Nauru, the official name is the Republic of Nauru (naur.
Repubrikin Naoero), formerly Pleasant Island, is a dwarf state on
the coral island of the same name in the Western Pacific Ocean with
an area of 21.3 km² and with a population of 10,084 people (2011
Nauru is located 42 km south of the equator. The nearest island - Banaba - is located 288 km to the east and belongs to the Republic of Kiribati. The island is located northwest of Tuvalu, 1300 km northeast of the Solomon Islands, northeast of Papua New Guinea, southeast of the Federated States of Micronesia and south of the Marshall Islands.
Nauru is the smallest independent republic on Earth, the smallest island state, the smallest state outside of Europe and one of two countries in the world (along with Switzerland) that do not have an official capital (the unofficial capital of Nauru is the city of Yaren, where the country's parliament and airport are located). ).
Settled by people from Micronesia and Polynesia in 1000 BC. e. At the end of the 19th century, Nauru was annexed and declared a colony of the German Empire. After World War I, Nauru became a League of Nations mandate administered by Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. During World War II, Nauru was occupied by Japanese troops and was liberated by the Allied advance across the Pacific. After the end of the war, the country entered the guardianship of the UN. Nauru gained independence in 1968 and became a member of the Pacific Community in 1969.
The state is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. On September 14, 1999, the Republic of Nauru was admitted to the UN. Nauru is a member of the South Pacific Commission.
The origin of the word "Nauru" is not exactly known. As now, the
Nauruans in the distant past called the island "Naoero". The German
professor Paul Hambruch, who visited the island in 1909-1910, gave the
following explanation of the etymology of this word: according to him,
"Naoero" is an abbreviation of the phrase "a-nuau-a-a-ororo" (in modern
spelling - "A nuaw ea arourõ" ), which translates from the Nauruan
language as "I'm going to the seashore." However, the German Catholic
missionary Alois Kaiser, who lived on the island of Nauru for more than
30 years and intensively studied the Nauruan language, did not recognize
this interpretation, since in the local language, after the word
"seashore" used with the verb of motion, the demonstrative word "rodu"
should follow, which translates as "down". The Nauruans themselves
understand the word "seashore" as the deepest, low-lying place of the
island. It is used both in relation to land and to the sea. The very
fact that Hambruch does not take into account the word "rodu" in
explaining the etymology of the word "Naoero" suggests that his
assumptions are unfounded.
The island has other names: the English colonists until 1888 called Nauru "Pleasant" island (eng. Pleasant Island). The Germans called it "Nawodo" or "Onawero". Later, the spelling of the word "Nauru" was changed to "Naoero" so that Europeans would correctly pronounce the name of the country.
The island of Nauru lies in the western part of the Pacific Ocean, about 42 km from the equator. The nearest island - Banaba (Oshen) - is located 288 km east of Nauru and belongs to the Republic of Kiribati. The area of the exclusive economic coastal zone (EEZ) is 308,480 km², of which 570 km² is in territorial waters. It borders Kiribati and the Marshall Islands - the borders run along the borders of the exclusive economic zones.
Nauru Island is a raised coral atoll confined to the top of a volcanic cone. The island has an oval shape, from the east the coast is concave - there is the Gulf of Anibar. The coral reef that surrounds the island has been carved into several channels to facilitate access to the shore. The area of the island is 21.3 km², length - 6 km, width - 4 km. The length of the coastline is about 18 km. The highest point - 65 meters (according to various sources, 61-71 meters) - is located on the border of the districts of Aivo and Buada. Approximately at a distance of 1 km from the coast, the depth of the ocean reaches more than 1000 meters. This is due to the fact that in this place there is a steep cliff that reaches the ocean floor.
The surface of the island is a narrow coastal plain 100-300 meters wide, surrounding a limestone plateau, the height of which in the central part of Nauru reaches 30 meters. The plateau was previously covered with a thick layer of phosphorites (Nauruite), which was formed, presumably, from the excrement of seabirds. The island is bordered by a narrow reef (width - about 120-300 meters), exposed at low tide and dotted with reef peaks. There are 16 channels dug into the reef, allowing small boats to approach directly the shore of the island.
In the interior of the island there are huge limestone battlements
and pyramids left over from phosphorite mining. The height of these
structures in some places exceeds 10 meters, and the quarry itself is a
huge labyrinth with many hollows and depressions. The narrow gauge
railway was built specifically to facilitate the delivery of mined
phosphorites to the port of the island. There is almost no soil cover in
the area of limestone blocks, so all rainwater does not linger on the
surface, but seeps through the rock.
