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Palau / Belau

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Background:
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.





Location:
Oceania, group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines

Geographic coordinates:
7 30 N, 134 30 E

Map references:
Oceania

Area:
total: 459 sq km
country comparison to the world: 197
land: 459 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative:
slightly more than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:
0 km

Coastline:
1,519 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm

Climate:
Current Weather
tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November

Terrain:
varying geologically from the high, mountainous main island of Babelthuap to low, coral islands usually fringed by large barrier reefs

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Ngerchelchuus 242 m

Natural resources:
forests, minerals (especially gold), marine products, deep-seabed minerals

Land use:
arable land: 8.7%
permanent crops: 4.35%
other: 86.95% (2005)

Irrigated land:
NA

Natural hazards:
typhoons (June to December)

Environment - current issues:
inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste; threats to the marine ecosystem from sand and coral dredging, illegal fishing practices, and overfishing

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:
westernmost archipelago in the Caroline chain, consists of six island groups totaling more than 300 islands; includes World War II battleground of Beliliou (Peleliu) and world-famous rock islands



Population:
20,879 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 217

Age structure:
0-14 years: 22.2% (male 2,392/female 2,251)
15-64 years: 71.4% (male 8,287/female 6,624)
65 years and over: 6.3% (male 399/female 926) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 32.4 years
male: 32.2 years
female: 33 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.374% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166

Birth rate:
10.68 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180

Death rate:
7.81 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112

Net migration rate:
0.86 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54

Urbanization:
urban population: 81% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.8% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.065 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.25 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.43 male(s)/female
total population: 1.13 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 12.78 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 134
male: 14.43 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.51 years
country comparison to the world: 130
male: 68.36 years
female: 74.84 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.73 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

Nationality:
noun: Palauan(s)
adjective: Palauan

Ethnic groups:
Palauan (Micronesian with Malayan and Melanesian admixtures) 69.9%, Filipino 15.3%, Chinese 4.9%, other Asian 2.4%, white 1.9%, Carolinian 1.4%, other Micronesian 1.1%, other or unspecified 3.2% (2000 census)

Religions:
Roman Catholic 41.6%, Protestant 23.3%, Modekngei 8.8% (indigenous to Palau), Seventh-Day Adventist 5.3%, Jehovah's Witness 0.9%, Latter-Day Saints 0.6%, other 3.1%, unspecified or none 16.4% (2000 census)

Languages:
Palauan 64.7% official in all islands except Sonsoral (Sonsoralese and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are official), and Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official), Filipino 13.5%, English 9.4%, Chinese 5.7%, Carolinian 1.5%, Japanese 1.5%, other Asian 2.3%, other languages 1.5% (2000 census)

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92%
male: 93%
female: 90% (1980 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 15 years
male: 14 years
female: 15 years (2000)

Education expenditures:
10.3% of GDP (2002)
country comparison to the world: 4



Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Palau
conventional short form: Palau
local long form: Beluu er a Belau
local short form: Belau
former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Palau District

Government type:
constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force on 1 October 1994

Capital:
name: Melekeok
geographic coordinates: 7 29 N, 134 38 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:
16 states; Aimeliik, Airai, Angaur, Hatohobei, Kayangel, Koror, Melekeok, Ngaraard, Ngarchelong, Ngardmau, Ngatpang, Ngchesar, Ngeremlengui, Ngiwal, Peleliu, Sonsorol

Independence:
1 October 1994 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday:
Constitution Day, 9 July (1979)

Constitution:
1 January 1981

Legal system:
based on Trust Territory laws, acts of the legislature, municipal, common, and customary laws; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Johnson TORIBIONG (since 15 January 2009); Vice President Kerai MARIUR (since 15 January 2009); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Johnson TORIBIONG (since 15 January 2009); Vice President Kerai MARIUR (since 15 January 2009)
cabinet: NA
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: president and vice president elected on separate tickets by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held on 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012)
election results: Johnson TORIBIONG (51%) defeats Elias Camsek CHIN (49%) for president; Kerai MARIUR elected vice president

Legislative branch:
bicameral National Congress or Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK) consists of the Senate (9 seats; members elected by popular vote on a population basis to serve four-year terms) and the House of Delegates (16 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012); House of Delegates - last held on 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 9; House of Delegates - percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 16

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Court of Common Pleas; Land Court

Political parties and leaders:
none

Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA

International organization participation:
ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IMF, IOC, IPU, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hersey KYOTA
chancery: 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006
telephone: [1] (202) 452-6814
FAX: [1] (202) 452-6281
consulate(s): Tamuning (Guam)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Charge d'Affaires James PANOS
embassy: Koror (no street address)
mailing address: P. O. Box 6028, Republic of Palau 96940
telephone: [680] 488-2920, 2990
FAX: [680] 488-2911

Flag description:
light blue with a large yellow disk shifted slightly to the hoist side; the blue color represents the ocean, the disk represents the moon; Palauans consider the full moon to be the optimum time for human activity; it is also considered a symbol of peace, love, and tranquility



Economy - overview:
The economy consists primarily of tourism, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. The government is the major employer of the work force relying heavily on financial assistance from the US. The Compact of Free Association with the US, entered into after the end of the UN trusteeship on 1 October 1994, provided Palau with up to $700 million in US aid for the following 15 years in return for furnishing military facilities. Business and tourist arrivals numbered 85,000 in 2007. The population enjoys a per capita income roughly 50% higher than that of the Philippines and much of Micronesia. Long-run prospects for the key tourist sector have been greatly bolstered by the expansion of air travel in the Pacific, the rising prosperity of leading East Asian countries, and the willingness of foreigners to finance infrastructure development.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$164 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 217
$124.5 million (2004 est.)
note:
GDP estimate includes US subsidy

GDP (official exchange rate):
$164 million (2008)

GDP - real growth rate:
NA% (2009)
5.5% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$8,100 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
$7,600 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6.2%
industry: 12%
services: 81.8% (2003)

Labor force:
9,777 (2005)
country comparison to the world: 215

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 20%
industry: NA%
services: NA% (1990)

Unemployment rate:
4.2% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38

Population below poverty line:
NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Budget:
revenues: $114.8 million
expenditures: $99.5 million (2008 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.7% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA

Agriculture - products:
coconuts, copra, cassava (tapioca), sweet potatoes; fish

Industries:
tourism, craft items (from shell, wood, pearls), construction, garment making

Industrial production growth rate:
NA%

Current account balance:
$15.09 million (FY03/04)
country comparison to the world: 57

Exports:
$5.882 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 214

Exports - commodities:
shellfish, tuna, copra, garments

Imports:
$107.3 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208

Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, fuels, metals; foodstuffs

Debt - external:
$0 (FY99/00)
country comparison to the world: 196

Exchange rates:
the US dollar is used



Telephones - main lines in use:
7,500 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 209

Telephones - mobile cellular:
12,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 211

Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular services available with a combined subscribership of more than 90 per 100 persons
international: country code - 680; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2008)

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

Television broadcast stations:
1 (cable) (2005)

Internet country code:
.pw

Internet hosts:
2 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 228



Airports:
3 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 192

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2009)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2009)

Ports and terminals:
Koror



Military branches:
no regular military forces; Palau National Police (2009)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 6,955 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 5,223
females age 16-49: 3,949 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 212
female: 218 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
NA

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the US; under a Compact of Free Association between Palau and the US, the US military is granted access to the islands for 50 years, but it has not stationed any military forces there (2008)



Disputes - international:
maritime delineation negotiations continue with Philippines, Indonesia

 

Information from the CIA's "The World Fact Book" 2010

 

 

 

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