Kiribati

The Republic of Kiribati (Kirib. Ribaberiki Kiribati) is a Pacific state located in Micronesia and Polynesia. It borders in the northwest with the waters of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, in the west and southwest with the territorial waters of Nauru, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, in the south and southeast with the territorial waters of Tokelau, the Cook Islands and French Polynesia. In the north and northeast it borders on neutral Pacific waters, as well as on the Outer Small Islands (USA). The coastal strip is 1,143 km long. The exclusive coastal economic zone (EEZ) is about 3.5 million km². Territorial waters - about 22 km from the baseline. The Republic of Kiribati includes 33 small atolls, twenty of which are uninhabited. Of these, 16 islands and atolls in the Gilbert archipelago, Banaba island (Ocean), 8 islands in the Phoenix archipelago and 8 islands in the Line archipelago. The total area is 812.34 km². The population of Kiribati is 103 058 people. (2010, census). The capital is South Tarava (Bairiki). The independence of the colony of Gilbert Island from Great Britain was proclaimed on July 12, 1979, in the same year it was officially renamed the Republic of Kiribati. In 1983, a friendship treaty between the United States and Kiribati entered into force, according to which the United States refused claims for 14 islands in the Line and Phoenix archipelagos, recognizing them as part of Kiribati.

 

Etymology

The modern name of the country comes from the local reading of the English name of the Gilbert Islands - "Gilbert Islands", which in the local language of Kiribati is pronounced as, and is written as Kiribati.

 

Geography

General geography and geology

Kiribati is the only state located in two pairs of hemispheres of the Earth at once: Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern.

As a result of the Line Islands time zone change undertaken by the Government of Kiribati and the offset of the international date line, Caroline Atoll became the easternmost point of the New Year's Eve first time zone. Part of the islands of Kiribati is located in the easternmost time zone - UTC + 14. Here, first of all on Earth, a new calendar day begins. The time of day (hours and minutes) here is the same as the time in Hawaii (UTC-10), but shifted forward by one day, while with some islands in Oceania the time difference is 25 hours.

All the islands of Kiribati are atolls (Banaba Island is a raised atoll). According to the theory of Charles Darwin, the formation of atolls occurred as a result of the subsidence of volcanic islands, near the surface of which corals gradually grew. A fringing reef was formed, and subsequently a barrier reef, which was gradually built up by corals. As a result, the land of the atoll arose. So, scientists Marshall and Jacobson suggested that Tarawa Atoll appeared about 2500 years ago. The Gilbert Islands formed on the underwater mountain peaks of the Micronesian Rise. Phoenix Islands - on the mountain ranges of the southern part of the Pacific Plate, the Line Islands are located on the peaks of underwater mountain ranges rising to the surface of the ocean, limiting the Central Pacific Basin from the east.

The Republic of Kiribati consists of 32 low-lying atolls and 1 elevated atoll, Banaba, or Ocean. The total land area is 812.34 km². The distance from the westernmost to the easternmost island of the republic is about 4,000 km.

The Republic of Kiribati includes the largest (388.39 km²) atoll in the world - Christmas Island, which occupies 48% of the country's land mass.

32 atolls and one island (Banaba) are divided into 4 groups of islands:
16 islands of the Gilbert archipelago, including Tarawa Atoll;
Banaba Island (or Ocean) - not far from Nauru;
8 islands of the Phoenix archipelago;
8 islands of the Line Archipelago (or Central Polynesian Sporades)

The Gilbert Islands are a group of islands in southeastern Micronesia. The total area is approximately 279 km². Within the archipelago, three subgroups can be distinguished, differing in rainfall: the Northern Gilbert Islands (Makin and Butaritari), the Central Gilbert Islands (all atolls from Marakei to Aranuca) and the Southern Gilbert Islands (from Nonouti to Arorae). On the territory of the Tarawa Atoll of this archipelago is the capital of the state - South Tarawa.

Approximately 1480 km east of the Gilbert Islands are the Phoenix Islands - an archipelago of 9 uninhabited and one inhabited (Canton Island) atoll in Polynesia. Further east are the Line Islands (or Central Polynesian Sporades), including the world's largest Christmas Atoll (or Kiritimati) and the easternmost island in Kiribati Caroline.

All the islands in the Line Archipelago, except for the islands of Kiritimati, Tabuaeran and Teraina, and in the Phoenix Archipelago, except for Canton Atoll, are uninhabited. The atolls, separated by many narrow straits, are predominantly elongated from north to south in shape. Most of Kiribati's atolls have small salt lagoons, either completely landlocked (as in Marakei Atoll) or partially (as in Nonouti and Tabiteuea Atolls). Compared to the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu, the lagoons in the Gilbert Islands are shallow (the maximum depth of the Tarawa Atoll lagoon is 25 meters).

The highest point of the country is on the island of Banaba (81 m).

Prior to 1979, Banaba Island, which had one of the world's largest reserves of phosphate rock, was subject to phosphate mining, which led to significant environmental problems. As a result, most of the population of this island moved to the island of Rumbi, now belonging to the state of Fiji. Large accumulations of ferromanganese nodules as well as cobalt are also believed to be present on the ocean floor of the Kiribati Exclusive Economic Zone, but developments are currently not being conducted due to economic inexpediency.

 

Climate

Most of the islands in the Gilbert Archipelago and several islands in the Line and Phoenix Archipelagos are located in the dry belt of the equatorial oceanic climate zone.

For a long time, locals distinguish two seasons a year. The first of these is aumeang, usually lasting from October to March, beginning with the appearance of the Pleiades star cluster in the sky. The second season is aumaiaki, which usually lasts from April to September and begins with the appearance of the constellation Scorpio in the sky. The rainier season is aumeang, while the aumaiaki season is drier. A wind direction study conducted on Tarawa Atoll from 1978 to 1983 indicates that from December to May, winds blowing from the east and northeast are predominant, and from the east and southeast in April-November. At the same time, the winds from December to May blow stronger.

