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In November, I read this article about Kiribati, an island in the Pacific Ocean, and cannot seem to get it out of my mind.

The climate is destroying Kiribati, which is now 10 feet above sea level. By the turn of the century, its 103,000 citizens will be without a home. The people of Kiribati do not have the right skills to relocate, as the government has not invested in education programs. Nearby countries like Fiji are pushing back on taking the displaced Kiribati citizens, and no other nations have stepped up to open doors to them.

Kiribati politicians have been the major contributor to over-fishing and the increasing kava (replacement for alcohol) problems impacting its citizens’ daily lives. I wonder to myself, “What are the responsibilities of the government to its people?”

At SAP, we recently ran an SAP Urban Matters survey that brought in 280 respondents and showed that the following are the priorities for citizens:

  • 89% of respondents assigned highest importance to quality of life, while 79% rated economic prosperity very highly, and only 51% found good governance important from the perspective of their cities of residence
  • 44% of citizens have rated infrastructure as the best aspect of their city, followed by 35% rating quality of education, and 34% rating quality of civic services favorably for their cities
  • Citizen services aside, 43% of respondents have ascribed the presence of social circles (extended family, relatives, and friends) as the reason for staying in their current city of residence
  • For those who would consider leaving their cities of residence, 30% of respondents were curious about the possibilities that other cities might offer, while 27% found a lack of employment opportunities reason enough to leave
  • Citizens are more connected than ever and increasingly empowered. New expectations require cities to be ready to serve their residents by delivering and receiving information and services anytime, anywhere, and on any device. 55% of respondents are satisfied with the level of online and/or mobile access that governments provide, while another 42% find digital/ social media initiatives in their cities in line with their expectations

Do you agree? Take a few minutes to share your opinions: SAP Urban Matters survey

Read more about the Kiribati story on Business Week: Kiribati Climate Change Destroys Pacific Island Nation.

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