Nowhere are the impacts of climate change more keenly felt than in the low-lying islands of the Pacific. And especially so in Kiribati, a country of 32 small islands dotted across an ocean expanse of 3.5 million square kilometres. With rising sea levels due to climate change, Kiribati faces not only environmental impacts but also challenges to its economic, social and political development.
For PACTAM2 adviser Lindsey Davison, the environmental challenges facing Kiribati presented a unique opportunity for him to use his engineering skills and experience accumulated from working as a project manager throughout South East Asia, Indochina and the Pacific.
Lindsey is a Fellow of Engineers Australia and previously held numerous senior roles within the private sector as well as project managing many large multidisciplinary projects. Prior to the PACTAM2 role he worked in a senior government role in Papua New Guinea.
His role as Director of Engineering Services is the most senior technical position within the Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy in Kiribati. He is responsible for managing seven divisions in the Ministry on a range of infrastructure development projects. These engineering projects are aimed at defending Kiribati against the rising sea levels and the negative effects of climate change.
His role also involves building the confidence and capacity of local professionals, to move away from the current dependence on donor-funded consultants. All new projects undertaken within the Ministry, included donor-funded projects, are now carried out by Ministry staff, and they are provided with ‘on the job’ opportunities.
Promoting the young professionals working within the Ministry “will be of benefit to Kiribati both now and in the future,” Lindsey says.
While there have been some challenges in the role, Lindsey’s past experience working in remote and often difficult environments equipped him with the skills to handle any issues as they arose.
He says what he’s enjoyed most about being a PACTAM2 adviser has been “the opportunity to share knowledge and life experiences with IKiribati colleagues and to promote Kiribati internationally.”