Kiribati's climate is affected by two convergence zones: the intertropical, which determines the amount of rainfall in the northern atolls, and the South Pacific, which determines the amount of rainfall in the southern atolls. Two anomalies are associated with these two concepts - the phenomena of El Niño and La Niña. During El Niño, the Intertropical Convergence Zone moves northward toward the equator; during La Niña, it moves southward away from the equator. In the latter case, a severe drought is observed on the islands of Kiribati, in the former case, heavy rains.

The northern atolls of the Gilbert Archipelago and the northern Line Islands, except for Christmas Island, receive more rainfall than the atolls to the south. Rainfall in Kiribati varies from 1100 mm in the south of the Gilbert Islands (Tamana Atoll) to 3000 mm in the north (Butaritari Atoll) and from 4000 mm in the Line Archipelago (Teraina Atoll) to 800 mm in Canton Atoll (Phoenix Islands). Hurricanes are quite rare.

The driest months of the year are May and June. The rainy season in the Gilbert Islands lasts from October to April. Droughts occur periodically (especially in the central and southern islands of the Gilbert Archipelago, on the Phoenix Islands and Christmas Island), which have a detrimental effect on agricultural plants (primarily the coconut palm).

The average annual temperature in Kiribati varies from +26 °C to +32 °C. The hottest months are September-November, the coldest months are January-March.

A significant threat to the future of the country is global warming, including the associated rise in the level of the World Ocean, as a result of which low-lying islands (not higher than 5 m) may be under water. In November 2010, the President of Kiribati, at a climate change conference held in the capital of Kiribati, South Tarawa, drew the attention of the world's leading states, which make a significant contribution to atmospheric pollution with greenhouse gases, to this problem and stated that the republic should be ready for any consequences, caused by global warming, including the need to relocate the country's citizens. In 2012, this issue was raised at the UN session:
Every time I remind you of the need for urgent action on climate change and sea level rise to ensure the long-term survival of Kiribati
— President, Head of Government and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kiribati Anote Tonga, UN press service.

 

Soils and hydrology

The soils of Kiribati are highly alkaline, of coral origin, and very poor. Usually they are porous, which is why they retain moisture very poorly. Also, the local soils contain very little organic and mineral substances, with the exception of calcium, sodium and magnesium. The content of organic carbon in subsoils is extremely low (less than 0.5%), except for those places where taro (lat. Cyrtosperma chamissonis) is grown. Phosphate soils are distributed throughout the country. There are also brown-red soils, which were formed from guano accumulated in the groves of the lat plant. Pisonia grandis.

There are no rivers on the Kiribati atolls due to the small area, low altitude, and soil porosity. Instead, heavy rains cause water seeping through the soil to form a lens of slightly brackish water. You can get to it by digging a well. Apart from the water that can be collected from coconut palm leaves after rains, these lenses are the only source of fresh water on most of the islands of Kiribati. The salinity of groundwater usually decreases with distance from the lagoon and the ocean. The location and level of groundwater largely determine the characteristics of the flora, the location of wells and cultivated land. The uncontrolled process of urbanization and population growth in South Tarawa has led to the entry of sewage into the ground in several places. A significant threat to the available fresh water resources on the atolls is the rise in the water level of the oceans. Freshwater lakes are only on the Christmas Islands and Washington (Teraina). In general, there are about 100 small salt lakes on the islands of the Republic of Kiribati, some of which are several kilometers in diameter.

 

Flora and fauna

Due to the small land area, remoteness from the continents, the relatively young geological age of the atolls, as well as the harsh natural conditions, there are 83 species of native plants on the Gilbert Islands, none of which is endemic. Eight plant species are believed to have been introduced by the natives, and the total number of vascular plants ever found on the islands is approximately 306 species.

The plants that were introduced by the natives include giant marsh taro (lat. Cyrtosperma chamissonis), taro (lat. Colocasia esculenta), giant taro (lat. Alocasia macrorrhiza), yam (lat. Dioscorea spp.), two types of breadfruit (lat. Artocarpus altilis and lat. A. mariannensis) and pinnatiform tacca (lat. Tacca leontopetaloides). Roofing pandanus plants (lat. Pandanus tectorius) and coconut palm (lat. Cocos nucfera) probably have a dual origin: on some islands they are indigenous plants, on others they are introduced by humans. Four plants: taro, coconut, breadfruit and pandanus have played and still play one of the key roles in the diet of local residents. There are also lat plants characteristic of all the atolls of Oceania. Scaevola taccada (Kirib. te mao), lat. Tournefortia argentea (Kirib. te ren), lat. Morinda citrifolia (Kirib. te non), lat. Guettarda speciosa (Kirib. te uri), lat. Pemphis acidula (Kirib. te ngea) and mangroves.

The main representatives of the marine fauna are lobsters, palm thieves, tridacna, cones (a family of marine gastropods), holothurians (or sea cucumbers), pearl mussels. The coastal waters of the islands are very rich in fish (about 600-800 species) and corals (about 200 species). Fish has always been the main source of food for the locals. In coastal waters, there are snappers (Lutjanidae), albuls (lat. Albula vulpes), chanos (lat. Chanos chanos), large-headed mullets (lat. Valamugil), goatfish (lat. Upeneus spp.), trevally (lat. Caranx spp.) . There are several types of sea turtles.

The mammal world of Kiribati is extremely poor. The only land mammal seen on the islands during the American Scientific Expedition in the first half of the 19th century was the little rat. Residents raise poultry and pigs. The world of avifauna is quite diverse: in general, 75 species of birds live in the country, one of which is endemic - the warbler (lat. Acrocephalus aequinoctialis), which lives on Christmas Island. Most of the islands in the Line and Phoenix archipelagos are very large bird colonies. Thus, the islands of Malden and Starbuck, as well as part of Christmas Island, are declared marine reserves.

