The World Bank is providing the Marshall Islands, the stunning Pacific archipelago that lies on average only 2 metres above sea level, with support for two climate-related projects worth $53.6 million, in part from the Green Climate Fund.
The first project looks to improve disaster preparedness and strengthen early warning systems, especially in the outer islands where reaching communities during an emergency is still a challenge. It will also invest in coastal adaptation and shoreline protection, starting in Ebeye where the majority of the population is exposed to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.
The second initiative will support the efforts of the Marshall Islands to increase renewable power generation, energy efficiency and reliability. The project will support the design, supply, and installation of 3 MW solar generation, batteries and grid management in the capital Majuro, as well as efforts to improve energy efficiency, through technical assistance that will identify further renewable energy options in Ebeye and the outer islands.
The Washington-based institution noted that the Marshall Islands faces risks from droughts, tropical storms, typhoons, erosion and flooding linked to king-tides and storm surges. With 99 percent of the 53,000-strong population living on the coast, a sea level rise of one meter could inundate 80% of all land in the capital city, Majuro. Reliance on expensive imported fuel for electricity also creates severe financial challenges for the country’s economy.