19° 4' 0.12" S, 169° 55' 1.2" W

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Niuean, English
Category: Social
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Net enrollment ratio in primary education MDG Database
Category: Land
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Agricultural land (1000 Ha) 4.8 4.8 4.8 4.8 4.8 4.8 4.8 5 5 FAO
Category: Biodiversity
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected 1.86 1.86 1.86 1.86 1.86 1.86 1.86 1.86 1.86 1.86 UN Stats (MDGs indicators)

Climate Change

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

Niue is particularly conscious of predicted sea level rise and the increased incidence and severity of tropical cyclones. Associated with tropical cyclones is damage to existing infrastructure and the environment. The predicted sea level rise threatens Niue’s fresh water lens, which is critical due to the non-existence of running surface water. Climate change within natural ecosystems such as the coral reefs and tropical rainforests may eventually lead to a change in species composition. Niueans are dependent on subsistent agriculture and fishing. Predicted climate changes such as increased precipitation, sea temperature rises and atmospheric temperature rises threaten the nation's food security. This may in turn lead to socio-economic problems impacting health, causing an increase in the national deficit coupled with diminishing social services, and eventually leading to outward migration of the population.

Niue First National Communication on Climate Change

Natural and Environmental Disasters

Tropical cyclones are a serious risk for Niue, with a major passage averaging about once every ten years. On Monday, 5 January 2004, Tropical Cyclone Heta struck Niue head on. Winds in excess of 270 km and a mountainous storm surge battered the west coast. The storm caused great destruction, largely due to a sea surge estimated at 50 meters that rose well above the cliffs and in some cases pushed 100 meters inland. Seriously effected regions included Alofi and the villages of Makefu, Tuapa, Namukulu and Hikutavake, and serious damage elsewhere on the island as well. The Niue Hotel was destroyed and most government and private structures near the west coast were severely damaged or destroyed. The severity of the cyclone was the greatest on record and resulted in the disruption of many services for an extended period. The economy of Niue was hit hard by the need to rebuild and recovery was slow.

Niue National Energy Assessment Report

Waste Management

Niue has an active Waste Management Plan in place.

With regard to solid wastes, the bulk of biodegradable wastes are recycled via mulching/composting in an effort to return valuable nutrients to the soil and to enhance soil fertility and structure. Food scraps are fed to the pigs or domestic pets, which are kept by most households. Niue has a very effective aluminium can recycling scheme, which compacts and ships cans to New Zealand for recycling. A main issue of concern is the lack of control measures with regard to which products can safely be disposed of, as there is a potential risk of toxic wastes entering the underground water lens. With regard to liquid waste, sewer waste is contained/disposed of by septic tanks and includes domestic “grey water”. The Health Department is responsible for the collection of septage sludge, which is disposed of into open holes near the Hannan International Airport. There are no septage treatment facilities, however disposal of septage complies with the recommended distance from water bores. Potential health risks are thereby minimized.

Niue First National Communication on Climate Change

Coastal and Marine Resources

Niue's Sustainable Coastal Development Policy was adopted in 2008. Niue also has an Integrated Coastal Management Plan, and a National Tuna Fishery Management and Development Plan

With respect to the fishing sector, Niue does not boast the abundance of fishery resources like its cousins to the north. Fishing activities are at a subsistence level due to limited inshore fishing resources. Niue’s fishing grounds are not particularly fertile as there is little surface runoff to provide nutrients. The island is also situated on a relatively barren seamount with limited access to deep-sea resources. Fishing activities are further hampered by difficult access to the sea via the rugged and steep coastline. The exposure of the unprotected coastline to the open and sometimes very rough seas and the absence of natural harbours or lagoon systems are added obstacles. Formerly, Niue depended economically on bilateral fishing fees from foreign fishing boats operating in its exclusive economic zone; however, with the establishment of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, Niue closed its waters to foreign fishing activities under bilateral fishing access arrangement, with the exception of US Treaty fishing vessels. Niue encourages participants to base their operations in the island. Current exports of fish are solely comprised of Niueans exporting cooked or frozen fish for friends and relatives in New Zealand.

Niue First National Communication on Climate Change
Niue National Assessment Report on Strategic Sustainable Development
Niue Fourth National Report on Biodiversity to the CBD

Freshwater Resources

Niue has a Water Resources Act (1996) and a Water Resource Bill in effect.

There is no surface water on Niue. Maintaining a sufficient, high quality water supply is always a key concern for Niue. It is a fundamental resource for human survival and economic development. Water resource management poses a serious sustainable development challenge for Niue. Water supply comes from underground sources and rain catchments. Rainfall infiltrates the porous coral until it reaches the saline water that lies under the island, where its lower density allows freshwater to form a pool over the salt water. This lens provides the freshwater used for human consumption, agriculture and industry. The aquifer strata are porous and vulnerable to contamination from activities carried out on the surface, and any large-scale contamination of the freshwater lens will pose a risk to the population. However, to date there has been no outbreak of diseases attributed to untreated freshwater. The water is generally of good drinking quality but has high levels of iron content present. However, a number of agricultural practices, in particular the use of chemicals (biocides and fertilizers) and the keeping of livestock pens close to where water is extracted, pose a threat to water quality.

