IPON Research Network


Kiribati partners have joined IPON in 2023. They aim to collaborate with the i-Kiribati people on various islands in the Gilbert Islands group.

Map of Kiribati

Country Context

Food System Characteristics

Communities traditionally reliant on agriculture and fishing are now increasingly dependent on imported food of low nutritional quality, leading to a very high prevalence of noncommunicable disease such as hypertension, diabetes and micronutrient deficiencies. Dependence on imported food also exposes Kiribati communities to food price surges brought on by geopolitical or climate-change related extreme weather events.

Main climatic & environmental stresses

Sea level rise is threatening the crops on the low-lying islands of this island nation. This is already visible in forms of 'king tides', which are higher than they used to be, and increased groundwater salinity leading to smaller fruit such as breadfruit, as observed by local population. Threats to biodiversity in the forms of pollution and ocean acidification are affecting coral reefs, leading to a decline in fish catches, a main source of protein for local populations. There is a decline in indigenous knowledge on traditional food systems and agriculture as people have a growing preference for imported food.

Main social stresses

Dietary patterns have changed, and the impact of globalisation has led to changing preferences of food. Very limited market infrastructure for the domestic markets leads to very limited supplies and points of distribution for local food. Lack of refrigeration facilities and electricity provision especially on outer islands in Kiribati. Poor management of coconut groves has led to very high levels of coconut infertility (coconut is a staple food in Kiribati).

Key Collaborators

Team Members

John Paul Cauchi

Dr. John Paul Cauchi


Queen Mary University London - Malta Campus

Malta, Kiribati

Dr. John Paul Cauchi is a senior lecturer in Public Health at QMUL’s Bart’s Medical School in Gozo Campus, Malta. Dr John hasconsolidated skills in quantitative research, literature reviews, report writing, journal editing, and data analysis.