 

History

Very little is known about the settlement of the Kiribati Islands and their early history. However, there are suggestions that the ancestors of the modern Kiribati people arrived in the Gilbert Islands from eastern Melanesia at the beginning of the 1st millennium CE. e. The Line and Phoenix Islands were uninhabited by the time they were discovered by Europeans and Americans. However, traces of human presence in the distant past remained on these atolls. This prompted scientists to try to explain the reasons for the disappearance of the local population in the Line and Phoenix archipelagos. One of the widespread opinions is that in the conditions of a small area, remoteness from other archipelagos, an arid climate and a shortage of fresh water, it was extremely difficult to live on these islands. Therefore, the people who settled the islands were forced to leave them soon.

The islands were first discovered by British and American ships in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They were named the Gilbert Islands in 1820 by a Russian traveler, Admiral Krusenstern, in honor of the English captain Thomas Gilbert, who discovered the islands in 1788 ("kiribati" is the local pronunciation of the English word "gilberts"). The traditional name of the Gilbert Islands is Tungaru (Kirib. Tungaru).

The first British settlers arrived on the islands in 1837. In 1892, the Gilbert Islands, with neighboring Ellis Islands, became a protectorate of the British Empire. In 1916, the Ellice Islands were merged with the Gilbert Islands to form the single colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. Christmas Island (or Kiritimati) became part of the colony in 1919, and the Phoenix Islands in 1937.

During World War II, Banaba Island and most of the Gilbert Islands, including Tarawa Atoll, were occupied by Japan. Tarawa is the place where one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific theater of operations took place (in November 1943, between the Japanese and American armies near the village of Betio, the former capital of the colony).

In 1963, the first major reforms in the administration of the colony were carried out by the colonial authorities. The Executive and Advisory Councils were formed. Representatives of the local population, appointed by the local resident commissioner, were allowed into the latter. In 1967, the Executive Council was transformed into the Government Council, and the Advisory Council - into the House of Representatives with the participation of officials of the colonial administration and 24 members elected by the local population. In 1971, the colony received the status of a self-governing unit. It was headed by a governor. The newly created Legislative Council was elected predominantly by the local population. The deputies elected from among their members a representative who expressed their interests in the new Executive Council.

In 1975, the colony was divided into the independent colonies of Gilbert Island and Ellis Island. In 1978, the Ellis Islands became an independent state (the modern name is Tuvalu). On July 12, 1979, the Gilbert Islands (the modern name is the Republic of Kiribati) gained independence. In 1983, a friendship treaty between the United States and Kiribati, concluded back in 1979, came into force, according to which the United States renounced claims to 14 islands in the Line and Phoenix archipelagos, recognizing them as part of Kiribati.

The main problem of the republic has always been overpopulation of the islands. In 1988, part of the population of Tarawa was relocated to the less densely populated islands of the republic. In 1994, Teburoro Tito was elected president of the country (he was re-elected in 1998). In 1999, the Republic of Kiribati became a member of the UN.

In 2002, a law was passed allowing the government to shut down newspapers. This happened shortly after the first successful non-government newspaper appeared. President Tito was re-elected in 2003, but in March 2003 he was removed from his post. In July 2003, Anote Tong from the opposition party became president.

The atolls of Malden and Kiritimati were used by the United States and Great Britain in the 20th century to test atomic weapons, and in the 1960s - a hydrogen bomb.

 

Administrative division

The Republic of Kiribati is divided into three island groups that do not perform any administrative functions. These are the Gilbert Islands, the Line Islands and the Phoenix Islands. The basic unit of self-government is the island council, which is on each of the inhabited islands (21 islands in total), on the island of Tarawa there are 3 councils, on Tabiteuea - 2 councils. The budget of the councils consists of local revenues.

In the 1970s, the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands was divided into 4 districts: the Ellice Islands (now Tuvalu), the Gilbert Islands, the Line Islands and Ocean Island (now Banaba). On January 1, 1972, the colony of the Gilbert and Ellis Islands (in the Line Islands District) included the central and southern islands of the Line Archipelago, which were claimed by the United States. These were the Caroline Islands, Flint, Starbuck and East. In 1974, the Phoenix Islands became a county in its own right (previously part of the county of the Gilbert Islands). On October 1, 1975, the Ellice Islands gained independence and became officially known as Tuvalu, and the colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands was renamed the Gilbert Islands. On July 12, 1979, the colony of the Gilbert Islands became an independent state, the new name is the Republic of Kiribati. On September 20, 1979, a Treaty of Friendship was signed between the Republic of Kiribati and the United States in Tarawa, according to which the United States renounced its claims to 14 islands in the Line and Phoenix archipelagos: Birney, Vostok, Gardner (Nikumaroro), Canton (formerly a condominium of Britain and the United States ), Caroline, McKean, Malden, Sidney (Munra), Starbuck, Phoenix (Rawaki), Flint, Hull (Orona), Enderbury (formerly a British-US condominium) and Christmas Island (Kiritimati) (treaty effective 23 September 1983).

 

Population

Number and placement

The population of the islands of the Republic of Kiribati at the time of their discovery by Europeans is rather difficult to determine. But it is obvious that already at that time, the indigenous people were faced with the problems of overpopulation of the atolls and, therefore, limited the birth rate so as not to face a lack of resources to sustain life. After the discovery of the islands by Europeans in Kiribati, there were significant changes in the reproduction of the population and social structure. First of all, there was a sharp decline in the number of indigenous people due to the forced removal of the population to work on the plantations of Fiji and the Hawaiian Islands, as well as due to disease and social unrest caused by conflicts on political, economic and religious grounds. However, since the end of World War II, Kiribati's population has increased significantly and death rates have declined as a result of improvements in health care and the purchase of imported goods that have weathered Kiribati's frequent droughts.

According to the 2010 census, the population of the Republic of Kiribati was 103,058, of which 93,791 lived on the 17 islands of the Gilbert archipelago with a total area of ​​279.23 km². The capital of the state, the city of South Tarawa, had a population of 34,427. Population densities vary across the Gilbert Islands. The highest is in South Tarawa: 2443 people. per km². The lowest is on the Kuria Atoll: 63 people. per km².

