Region: Oceania-Micronesia

Capital: Melekeok

Population: 21,186 (July 2014 CIA est.)

Surface area: 459 sq km

Currency: US dollar (USD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $10,500 (2011 CIA est.)

After three decades as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific under US administration, this westernmost cluster of the Caroline Islands opted for independence in 1978 rather than join the Federated States of Micronesia. A Compact of Free Association with the US was approved in 1986 but not ratified until 1993. It entered into force the following year when the islands gained independence. (CIA 2014)

Economy – Overview:
The economy consists of tourism and other services such as trade, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. Government is a major employer of the work force relying on financial assistance from the US under the Compact of Free Association (Compact) with the US. The Compact took effect, after the end of the UN trusteeship on 1 October 1994. The US provided Palau with roughly $700 million in aid for the first 15 years following commencement of the Compact in 1994 in return for unrestricted access to its land and waterways for strategic purposes. Business and leisure tourist arrivals numbered over 109,000 in 2011, for a 27% increase over 2010. The population enjoys a per capita income roughly double that of the Philippines and much of Micronesia. Long-run prospects for tourism have been bolstered by the expansion of air travel in the Pacific, the rising prosperity of industrial East Asia, and the willingness of foreigners to finance infrastructure development. Proximity to Guam, the region’s major destination for tourists from East Asia, and a regionally competitive tourist infrastructure enhance Palau’s advantage as a destination. (CIA, 2014)

Major Export Commodities: shellfish, tuna, copra, garments

Remittances inflow: Not available

Human Development Index 2013 ranking: 52 out of 186 countries (UNDP 2013)

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:
Net ODA US $15,000,000.
Major development partners include the United States, Japan, Australia, and Spain (OECD 2012).

Total External Debt: N/A

Life Expectancy at Birth: 72.6 years (CIA 2014)

Environmental Indicators:
Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 11.4
Forested Area (percentage of land area): 87.6
CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): 10.5
(UNDP 2013)

United Nations membership date: 15 December 1994

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 575
New York, N.Y. 10017 USA
Telephone: (212) 813-0310
Fax: (212) 813-0317

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
World Development Indicators. World Bank
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Human Development Report 2013.United Nations Development Programme.

Updated January 2015