7° 19' 59.988" N, 134° 28' 58.8" E

Capital Based Focal Point:

Ministry of Natural Resources Environment & Tourism
Tel. (680) 767-5435
Fax. (680) 767-3380

Capital City: 
English, Palauan
Category: Social
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Net enrollment ratio in primary education 96.40000000000001 MDG Database
Seats held by women in national parliament, percentage UN Stats (MDGs indicators)
Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above) World Bank
Category: Land
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Agricultural land (1000 Ha) 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 FAO
Forest area (sq km) 396 397 399 400 402 403 404 406 World Bank
Forest area (% of land area) 86.090000000000003 86.3 86.73999999999999 86.95999999999999 87.39 87.61 87.83 88.26000000000001 World Bank
Category: Tourism
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
International tourism receipts (% of total exports) 53 59 57 76 97 97 90 Development Data Group, The World Bank. 2008. 2008 World Development Indicators Online. Washington, DC: The World Bank. Available at:
Category: Demographics
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Country population 19,129 19,626 19,976 19,700 19,816 19,932 20,046.79999999999927 20,162 20,278.70000000000073 20,397.70000000000073 World Bank
Population annual growth 1.29964 2.56497 1.76763 -1.39129 0.587106 0.583679 0.574261 0.573201 0.577192 0.58473 World Bank
Maternal mortality ratio (modeled estimate, per 100,000 live births) World Bank
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: Economy
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
GNI per capita, PPP (current international $) World Bank
ODA received as % of GNI 31.21 26.4 25.28 20.32 14.0099999999999998 15.82 23.51 13.42 23.37 UN Stats (MDGs indicators)
Category: Energy
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Electric power consumption (kWh) World Bank
Combustible renewables and waste (metric tons of oil equivalent) World Bank
Fossil fuel energy consumption (% of total) World Bank
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) 117 183 183 191 191 194 205 213 MDG Database (CDIAC Data)
Category: Freshwater
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Improved water source (% of population with access) 83 84 World Bank
Category: Biodiversity
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected 2.06 4.8 4.8 4.8 4.8 4.8 4.8 4.8 4.8 4.8 UN Stats (MDGs indicators)

Climate Change

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

Palau already had a potent foretaste of the coming effects of climate change during the 1997-1998 El Niño which had a devastating impact on human well-being, the environment and the economy. More frequent and severe El Nino events will result in longer droughts and higher ocean temperatures. Droughts will affect ground and surface water supplies, threatening biodiversity, agriculture productivity, tourism, and human health. Higher ocean temperatures will threaten corals which in turn will threaten marine life, food security, fisheries, and tourism. Deep water ocean currents may also change, producing an unknown impact on offshore tuna resources. Moreover, the typhoon belt may shift so that Palau will begin to experience more frequent severe storms. Coastal communities will be directly affected by rising sea levels through more frequent flooding and an increased frequency of adverse weather events, resulting in property damage and increased risks to human health.

Palau MSI+5 National Assessment Report
Palau First National Communication on Climate Change

Natural and Environmental Disasters

Palau has a Disaster Management Plan, a National Emergency Management Office (NEMO), a high-level Disaster Executive Council chaired by the President, and a multi-sector National Emergency Committee (NEC) chaired by the Vice-President.

Although Palau lies south of the typhoon belt, it is still vulnerable to a range of natural and human-induced disasters. Recent natural disasters have included tropical storms, tidal surges, drought, the El Niño event of 1998-1999 and earthquakes. Direct economic costs of the 1998-99 El Niño have been estimated at a staggering $91 million, more than half of Palau’s annual GDP (Williams, 2008) although the true cost of many long-term impacts cannot be easily calculated (for example, long‐term damage to taro patches, corals, forests and agriculture lands). The most significant human-induced disaster in recent years was the collapse of the Koror-Babeldaob bridge (1997) that disrupted transportation, communications, water, and electricity services for an extended period. Health threats – especially the dengue outbreak of 2000, the SARS outbreak of 2003 and the more recent H1N1 Influenza outbreak – have also resulted in human hardship and economic loss.

Palau MSI+5 National Assessment Report

Waste Management

Palau is not a party to the Basel Convention on Hazardous Wastes.

Sewage and solid waste have also been identified as Palau’s top two infrastructure priorities needed to facilitate economic development. Hazardous wastes, although receiving less attention, are also a growing concern as Palau increasingly becomes a consumer society integrated into the global trading system. To date, one quarter of urban households and virtually all rural households do not have access to public sewerage systems. With regard to solid wastes, since 2002, there has been progressive improvement in management of solid wastes in Koror albeit little improvement in most rural states. Outside of Koror, state governments operate their own dump sites, none of which meet the standards for a sanitary landfill. With regard to hazardous and chemical wastes, these have yet to be addressed including consumer goods (household chemicals, electronics, and computer wastes) and industrial wastes. The relatively small volume of wastes generated by Palau is a constraint to management because there are no economies of scale that can support a market in the sale and/or recycling of hazardous wastes.

Palau MSI+5 National Assessment Report
Economic cost scenarios for solid waste-related pollution in Palau

Coastal and Marine Resources

Palau has a National Tuna Fishery Management Plan, and a draft National Aquaculture Strategy and Development Plan (NASDP).