The rest of the population lives on the Line Islands: Kiritimati (Christmas Island), Tabuaeran (Fanning Island) and Terain (Washington Island). The total population of Christmas Island is 5,586; population density - 14 people. per km². The population density on the island of Teraina is 177 people. per km², while on Tabuaeran - 58 people. per km². Canton Island is the only inhabited island in the Phoenix archipelago. Its population is only 31 people. All other atolls in the Phoenix archipelago are uninhabited, which is associated with a large shortage of fresh water.

In 2010, men accounted for 49.3% (50,796 people), women 50.7% (52,262 people). The share of the urban population in 2010 was 48.7% (50,182 people) of the population, rural - 51.3% (52,876).

The level of natural increase in 1990-1995 was 1.4% compared with 1985-1990. - 2.3%. The proportion of children under 15 years of age in 2010 was 36.1%, of the adult population from 16 to 50 years old - 51.8%, over 50 years old - 12.1%. The average life expectancy for men in 1990-1995 was 57.2 years, for women - 62.3 years.

The continued high rates of population growth create the possibility of a significant decline in the quality of life in the country. Overcrowding on the islands, soil erosion caused by road construction, and groundwater pollution are also putting a dangerous strain on the fragile ecosystem of the atolls, and a population that is growing every year is increasingly faced with the problem of lack of drinking water.

 

Ethnic composition

The aborigines of Kiribati are represented by two ethnic groups: Kiribati, or Tungar (self-name i-Kiribas), which make up about 89.5% (92,206 people) of the total population of the country, and Banaba - descendants of immigrants from the Gilbert Islands who settled on the island of Banaba (or Ocean ) and, as a result of centuries of isolation, separated from the Kiribati people into an independent ethnic group (at the moment, most of this people live on Rambi Island in Fiji).

The share of the Tuvalu people in the country is very low - 0.1% (116 people). The rest of the population - people from mixed marriages of Kiribati and foreigners - 9.7% (9960 people).

 

Languages

The Kiribati people speak the Micronesian language - Kiribati (Gilbert). Until 1979, the Gilbert Islands was a British colony, so English is the official language, although it is rarely spoken outside of South Tarawa. Before the arrival of missionaries on the island of Banaba, local residents spoke a special language, which, however, fell into disuse (no texts in this language have survived, since its written form did not exist).

In 1857, the American missionary Hyrum Bingham II (English) Russian. established a mission on Abaiang Island (formerly Charlotte Island, an atoll in the Gilbert Archipelago). He developed the written form of the Kiribati language based on the Latin alphabet and is still in use today. The Kiribati alphabet consists of 13 letters. Borrowings from English are adapted to Kiribati phonetics, such as the word kirib. te ka "machine".

 

Religious composition

Before Christianity, traditional beliefs were common on the islands (Kirib. te maka - “magic”). They included the worship of the god Nareau, belief in spirits and ghosts. Now the majority of believers are Catholics 55.8% (57,503 people). There are 33.5% of Congregationalists (34,528 people). Followers of other religious movements (Assembly of God, Mormons, Baha'is, Seventh Day Adventists) are few in number.

 

Political structure

Political system

Kiribati is a sovereign democratic republic.

The modern political system of Kiribati was formed on the basis of the system of colonial government that existed on the islands for 87 years.

After gaining independence, on July 12, 1979, the Constitution of the Republic of Kiribati was adopted, in which the features of both a presidential and a parliamentary republic are traced, which, according to its drafters, best reflects the egalitarian socio-political structure of Kiribati society, in which universal equalization acts as a principle organization of public life.

 

Legislature

The supreme legislative body is a unicameral parliament, or maneaba-ni-maungatabu (Kirib. Maneaba ni Maungatabu), consisting of 42 deputies, of which: 40 deputies elected by popular vote, 1 deputy nominated by the Banaban community of Fiji through the Council of Elders, and the Attorney General , the highest official of justice. The term of office of Parliament is four years.

 

Executive branch

The head of state and government is the president, or beretitenti (Kirib. Beretitenti), elected for four years by popular vote. The number of presidential candidates is strictly regulated: there should be no more than four and no less than two. Candidates are elected from among the members of Parliament during its first congress after the general election. In the future, these candidates take part in the presidential elections. The President appoints the Cabinet of Ministers from the members of Parliament, which includes the Vice President, or Kauoman ni Beretitenti (Kirib. Kauoman ni Beretitenti), the Attorney General and up to ten ministers. The Cabinet of Ministers is an executive body that is collectively responsible to the country's parliament.

 

Judicial branch

The judiciary is completely independent, and its hierarchy is based on the standard model: Magistrates' Court, High Court and Court of Appeal. In addition, the state retained the right to apply to the Privy Council of Great Britain on a limited range of issues. Until 1977, there were island judges who tried minor cases. The lower court is the magistrates' court, which consists of three magistrates.

Article 88 of the Kiribati Constitution establishes the High Court of Kiribati, consisting of a Chief Justice and a panel of judges. The Chief Justice is appointed by the President in consultation with the Cabinet after consultation with the Public Service Commission. Other judges are also appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice and the Public Service Commission. The Chief Justice must be an expatriate (that is, an immigrant) who has worked abroad as a judge or has been a barrister or solicitor (special categories of lawyers) for at least 5 years.

Article 90 of the Constitution of the Republic of Kiribati establishes a Court of Appeal composed of the Chief Justice, other judges of the High Court of Kiribati and a group of persons appointed by the President with the consent of the Chief Justice and the Public Service Commission. The President of the Court of Appeal is appointed by the President with the consent of the Cabinet after consultation with the Public Service Commission. According to the Law on Courts of Appeal, the Court of Appeal must sit with at least three judges.

 

Constituencies

Each inhabited island of Kiribati and the three districts of Tarawa Atoll (South Tarawa, Betio and North Tarawa) form electoral districts. The number of representatives from each of them depends on the population of this constituency: constituencies with a population of less than 2000 people are represented by 1 deputy in parliament; with a population of 2,000 to 3,000 people - 2 deputies; those districts with a population of more than 3,000 people - 3 deputies.

