Nauru

Location

Yaren
Nauru
0° 31' 59.9988" S, 166° 55' 1.2" E
Capital City: 
No official capital; government offices in Ya
Languages: 
English, Nauruan
Category: Social
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Net enrollment ratio in primary education 72.3 MDG Database
Seats held by women in national parliament, percentage UN Stats (MDGs indicators)
Category: Land
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Agricultural land (1000 Ha) 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 FAO
Category: Indices
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
HDI - Human Development Index UNDP International Human Development Indicators - Calculated based on data from UNDESA (2009d), Barro and Lee (2010), UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2010b), World Bank (2010b) and IMF(2010a).
Category: Climate Change and Sea-level Rise
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), thousand metric tons of CO2 (CDIAC) 136 139 139 143 143 143 143 143 MDG Database (CDIAC Data)

Climate Change

Nauru has submitted its First National Communication on Climate Change to the UNFCCC.

Nauru could be considered to be in a far better position with respect to climate change and sea-level rise than a number of its Pacific island neighbours that have substantially larger land areas. Aside from its coastal perimeter being at sea-level, Nauru has at least 80% of its land area well elevated. However, it is very likely that Nauru will become more vulerable to climate change to some degree, though it is currently difficult to predict how, when, and to what extent. Nauru has limited resilience to climatic change and therefore the impacts may be more severe. Since at least 95% of Nauru's population lives on the coastal perimeter of the island and the Topside area is currently uninhabitable, citizens are living “with their backs to the wall” and hence could be particularly vulnerable to climate change and sea-level rise. In particular, issues and areas that might be negatively affected by climate change include the coral reef and marine environment; coastal erosion, water resources, vegetation, and human health.

Nauru National Communication on Climate Change

Natural and Environmental Disasters

Drought is Nauru's most common and perhaps most serious environmental and natural disaster threat. Prolonged droughts are common in Nauru and place severe stress on natural species. The frequent occurrence of severe droughts has resulted in limited biodiversity, making Nauru one of the poorest terrestrial ecologies in the world. The country is less biologically diverse than some of the world’s great deserts, with only 60 species of indigenous vascular plants on record. Rainfall cycles are related to the El Niño/El Niña cycle in the Pacific.

Nauru National Energy Assessment Report
Nauru National Communication on Climate Change

Waste Management

Work is being carried out in finalizing the National Solid Waste Management Strategy which was developed late in 2008.

Waste is a serious problem on Nauru. The country is so small that the impacts of waste are easily seen. Most Nauruan families generate more waste than the Nauru Island Council service collects. Once bins are full, households have to find other ways to dispose of extra waste. Many households throw rubbish straight into the environment. There is no household sorting or recycling of waste in Nauru. Household sewage is held in cesspools and septic tanks for pumping into tank trucks. The collected raw sewage is then dumped through a pipeline to a site just beyond the edge of the reef. While this avoids contamination of ground water by sewage, it does cause modification of the reef environment and is a potential health hazard.

Nauru National Energy Assessment Report
Nauru MSI+5 National Assessment Report

Coastal and Marine Resources

The Government of Nauru developed a National Fisheries Development Strategy.

Marine resources are of critical subsistence importance, although currently of limited local commercial importance. Although Nauru’s fisheries resource is still relatively plentiful, there is a need to manage and monitor marine resources so as to ensure sustainability in the future. Fishing pressure and intensity have increased dramatically since the mid-2000s, with almost all households involved in fishing. Fishing and fisheries resources play a major role in sustaining people’s livelihoods and have become the fall-back option for most people. The dynamics of fishing have totally changed, with children, women and men increasing participation in fishing activities, targeted species changing depending on what people can get, and distribution systems changing with increased selling and sharing of seafood.

Nauru National Fishery Sector overview
Nauru National Communication on Climate Change

Freshwater Resources

The only significant permanent freshwater resource in Nauru is groundwater in the form of a "lens" of often slightly brackish freshwater, hydrostatically "floating" on higher-density saltwater beneath it. The height of the freshwater lens above sea level and the level of salinity vary in relation to the elevation, geology, texture and shape of each island, and with the amount of water use and rainfall. Unfortunately there is evidence of both biological and chemical contamination of the freshwater lens so water withdrawn may require substantial treatment before it can be deemed safe for public use. Nearly all houses and commercial buildings have rainwater catchments but the volume of storage is insufficient for true drought conditions, maintenance is often poor and the production and loading of phosphate for export results in huge dust plumes that can contaminate water catchments in some areas of the island. Currently, Nauru’s population is reliant on water supplied either from a desalination plant run by the Nauru Phosphate Corporation (1150 tonnes/day) or from local wells.

Pacific Regional Energy Assessment: Nauru National Report
Nauru National Communication on Climate Change

Land Resources

A review of the land tenure system has not occurred and remains a sensitive issue in Nauru.

