Government of The Republic the Marshall Islands and Deltares sign a strategic partnership: promoting present and future climate resilience

Published: 29 July 2021

As the impacts of climate change, sea level rise and natural hazards continue to escalate, so too will the demand for new knowledge and innovative and transformative adaptation strategies. A strategic partnership between the government of The Republic of the Marshall Islands and Deltares, signed yesterday, aims to develop and share knowledge required to tackle these current and future challenges and puts the country at the forefront in the battle against climate change.

A successful story of cooperation

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) consists of 29 low-lying coral atolls comprising of 1,156 individual islands in the northern Pacific Ocean. With a land elevation averaging only 2 meters above mean sea level, the country is one of the world’s smallest, most isolated and most vulnerable nations. RMI is affected by several natural hazards, including drought, coastal erosion, and flooding due to typhoons, swell waves, and extreme rainfall, all aggravated by sea level rise and climate change. Deltares is an independent, not-for-profit, research institute that focuses on applied research and specialized consultancy in water, soil and subsurface-related issues. With its headquarters in the Netherlands, Deltares works globally to develop and apply knowledge and tools to tackle challenges affecting coastal areas, deltas and river basins. Small Island Developing States (SIDS), in particular, are a priority area in the Deltares research agenda. RMI and Deltares have been working together since 2016 to assess the impact of sea level rise and develop innovative adaptation measures for RMI, among other topics. This cooperation has been supported by the World Bank and the Green Climate Fund.

Learn from each other

Alessio Giardino, Deltares specialist climate adaptation and project manager: “Recent flooding events, now also in Europe, have shown us how brutal and devastating the force of nature can be. Within Deltares we believe that developing knowledge and applying it can be a major factor in developing resilient systems and awareness about the hazards. Sharing our knowledge and working with governments, agencies and international organizations like the World Bank is key in being able to move forward. Through this MoU, we will be able to strengthen this cooperation and that, together, we will take important steps to address some of the biggest challenges which are ahead of us. Hopefully, this collaboration and its outcomes can serve as an example for other low-lying countries in the future, so we can learn from each other and get through these challenges together”.

On July 28th, the Government of RMI and Deltares signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The objective of this MoU is to further develop the ongoing relationship between RMI and Deltares on relevant topics such as climate adaptation and planning, disaster risk management, resilient transport, water quality management and blue economy. The cooperation is based upon a mutual exchange of knowledge, expertise and tools and draws upon the existing multi-year cooperation between the two institutions. Chief Secretary Kino Kabua: “On behalf of the government, I would like to thank Deltares for the support they have been providing with their technical expertise and scientific knowledge. It is with no doubt that this partnership will contribute to the overall development of a resilient Marshall Islands and I look forward to giving full support, in my capacity as the Chief Secretary of the RMI government, to make our collaboration fruitful.”

Toon Segeren (Director Deltares International) : “Both the Marshall islands and The Netherlands are exposed to natural hazards and the effects of climate change. Working together on resilient solutions is important to address the challenges we face.”