 

Political parties

Despite the existence of various political factions shortly before independence, no steps were taken to formalize the place and role of political parties in the governance of Kiribati's structures. At present, the existence of various political associations is reduced either to support or non-support of the president's policy - this is how the government party and the opposition were formed. Over time, the words kirib entered the political lexicon. bwatei, or party, and kirib. te kaaitara, or opposition.

The modern political scene is dominated by two political parties: Boutokaan-te-Koaua, or Pillars of Truth, (Kirib. Boutokaan te Koaua) and Maneaban-te-Mauri, or Defend the Maneaba (Kirib. Maneaban te Mauri ). Currently, the BTK party is in power (controls 18 out of 42 seats in parliament), and its leader, Anote Tong, is the president of the country. The MTM party, led by the former president of Kiribati, Teburoro Tito, controls 7 seats in parliament (the remaining 19 seats are occupied by non-partisans). The activities of the BTK in the political sphere are quite successful: the former presidents of Kiribati, Jeremiah Tabai and Teatao Teannaki, were members of this party.

 

Armed forces

The Republic of Kiribati does not have its own armed forces. The defense of the country is carried out by the armed forces of Australia and New Zealand.

 

Police

The Kiribati Police Force is a supervisory and enforcement agency. In 2004, there were 152 people per police officer. Despite the fact that the police forces are quite effective in combating crime and maintaining order in the country, there are several areas in which the police cannot cope with the situation, for example, in matters of traffic control.

The police commissioner is appointed by the president of the country after the approval of the candidature by the Cabinet of Ministers and the Civil Service Commission.

Foreign policy and international relations
One of the priorities of Kiribati's foreign policy is to draw the attention of the world community to the problem of global warming, which threatens the future of the country.

Kiribati maintains friendly relations with all countries of the world. The closest cooperation is carried out with the countries of the Pacific region: Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, which provide significant financial assistance to the developing economy of Kiribati. The first three provide most of the country's foreign aid. Taiwan and Japan also have licenses to fish in Kiribati waters for a limited period of time. Kiribati's only diplomatic mission is in Fiji.

As one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of global warming, Kiribati actively participates in international diplomatic efforts related to climate change, especially in the conferences of the parties (COPs) to the UNFCCC. Kiribati is a member of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). Founded in 1990, the alliance aims to unite the voices of small island developing states in the fight against global warming. AOSIS has been very active since its inception, presenting the first draft text in Kyoto negotiations since 1994.

Diplomatic relations between the USSR and Kiribati were established on September 5, 1990. However, there is no Russian embassy on the territory of the Republic of Kiribati. The interests of Kiribati in Russia are represented by the British Embassy. Russian interests in Kiribati are represented by the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Indonesia. The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Kiribati (concurrently) since November 2012 is M. Yu. Galuzin, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Indonesia.

In September 1999, the Republic of Kiribati became the 186th member of the United Nations. Also, this Micronesian state is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the Pacific Islands Forum, the International Bank, the Asian Development Bank, ACP countries and other international organizations.

In November 1999, Kiribati agreed to allow the Japan National Space Agency to lease land on Christmas Island for a period of 20 years for the construction of a spaceport. The agreement stipulated that Japan should pay $840,000 a year, as well as compensate for any damage to roads and the environment. A lower-ranking Japanese-built tracking station operates on the island, and an abandoned airfield has been designated as a runway for a proposed reusable unmanned space shuttle called HOPE-X. However, in 2003, Japan finally canceled this project.

In 2009, Kiribati President Anote Tong attended the Forum of Countries Vulnerable to Climate Change (V11) in the Maldives and signed the Bandos Island Declaration on November 10, 2009, pledging to show moral leadership and start greening their country. economy.

In November 2010, Kiribati hosted the Tarawa Climate Change Conference to support the president's initiative to hold a consultative forum between vulnerable states and their partners. The conference attempted to create an environment conducive to multilateral negotiations under the auspices of the UNFCCC. The conference was the successor to the Forum on Vulnerable Climate Conditions. The ultimate goal of the event was to reduce the number and intensity of setbacks between the COP parties, explore the elements of an agreement between the parties, and thus support the contributions of Kiribati and others to the COP 16 conference held in Cancun, Mexico from November 29 to December 10 2010.

In 2013, President Tong of Kiribati stated that climate change-driven sea level rise was "inevitable":

For our people to survive, they will have to migrate. Either we can wait until we have to move people en masse, or we can prepare them from now...

In New York in 2014, according to The New York Times, Anote Tong stated that "water is predicted to be higher than the highest point on our lands this century," according to The New York Times. In the same year, he completed the purchase of a 20-kilometer piece of land on Vanua Levu, one of Fiji's largest islands.

 

Relations with China and Taiwan

On November 7, 2003, Kiribati established diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (on the island of Taiwan), which contributed to the complication of relations with the PRC, in particular, the Chinese satellite tracking station was closed, the construction of the main stadium in South Tarawa by the Chinese was stopped, and 6 doctors from Kiribati National Hospital. To somehow justify his actions, President Tong said that relations with Taiwan would have a positive impact on the economic development of Kiribati and attract Taiwanese businessmen to this small Pacific state. Taiwan responded to the termination of Kiribati's close cooperation with the PRC with financial assistance to the Micronesian Republic in the amount of A$ 8 million, which should be spent on completing the construction of a stadium in South Tarawa.

The termination of relations with the PRC has had an acute impact on the economy of Kiribati, as China annually allocated assistance to this state in the amount of A$ 2 million.

On September 20, 2019, the government of Kiribati restored diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China and simultaneously terminated diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said China offered Boeing 737s and ferries to Kiribati to make the decision.

Relations with the European Union
The Republic of Kiribati cooperates closely with the European Union, for example, in the field of fisheries. On September 16, 2003, an agreement was signed giving vessels belonging to EU member states the right to fish for tuna in the exclusive economic zone of Kiribati. The EU also provides significant financial assistance to the republic in the development of solar energy on remote islands, the development of agriculture (cultivation of seaweed). However, cooperation between Kiribati and individual countries of the Union is very narrow in scope. For example, the UK invests mainly in education, while France invests in healthcare.

