconuts, and marine resources such as seaweed and deep-sea minerals.

Where are the natural resources located in Kiribati?

The natural resources of Kiribati are located throughout the country, with fish found in the surrounding waters, coconuts grown on the islands, and marine resources found in the ocean surrounding the islands.

How are natural resources utilized in Kiribati?

Natural resources in Kiribati are utilized for food, income generation, and traditional practices. Fish and coconuts are important sources of food and income for the people of Kiribati, while marine resources are used in traditional practices and ceremonies.

Are there any challenges in managing natural resources in Kiribati?

Yes, Kiribati faces challenges in managing its natural resources, including overfishing, climate change impacts, and sustainable management of marine resources. The government is working to address these challenges through policies and initiatives aimed at sustainable resource management.

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