Niue First National Communication on Climate Change
Niue Fourth National Report on Biodiversity to the CBD

Land Resources

Niue has a National Forest Policy (2004), a Code of Harvesting Practice for the Indigenous Forests of Niue (2003), and a National Action Plan (NAP) for Combating Land Degradation and Drought.

Niueans have always had strong cultural ties to the land. They apply a number of traditional conservation practices to its use. Throughout the island, the soils are of marginal fertility for intensive agriculture and long-term monoculture. Thirty to forty percent of Niue’s land is unsuitable for agriculture, while those areas under cultivation can only produce at the subsistence level. Farming is centered on bush gardens, which are cleared by bulldozers with taro as the predominant crop. The expansion of agriculture is one of the chief causes of deforestation, which is prevalent in Niue. Niue was originally covered in dense tropical rainforest. Extensive areas of fern-dominated shrub land and regenerating forest have now replaced much of this forest. At 8.7 hectares of forest per capita, Niue has one of the highest forest areas per inhabitant amongst island countries of the Pacific Region. There is a growing concern regarding the progressive decrease of indigenous forest area. Over the last 30 years, the people of Niue have cleared an additional 22% of indigenous forests, reducing overall forest cover from 86% to just 64% of the island. This deforestation occurred when Niue was undergoing its most rapid depopulation and coincided with a need to increase cash income.

Niue First National Communication on Climate Change

Energy Resources

Niue has a national Energy Policy in place to manage sustainable development of the energy sector.

Natural energy resources are limited in Niue, with no traditional mineral or hydro-based resources available. Niue imports all its petroleum products; the main energy imports are diesel, gas and petrol. Diesel is mainly consumed in the electricity and transport sector. Bottled gas is the most common energy source for domestic cooking and has replaced the earlier charcoal and kerosene burners to a large extent. The predominant energy source is electricity, provided by diesel-powered generators. Four of these are located in a central powerhouse, with 45% of the power produced being consumed by the Government sector. Opportunities for alternative energy sources have been investigated and include wind generation, solar power and sea and tide movements, both marine and through the water lens.

Niue First National Communication on Climate Change
Niue National Energy Assessment Report


Niue has adopted a Tourism Strategic Plan 2005 – 2015.

Although Niue’s tourism industry is still in its infancy, it is the key element in Niue’s development strategy. To date, growth in the sector has been slow and this has mainly been due to unreliable air services to the island over the last 10 to 15 years. In 1993 there were 3,358 visitors, the majority of which were in the holiday and vacation category. Subsequent loss of airline services resulted in a dramatic drop in the number of visitors to the island, boottoming out at 1,522 in 1996. New services were instituted from late 1995 by Royal Tongan Airlines, which now provides a weekly service from Auckland, New Zealand, and another service from Tonga to Niue. Tourism facilities are limited, and accomodation facilities are predominantly gocvernment-owned and privately operated. Other tourism activities include rental agencies, tour operators, dive operators and handicraft shops.

Niue First National Communication on Climate Change
Niue National Assessment Report on Strategic Sustainable Development

Biodiversity Resources

Niue has a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, and has submitted its Fourth National Report to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Due to its isolation and distance from the other islands in the Pacific, Niue has limited naturally-occurring fauna and flora. The species of animals and plants found on Niue are largely determined by three factors. Firstly, Niue is isolated from other landmasses, the nearest country being the islands of Tonga 480 km to the north east, so a limited range of species have reached the island. Secondly, it is relatively young. Indications are that the upper terrace dates back to the inter-glaciations, 500,000 to 900,000 years ago (Schofield, 1959), so that animals and palnts arriving here have generally not had time to evolve into different species. Thirdly, it is relatively small and provides a restricted range of habitats, for example entirely lacking freshwater wetlands. All these factors have served to limit the numbers of species and their endemism. No endemic species (those found only in Niue) are known among the present plant or bird species, though some of the latter are considered endemic at the sub-species level. There is one endemic sea snake and other endemic species probably exist among the invertebrates.

Niue National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan
Niue First National Communication on Climate Change
Country Strategies: 
Title Programme Name Programme Description Year
Energy Strategy - Niue Pacific Regional Energy Assessment: Niue National Report 2004
UNFCCC Nat Comm - Niue Initial national communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Strategy Description 2001
NBSAP - Niue Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategy Description 2009
NSDS - Niue Niue National Assessment Report: on Strategic Sustainable Development 2006
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....
20 May 2013 | SIDS Policy and Practice
9 May 2013: The first SIDS DOCK Pacific Regional Meeting reviewed the current work of the first phase of the SIDS DOCK Support Programme and discussed its next phase. SIDS DOCK is an initiative developed by small island developing States (SIDS) for SIDS to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, and contribute towards sustainable development with support from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank. The meeting, which took place in Nadi, Fiji, from 6-9 May 2013, was...
16 May 2013 | SIDS Policy and Practice
April 2013: The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Pacific “Implementing Sustainable Water Resources and Wastewater Management in Pacific Island Countries” project has issued progress snapshots for Fiji, Majuro Atoll (Marshall Islands), Niue, Palau and Samoa.  The Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), together with 14 Pacific Island countries, executes the project, which aims to improve water resources and management through policy and legislative reform, and...
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