 

Economy

General characteristics

With the exception of the period from 1994 to 1998, during which there was significant economic growth, driven primarily by government stimulus measures, the economy of Kiribati has developed at a relatively slow pace. In 1999, the GNP grew by only 1.7%. The economy of this agrarian country continues to be dominated by the public sector. A combination of slow economic growth and low levels of services resulted in Kiribati being ranked eighth out of the 12 Pacific member states of the Asian Development Bank in 1999 by the Human Development Index.

Significant obstacles to the development of this microcountry are not only the small land area, but also environmental and geographical factors, including remoteness from world markets for products, geographical dispersion, vulnerability to natural disasters and a very limited domestic market.

Due to the limited opportunities for economic growth in terms of the area of ​​the country, the presence of natural resources, small labor resources and low GNP, and therefore a narrow internal market, the only way for economic development for this island nation is to attract migrants (as one of the factors of production), remittances and monetary assistance from other states (financial transfers) and reliance on the state (state financing of the economy). This development model emphasizes maintaining a high level of domestic consumption.

The Republic of Kiribati became independent in 1979, shortly after the development of the phosphate deposit on the island of Banaba, and these minerals accounted for 85% of the country's total exports, 45% of the GNP and 50% of the state budget. Since then, copra and fishery products have been the main sources of income for Kiribati. The main employer in the country is the state, which, despite its capabilities, cannot solve the problems of employment of young citizens of the country, many of whom do not have a sufficient level of education. Another source of income for Kiribati in recent years has been the issuance of licenses to fish in its special economic zone.

 

Monetary system and finance

The monetary unit of Kiribati is the Australian dollar, however, since 1979, Kiribati dollars have also been in circulation on the territory of the republic, equated in a ratio of 1: 1 to the Australian dollar. There are 7 types of coins in circulation in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 Kiribati cents, 1 and 2 dollars. All coins, except for the 50 cent and $1 coins, have the same dimensions as the corresponding Australian ones. The 50 cent coin is round, while the 1 dollar coin is dodecagonal.

The 2005 budget had expenditures of AUD 73,058 thousand and income of AUD 78,563 thousand. Education is the largest item in the budget expenditures. The cost of maintaining order and security of the country is 7 405 thousand Australian dollars. The share of health care expenditures in 2005 was 17% of all expenditures. Among the incomes, the receipts from taxes and duties are of the greatest importance, and the decisive role is played by indirect taxes - 62% of all incomes.

An important source of replenishment of the country's budget are also postage stamps, which are of interest to philatelists from all over the world.

In the period from 2001 to 2005, there was a decrease in revenues to the state budget, which is associated with a decrease in income from the issuance of fishing licenses in the exclusive economic zone of the country.

There are two banks in Kiribati, the Development Bank of Kiribati and the Bank of Kiribati. The latter bank is a joint institution between the Government of Kiribati and Westpac Banking Corporation of Australia (Australia). The Bank of Kiribati provides a full package of financial services, including international transactions.

 

Agriculture

Despite the fact that in Kiribati there are significant restrictions on the development of agriculture (in particular, due to the small area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe atolls), the technique of cultivating land in this Pacific republic has reached a fairly high level. The development of agriculture, however, had a negative impact on the vegetation cover of the islands, in particular, led to deforestation.

One of the most important crops in Kiribati is the giant swamp taro, which is used to make valuable starch. However, recently, due to the increase in the consumption of rice and flour, the role of taro has somewhat decreased. There is also a decrease in the yield of this agricultural plant on Tarawa Atoll, which is associated with the spread of the parasitic beetle of the species Papuana huebneri.

Despite the country's small area and poor soils, agriculture plays a key role in Kiribati's economy. Significant progress has been made in increasing the production of copra, one of the country's main export commodities. In 1998, 7577 tons of copra were exported with a total value of A$ 4.5 million (for example, fish was exported in the amount of A$ l million). Other important agricultural plants include pandanus, breadfruit, papaya (lat. Carica papaya).

One of the priority areas for economic development is to reduce the share of imported agricultural products. Achieving this goal is possible only with the intensification of agriculture, which will also solve the problems of providing food for the growing population of the country (however, this is problematic to implement).

The coastal waters and lagoons of the atolls are home to many valuable species of fish and shellfish. A significant place in the diet of local residents is occupied by the mollusks bred by them (lat. Tridacnidae).

 

Fishing

Fishing continues to play a vital role in the lives of the Kiribati (or I-Kiribati) people. In the ocean, they are mainly engaged in fishing for fish of the mackerel family, especially tuna species of lat. Katosowonuspelamis and lat. Thunnus albacares and fish lat. Cypselurus spp. In the lagoons, fish of the lat species is bred. Chanos chanos. The lagoons of the atolls are also home to many invertebrates, such as mollusks, of which there are almost 1,000 species in the country. In 1977, two species of seaweed, Eucheuma alcarezii and Eucheuma spinosium, were introduced to Kiribati from the Philippines, and the main centers of cultivation were the islands of Tabuaeran and Abaiang. Recently, the country has seen an increase in income from the sale of these marine plants. The government of the republic is also making attempts to breed pearl oysters to obtain valuable black pearls.

With an exclusive economic zone of more than 3.5 million km² - the second largest in the Pacific - it's no surprise that the fishing sector is one of the state's main sources of income. The state budget is also replenished by issuing licenses to foreign vessels for the right to fish in this economic zone, while the income from licensing is largely dependent on weather conditions (mainly El Niño and La Niña events). The main interest for foreign ships is tuna. Kiribati is currently seeking ways to develop the local fishing industry, however, to implement this plan, it is necessary to overcome the problems associated with the price and availability of fuel, the remoteness of world markets and competition from developed countries.

