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Is The Payment By Government Of Essay

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Is the payment by Government of Kiribati of full commercial rents to Bonriki and Buota land owners ethical? Can you propose alternate ethical solutions?
Kiribati consists of thirty-three islands in which thirty-two are low laying coral islands (Kiribati Tourism n.d.). For these low laying islands, the main source of potable water is groundwater lying in shallow, freshwater lenses (White et. al. 1999, pp. 3). Kiribati has a rapidly growing urban population occupying small areas of land, for instance approximately 15,000 people occupying 0.8 square kilometres of land on Betio, Tarawa Atoll (SOPAC 2005). This has led to an increase in human and animal activities and waste; contaminating these atolls. Subsequently, the number of atolls with accessible and uncontaminated water is decreasing. As a result, the Government of Kiribati has declared the uncontaminated atolls as public water reserves; restricting the traditional landowners, the kaianga, from accessing their own land and water (White et. al. 2008, pp.285). In return, the Public Utilities Board (PUB), a government based agency, have given the landowners financial compensation or leasing of the land (Pulea, pp.68). This is not viewed as an ethical solution as it fundamentally denies the basic ethic of water which is respect for human dignity. This is because, this financial compensation prohibits access of the kaianga to their own land; preventing traditional customs which are central to the kaianga’s culture. Therefore, financial compensation does not replace the symbolic meaning and cultural values of these atolls; hence a more equitable and ethical solution must be found to distribute groundwater amongst the urban and indigenous populations. Prior to European colonisation, the traditional landowners of Kiribati, the kaianga, governed the land in a communal manner ‘through the gathering of the unemwane (old men) in the maneeaba (meeting house) (White 2008, pp.285).’ However, after colonisation, a federalism based government was formed; excluding the kaianga to have input into the governance of Kiribati. For the kaianga, landownership carried cultural significance in terms of wealth and traditional values as well as be...

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