Nauru

Region: Oceania-Micronesia

Capital: no official capital; government offices in Yaren District

Population: 10,300 (UNDP 2011)

Surface area: 21 sq km

Currency: Australian dollar (AUD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $5,000 (2005 est.)

Background
The exact origins of the Nauruans are unclear, since their language does not resemble any other in the Pacific. The island was annexed by Germany in 1888 and its phosphate deposits began to be mined early in the 20th century by a German-British consortium. Nauru was occupied by Australian forces in World War I and subsequently became a League of Nations mandate. After the Second World War – and a brutal occupation by Japan – Nauru became a UN trust territory. It achieved its independence in 1968 and joined the UN in 1999 as the world’s smallest independent republic.

Economy – Overview
Revenues of this tiny island traditionally have come from exports of phosphates. Few other resources exist, with most necessities being imported, mainly from Australia, its former occupier and later major source of support. In 2005 an Australian company entered into an agreement to exploit remaining supplies. Primary reserves of phosphates were exhausted and mining ceased in 2006, but mining of a deeper layer of “secondary phosphate” in the interior of the island began the following year. The secondary phosphate deposits may last another 30 years. The rehabilitation of mined land and the replacement of income from phosphates are serious long-term problems. In anticipation of the exhaustion of Nauru’s phosphate deposits, substantial amounts of phosphate income were invested in trust funds to help cushion the transition and provide for Nauru’s economic future. As a result of heavy spending from the trust funds, the government faced virtual bankruptcy. To cut costs the government has frozen wages and reduced overstaffed public service departments. Nauru lost further revenue in 2008 with the closure of Australia’s refugee processing center, making it almost totally dependent on food imports and foreign aid. Housing, hospitals, and other capital plant are deteriorating. The cost to Australia of keeping the government and economy afloat continues to climb. Few comprehensive statistics on the Nauru economy exist with estimates of Nauru’s GDP varying widely. (CIA, 2012)

Major Export Commodities: phosphates

Remittances: Not available

Human Development Index 2011 ranking: Not ranked

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:US $28 million. Major development partners include: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, E.U. Institutions, Swtitzerland (OECD 2010).

Total External Debt:$33.3 million (2004 CIA est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth: 79.9 years (UNDP 2011)

Environmental Indicators:

                                              Endangered Species (as a % of all species):14

                                              Forested Area (percentage of land area):0.0

                                              CO2 Emissions(tonnes per capita):14.2

                                              (Data Source: UNDP 2011)

United Nations membership date: 14 September 1999  

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of Nauru to the United Nations

800 Second Ave,Suite 400A

New York, N.Y.10017USA

Telephone: 212-937-0074

Fax: 212-937-0079

Website:www.un.int/nauru/nauru_un.html

Sources:

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov

World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org

Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org

Human Development Report 2011.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org

 

Updated July 2012