 

Transport

The remoteness from each other of the islands of the republic greatly affects the transport and communications of the country. In Kiribati, the length of highways is only 670 km (mainly on Tarawa Atoll). In 2004, there were only 2,070 vehicles in Kiribati. There is no railway transport in the republic. The main government agency responsible for maritime and air traffic is The Ministry of Information, Communications & Transport. Regular domestic flights from Tarawa Atoll to other Gilbert Islands are operated by the national airline Air Kiribati. Also, twice a week, a Nauru Airlines plane lands on Tarawa Atoll.

Domestic maritime traffic is carried out by both government and private companies, international - by Bali Hai Lines, Chief Container Services and Kiribati Shipping Services Limited, delivering goods to Australia and Asian countries.

 

International trade

In 2017, exports of goods were estimated at $51.5 million, imports at $92.4 million.

Almost 80% of exports are fish and seafood (whole frozen fish ($31.9 million), fish fillets ($6.47 million), live fish ($1.27 million), etc.), the second largest The most important place is occupied by coconut palm products (copra ($7.52 million) and coconut oil ($2.02 million)). The main buyers are Mexico (35%), the Philippines (19%) and Japan (19%).

Imports are dominated by prepared food products (almost 20%, including processed meat, sugar and tobacco), petroleum products (11%), as well as machinery, equipment and vehicles. In addition, consumer goods and agricultural raw materials for food purposes (unprocessed poultry meat, grain, rice, etc.) are imported. The main suppliers are Fiji (24%), Australia (17%) and China (16%).

 

Connection

All telecommunications services in the country, including domestic and international telephone communications, facsimile and mobile communication services, the Internet, are provided by Telecom Services Kiribati Limited (TSKL), founded in 1990 and fully owned by the government of Kiribati since June 1, 2001.

The country's national AM and FM radio, Radio Kiribati, is state-owned and primarily broadcasts news from the BBC. On the territory of the country, you can also catch the programs "Radio Australia" and "Voice of America". In 1999, opposition forces in Kiribati attempted to start their radio broadcasting, but the government of Kiribati curtailed it, fined the owners for trying to import unlicensed broadcasting equipment into the country. After the trial, the license of this radio company was nevertheless issued, since then there has been one private radio station New Air FM in the country, headed by the former president of the republic, who also produces the only regular private radio station in the country. newspaper.

Kiribati's two main newspapers are published weekly. The newspaper Te Uekera (Kirib. Te Uekera) is owned by the government of Kiribati and has a circulation of about 1,800 copies, which is mainly distributed in Tarawa Atoll, where most of the country's population lives. In 2003, the cost of one room was 60 Australian cents. The newspaper is published in two languages: Kiribati and English.

Kiribati Newstar is the Pacific nation's first privately owned newspaper, founded by former opposition president Ieremia Tabai. The newspaper is predominantly published in the Kiribati language, with occasional articles in English. The cost of one issue in 2003 was also 60 Australian cents, and the circulation was comparable to that of Te Uekera.

Various religious organizations also publish their own newspapers and other periodicals.

According to the Newspaper Registration Law, all newspapers must be registered by the state. In October 2002, an amendment to this law was adopted, according to which the government of the country was given the right to revoke the license of various newspapers if publications in these newspapers offend the feelings of the people or contribute to the spread of crime through newspaper articles. However, in 2002-2003 the license was not revoked from any of the periodicals.

One obstacle to media development in Kiribati is the high cost of imported printing equipment.

 

Tourism

Since the 1980s, the country has seen an increase in the number of tourists. In 1993, 4730 people visited the country, in 2005 only 3037 people, in 2012 6 thousand people; compared to other Pacific states, this is very small - Kiribati is one of the least visited countries on the planet (among countries for which visit statistics are available).

The main obstacle to the development of tourism in Kiribati is poor air links with other countries of the world, as well as the lack of a hotel business: as of 1989, there were only two hotels in South Tarawa, one on Abemama Island, as well as on Christmas Island. The level of services provided is low. The main types of recreation for foreigners: beach tourism, sport fishing, diving, bird watching.

The main flow of tourists is directed either to the Gilbert Islands (primarily to Tarawa Atoll), or to Christmas Island (or Kiritimati).

Mostly tourists from Australia, Fiji, the USA and New Zealand visit the country.

Citizens of a number of states, primarily the Commonwealth of Nations, do not need a visa to visit Kiribati or have the right to stay on the territory of the republic without it for 30 days. A visa can be obtained at a number of consulates of Kiribati in other countries: in Fiji, Australia, Germany, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Great Britain, USA. The cost of a visa ranges from 40 (for one visit to the country) to 70 Australian dollars (multiple use visa).

 

Culture

The culture of Kiribati is unique in many ways. Dances are known (mainly on the island of Tabiteuea), unique military art, figurines made from special strings. There are traditional customs and beliefs. There is a widespread belief in ghosts and magical creatures.

 

Social organization of the pre-colonial inhabitants of Kiribati

Before the advent of Europeans, the settlements of the Kiribati people were numerous villages scattered throughout the island, or kainga (Kirib. Kainga), which were not only the main type of settlements, but also the main form of social organization. Kaings consisted of small communities, or mwenga (kirib. mwenga), which were built according to the tribal principle. Each kainga in the central and southern parts of the Gilbert Islands owned a certain land area, as well as a small area of ​​coastal waters rich in fish. Later, with the advent of the British colonial administration at the end of the 19th century, this system of public ownership of marine resources was abolished.

The social life of Kiribati villages is centered on the maneaba (from the Kirib. maneaba, in which "manea" - building, "te aba" - people, earth), an important traditional public building. Maneaba is in every village in Kiribati, and the country's parliament is called maneaba-ni-maungatabu (from the Kirib. Maneaba ni Maungatabu), which means "the house where the people meet." Maneaba is a multifunctional building in which, first of all, residents discuss the affairs of the village. Maneaba is both a public court and a place for celebrations and dancing. Each family in the maneab is assigned a certain place, which is called boti (kirib. boti). The main role in the maneab is played by the elder, or uniman (Kirib. unimane), highly revered by the locals.

 

Kiribati canoe

The significant remoteness from each other of the islands of Kiribati, fish, as one of the main food products, determined the skill of the people of the country in fishing and canoe construction.