The in-shore fishery industry in Palau is a dynamic, multi-species industry involving individual fishers feeding their families, providing food for traditional customs and selling to commercial markets, restaurants and selective buyers for export. However, existing data shows a recent decline in yield for nine of fourteen states for which there are data. Decline in catch may reflect a deteriorating state of the resource caused by habitat destruction or overharvest. It may also be caused by extraneous factors such as fisheries management policies, the degree of policy enforcement, weather, and the price of fuel. On a positive note, declining production may reflect better management regimes that prevent unsustainable harvest. Aquaculture is promoted as an important national development sector and an alternative livelihood and income-generating opportunity. Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) contains significant fishery resources, but  catch rates are variable and relatively modest when compared to those of other Pacific Island countries with larger and more centrally located EEZs due to its location on the periphery of the Pacific tuna fishing grounds.

Palau MSI+5 National Assessment Report

Freshwater Resources

Palau has extensive water resources and has achieved virtually universal access to improved water. With 150 inches of rain per year, the high island of Babeldaob has an extensive network of rivers and streams with a combined discharge of 500 million gallons daily. Groundwater resources can also be found at depths of 40 to 100 feet below lowlands. Although exploratory drilling in the mid 1980’s in the Ngerikiil basin indicated that groundwater to be viable source of potable water, it is not extensively exploited at this time. The smaller outlying islands of Peleliu, Angaur and Kayangel all have a fresh water lens that supply public water systems. There, saltwater intrusion is a problem, especially during droughts. The Southwest Islands rely on rainwater catchments supplemented by groundwater from their limited lenses. Despite Niue's rich water resources, however, the water sector has not yet achieved a state of sustainable management. Increasing demand from new developments, the specter of more frequent droughts, and financial instability must all be addressed before Palau can be said to have achieved its water goals.

Palau MSI+5 National Assessment Report

Land Resources

Palau has a Strategic Plan developed by the Bureau of Agriculture to manage the sustainable develppment of its land resources.

Agricultural activity is mostly of a semi-subsistence nature. There is a trend away from the traditional small-scale farming and agroforestry methods used by Palauan women towards larger farms operated by foreign males and planted with single crops destined for restaurants and supermarkets in Koror. There are about 22 commercial agriculture farms, nearly all located in Babeldaob. All recent development plans and policies have identified agriculture as an engine for economic growth producing both for the local market and for export. Despite this, agriculture has and continues to dwindle in economic importance. Approximately 76% of Palau is covered in native forests which contain more than 1,200 species of plants. In addition to their direct biodiversity value, forests provide vital ecological services that help to maintain the health of terrestrial and marine ecosystems through sediment trapping and climate stabilization, providing nurseries for reef fish and supporting soil production and conservation. Currently, there is very little commercial forestry in Palau. In addition, given Palau’s forestry resources, there is a significant but as yet untapped potential to generate income through carbon trading.

Palau MSI+5 National Assessment Report

Energy Resources

Palau has a draft National Energy Policy.

Although geological characteristics suggest that Palau may have exploitable reserves of oil and gas, exploration is just getting underway. For now, Palau depends on imported petroleum for virtually all energy requirements, making it highly vulnerable to fluctuating oil prices and disruptions in international trade. The sharp rise in oil prices in 2007-2008 resulted in higher costs for almost everything, creating widespread hardship among lower-income households. Food prices alone rose 24%. Because Palau is dependent upon petroleum, its greenhouse gas emissions, although small in total volume, are high on a per capita basis. Although contributing little to Palau’s total energy requirements at present, the use of solar energy is increasing. By 2020, the National Energy Office projects 20% of Palau’s energy will be produced by solar generation.

Palau MSI+5 National Assessment Report
Palau National Energy Assessment Report


Industry, government, and civil society have recently come together to develop and implement a Sustainable Tourism Action Plan.

Tourism is Palau’s most important industry, contributing 45% of Gross National Product. Tourist arrivals have steadily increased from 20,000 (1991) to 80,000 (2007) annually. In 2005, Palau had four visitors for every resident (six visitors for every resident citizen). This ratio is second only to the Bahamas among small island economies. The prospect for future growth is strong; the industry projects 100,000 arrivals per year by 2013. The top two visitor markers are Taiwan and Japan, followed by Korea (a distant third), the United States, and Europe. Palau’s premier visitor attractions are diving and snorkelling. Palau consistently ranks among the top three dive destinations worldwide

Palau MSI+5 National Assessment Report


Palau is the first country in the world to fulfil all of its commitments for protected areas under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Palau has completed three editions of the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP).

With over 10,000 species inventoried to date, biodiversity is the foundation for the economic, social, and cultural livelihood of the Palauan people and the long-term development of the Palau nation. Moreover, beyond national borders, Palau’s many endemic species (over 1,000 identified thus far) constitute a global treasure chest. It is little wonder that the international community takes a keen interest in helping Palau to preserve its unique biological resources and the ecosystems on which they depend. Conservation is a part of the Palauan psyche and consequently has been at the forefront of public policy, even predating independence. Because Palau has a high level of endemicity (25% of species found in Palau are endemic), it has importance for global biodiversity that exceeds its small size. With 37 legally constituted protected areas, Palau now exceeds the target set by the Micronesia Challenge.

Palau MSI+5 National Assessment Report
Palau National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan
Country Strategies: 
Title Programme Name Programme Description Year
Energy Strategy - Palau Pacific Regional Energy Assessment: Palau National Report 2004
UNFCCC Nat Comm - Palau First national communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Strategy Description 2003
NBSAP - Palau National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan Strategy Description 2009
NSDS - Palau Management Action Plan 2005
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...
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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