Land tenure is of prime importance in Nauru, representing wealth in both the spiritual and material sense, and has always been a mark of status contributing strongly to a person's identity as a Nauruan. Land in Nauru is limited both in its availability and also in its use. The lack of land for urban development and the lack of a secure groundwater supply are the two main issues currently being addressed by Nauru in terms of land resources. Of the country's total land area of 22 square kilometres, 70% has been utilised for the mining of phosphate. The balance provides space for the domestic, government, commercial and industrial sectors. The international airport takes up a significant proportion of this area. There are very limited recreational areas, and agricultural activities are currently minimal. Primary production is confined to fruits and vegetables for domestic consumption, although Nauru is nowhere near self-sufficient in this regard.

Nauru National Communication on Climate Change

Energy Resources

Nauru has an Energy Efficiency Action Plan (2008 – 2015) in place to manage sustainable development of its energy sector.

Provision of electricity to meet the national power demand has been achieved, with households and businesses receiving of power 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at an affordable cost. Fuel demand has been sustained since 2005 and improvements in stock management and purchasing arrangements have reduced fuel losses, strengthened safety measures and capability. Significant opportunities exist on Nauru to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, especially in the road transport sector where there is only 40 total kilometers of sealed and unsealed roads. Development of streamlined fuel planning and purchasing arrangements has been achieved. There has also been an increase in use of renewable energy, including the installation of monitoring equipment to determine the feasibility of wind energy sources for power generation.

Nauru National Communication on Climate Change
Nauru National Energy Assessment Report
Nauru MSI+5 National Assessment Report

Tourism

With the depletion of its phosphate resources, Nauru does not have many resources to support its economy. Therefore the country must look for other ways to support its economy, and tourism development is one option. However, Nauru is a remote destination with no operating tourist attractions and minimal hospitality infrastructure. Developing tourism in Nauru remains a challenge for the government, and the global financial crisis has made this task even more difficult. The number of visitors from Australia, the main source country, also declined after the closure of the detention centre in Nauru in 2008. The number of visitors to Nauru annually is very small. Many travellers to Nauru are transit passengers and do not stay overnight. Most of the visitors to Nauru are usually on government business or visiting friends and relatives. Nauru is serviced by one airline, Air Nauru, and only has a few hotels.

Travel and Tourism in Nauru
Nauru National Communication on Climate Change

Biodiversity

The Republic of Nauru adopted its National Environmental Management Strategy (NEMS) and National Environmental Action Plan in September 1997. Nauru will also be preparing its National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan to the Commission on Biological Diversity (CBD). Nauru is a party to the Nauru Agreement, which aims to improve the region's tuna fisheries through sustainable management and innovation.

Nauru’s indigenous flora and the vegetation as a whole are among the most limited on earth. Because of Nauru’s small size, limited habitat diversity, and physical isolation from continents and other, larger islands, plant diversity has been and remains very limited. A recent listing of the reported flora on the island gives a total of 467 species, of which only 45 species of vascular plants are possibly native. No endemics now exist. The long settlement, widespread destruction during World War II, monocultural expansion of coconut palms, and over 80 years of open-caste phosphate mining have led to serious vegetation degradation, disturbance and displacement. Regenerated vegetation after mining covers 63 per cent of Nauru’s land area.

Important Bird Areas in Nauru
Country Strategies: 
Title Programme Name Programme Description Year
Energy Strategy - Nauru Pacific Regional Energy Assessment: Nauru National Report 2004
UNFCCC Nat Comm - Nauru First national communication 1999 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Strategy Description 1999
NSDS - Nauru Nauru: National Sustainable Development Strategy 2005-2025 2005
Bill | 15 Jul 2013
12 July 2013: The Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) adopted the Nadi Draft Outcome Document, which will represent the Pacific region's contribution to the Inter-regional Preparatory Meeting for the 2014 Conference. The meeting, held in Nadi, Fiji, from 10-12 July 2013, was the second of three regional meetings in preparation for the Conference, which will take place in Apia, Samoa, in September 2014....
Bill | 12 Jul 2013
Highlights for Thursday, 11 July 2013 While Member States met in closed sessions on Thursday morning, ambassadors Robert Aisi, Papua New Guinea, Sofia Borges, Timor-Leste, and Marlene Moses, Nauru, briefed others on progress made in Wednesday afternoon’s closed deliberations, which they said had dealt primarily with climate change. Shun-ichi Murata, UNESCAP, chaired the open discussion and circulated a table of priorities from the regional synthesis report on national assessments. The...
Bill | 27 Aug 2012
PREPARED BY OHRLLS   SUMMARY The 2012 Third World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), saw 36 representatives and heads of state from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) take to the floor during the Plenary Session to deliver statements on a range of issues of importance and relevance to them. Of the 36 SIDS representatives, 10 were Heads of State while 10 were Heads of Government making up 26% of the 77 Heads of State and Heads of Government who addressed the Plenary...
External Resources: 

Coming soon.

National focal point for sustainable development: 
Aid Management Unit - Ministry of Finance and Sustainable Development