 

Kitchen

Traditionally, the staple foods of the Kiribati people were seafood and coconuts. Sources of carbohydrates from starch were not plentiful due to the poor climate of the atolls, and only the northernmost atolls were suitable for permanent agriculture. The bwabwai crop (Cyrtosperma merkusii, "swamp taro") was eaten only during special celebrations, along with pork. The plant is an important source of carbohydrates in a diet dominated by fish and coconuts. Its cultivation is difficult and time-consuming, the plant has deep cultural and practical significance. The roots need to be cooked for several hours to reduce the toxicity of the bulbs, but they are rich in nutrients, especially calcium.

To supplement their rather low carbohydrate intake in their diet, the people of Kiribati processed the sap and fruits of pandanus and coconut trees into various drinks and foods such as te karewe (fresh daily coconut palm juice), te tuae (dried pandanus fruit cakes) and te kabubu (dried pandanus flour) made from pandanus fruit pulp and te kamaimai (coconut juice syrup) made from coconut juice. After World War II, rice became a daily staple in most households, a trend that continues today. Most seafood, particularly fish, is eaten as sashimi with coconut juice, soy sauce, or vinegar-based dressings, often paired with chili peppers and onions.

Coconut crabs and mud crabs are traditionally given to breastfeeding mothers, believing that the meat stimulates breast milk production.

 

Music and dancing

A significant place in the life of the Kiribati people is occupied by closely related music and dance: singing is always accompanied by energetic dances. The themes of Kiribati music are varied. These are songs about love and newlyweds, about rivalry, military, patriotic and religious songs. Performances of musicians in Kiribati are mainly held during major holidays. The main musical instruments are the guitar and the drum. Composers of music in Kiribati are called te-kainikamaen (Kirib. te kainikamaen), and those who perform songs are called rurubene (Kirib. rurubene).

 

Sport

The Republic of Kiribati was accepted into the Olympic Movement in July 2003, and already in 2004 this Micronesian state took part in the Olympic Games in Athens. Weightlifters and athletes from Kiribati have not achieved any success. In 2002, this country took part for the first time in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Kiribati has been represented in weightlifting, table tennis and triathlon.

 

Social sphere

Healthcare

Despite significant improvements in the country, there are still many health problems in Kiribati. Due to the fact that the republic has become a participant in world economic processes, diseases of the “Western way of life” have become widespread in it, associated with an increase in the diet of local residents of rice, refined sugar, canned food and carbonated drinks. These imported foods have supplanted the traditional food of the Kiribati people, such as the highly vitamin and nutrient-rich coconut drink, kamaimai, which was the country's staple drink a few years ago. Due to the increase in life expectancy and high population growth, this Pacific people is increasingly faced with the problem of overpopulation of the atolls (especially Tarawa). The result of this process has already been the pollution of groundwater, which is already very scarce on the islands, and the spread of diarrheal diseases. Another consequence of globalization for Kiribati has been an increase in the number of people infected with HIV and tuberculosis (in 2003, the highest incidence of tuberculosis in the Pacific region was recorded). According to statistics, the most common diseases in the country are diseases of the respiratory system and diarrhea. The main causes of death are cardiovascular disease and liver disease. As a result of pollution of groundwater and lagoons, there was an outbreak of cholera in Tarawa in 1977. In 1999, Kiribati ranked second in Oceania after Papua New Guinea in terms of infant mortality. Another problem on the islands is frequent fish poisoning. Smoking is widespread, according to WHO research, in 2018 Kiribati was the most smoking country in the world (about 52.2% of the population use tobacco)

The spread of Western lifestyles and urbanization has led to an increase in the incidence of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, gout, coronary heart disease, paralysis, and some types of cancer. In recent years, there has been a trend in Kiribati towards a deficiency of vitamins and minerals in the body of local residents (lack of iron has led to an increase in the number of people suffering from anemia, vitamin A - eye diseases).

The main source of protein on the islands is fish, the volume of which per person is one of the highest in the Pacific region. But, despite the fact that many local residents are engaged in catching fish, some of which is sold in the markets, 7% of preschool children and 69% of pregnant women in 1998 were deficient in proteins.

In March 2004, Kiribati acceded to the Convention against Discrimination against Women. Abortion is prohibited.

 

Education

Until 1965, the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellis Islands did not take any measures to integrate and coordinate the activities of primary schools. Primary education was provided either by the administration of the colony or by the Christian church, and there was no continuity in their teaching. An extensive education strategy was developed in 1965, which was further refined and passed by the House of Representatives in 1970. This document was based on the idea of ​​introducing a nine-year primary education for all children, which was to prepare them for participation in the social and economic development of the colony, and would also create a foundation of knowledge for further education in secondary schools. As a result, measures were taken to unite and enlarge the existing small schools, and grants were introduced. In 1977, the colonial government of the Gilbert and Ellis Islands, in preparation for independence, took control of all but the six private primary schools that existed at the time. Grants were abolished, but in the 1980s, the first government of the independent Republic of Kiribati, in pursuit of the goal of making secondary education available to all, implemented a new educational policy that introduced free compulsory primary education from grades 1 to 7 (i.e., for children 6- 12 years).

In 1998, the first four Junior Secondary Schools were opened in Kiribati, the appearance of which is associated with the decree of President Teburoro Tito of October 1994. In subsequent years, secondary schools were opened on all the inhabited islands of Kiribati (a total of 21 schools appeared). The duration of study in a junior high school is 3 years (children 12-14 years old), after which students must pass a state exam for admission to the last fourth year of study at a senior secondary school (Eng. Senior Secondary School).

In 2005, 16,133 children were enrolled in the primary grades of 91 schools. At that time, there were 25 students per teacher in the school. At the end of 2005, there were 7,487 children in secondary schools in Kiribati. At the same time, there were 11 students per teacher.

Further education can be obtained at the Teachers Training College, Tarawa Technical Institute, Marine Training School, Tarawa Branch of the University of the South Pacific of the South Pacific).