Nauru Atoll has existed since very ancient times. There is still a fringing reef of Tertiary corals. According to geological studies, in the Paleogene, the surface of the bottom of the modern lagoon of the island was 60 meters below the current level of the World Ocean (that is, almost the entire island was flooded with water). During the Miocene of the Neogene era, the atoll was significantly elevated: the bottom of the modern lagoon was 10 meters higher than the current level of the World Ocean. Presumably at the same time, the island of Nauru was subjected to severe erosion, as a result of which changes in the karst relief occurred. Subsequently, the central part of the island was under water, resulting in a shallow lagoon in the center of the atoll. Sediments of various deposits rich in phosphorus accumulated in numerous depressions and hollow spaces between the reef limestone. The flooding of the island lasted for a rather long period, so during this time the sediments in the lagoon underwent significant changes: the available phosphorus compounds were enriched.
This was followed by a long period of land uplift of Nauru. The surface of the lagoon was free of water, and plants began to appear on the atoll. At present, the interior of Nauru rises 20-30 meters above the ocean surface. Only one depression has survived on the island, the Buada lagoon, which is completely isolated from ocean waters.
There are two controversial points in the above picture of geological processes on the island of Nauru. First, the described process of formation of the local relief is called into question. In addition to the hypothesis that the relief was karstized and the reef limestone dissolved in water, there is another point of view. On the coast and in the rocky shallow waters, especially in the eastern part of the island, there are a large number of preserved small stone columns that have been eroded by sea waves for a very long period. It can be imagined how strongly the shallow water areas were exposed to the ocean during the uplift of the island. This space was not protected; in any case, the formation of wide passages took place in the rounded reef. Further uplift of the surface of Nauru only led to continued erosion, and rainwater smoothed out the stone columns and battlements.
Secondly, the process of formation of phosphorites remains
controversial. In the quarries where the so-called "nauruite" was mined,
it can be seen that the layer of phosphorus deposits has a very complex
structure: numerous fragments of various heights are typical.
Consequently, the original accumulation of phosphorites, which usually
form from the dead mass of plankton, has been subjected to multiple
changes under the influence of erosion and change in occurrence.
In the complex and long history of the island, there were periods of strong typhoons when debris was washed out. Similar changes can still be observed on many Pacific atolls. On Nauru, a thin layer of soil was constantly washed away, while nodules of phosphorites through which rainwater seeped through did not disappear. Gradually, the hollow landforms—primarily the depressions and crevices of the reef limestone boulders—filled in with gravel and debris.
There is another version of the origin of the phosphorite deposit on the island: in the process of weathering of the rocks, depressions and sharp cones formed on the surface, which served as an ideal place for nesting birds. Gradually, the island became covered with excrement of seabirds. The resulting guano gradually turned into calcium phosphate. The content of phosphate in the rock of the island exceeds 90%.
The climate on Nauru is equatorial monsoon, hot and humid. The
average temperature is about +27.5 °C. During the daytime, it usually
fluctuates between +26 °C and +35 °C, and at night between +22 °C and
+28 °C. Daytime temperatures can reach +38‑41 °C. The average annual
rainfall is 2060 mm. There are dry years, and in some years up to 4500
mm of precipitation falls. Such significant fluctuations are explained
by the phenomena of El Niño and La Niña. The rainy season lasts from
November to February, when the western monsoons (cyclone season)
prevail. From March to October, northeasterly winds dominate. About 30
million m³ of water falls annually on the island with an almost complete
absence of surface runoff.
The government of Nauru is concerned about the problem of global warming, since if the level of the World Ocean rises, the island is threatened by flooding, so the republic is trying to attract the attention of the world community, primarily through the UN.
There are no rivers on the island of Nauru. In the southwestern part
of the island there is a small, slightly brackish Lake Buada, which is
fed by rainwater. Its level is 5 meters higher than the level of the
ocean surrounding Nauru.
One of the problems of the island is the lack of fresh water. Against the backdrop of an increase in the population of the country, it is becoming more acute every year. There is only one desalination plant operating on the island, which runs on electricity generated by Nauru's only power plant. However, due to the very high cost of electricity, the desalination plant often stops working. During rains, the population collects water in special containers and then uses it for domestic needs, for watering gardens and for livestock. During the dry season, water is brought in by ship from Australia.
In Yaren County, there is a small underground lake, Mokua Vel, connected to the Mokua cave system. Near the coast, on the border of the Iyuv and Anabar districts, there is a cluster of small lagoons, surrounded on all sides by land.
The soil layer on the coast of Nauru is very thin - only 25 centimeters - and consists of more coral fragments and gravel than sand. On the central plateau, there are mainly thin soils on top of limestone blocks, consisting of organic matter and sand or dolomite with a low content of phosphates. The arable land layer is about 10-30 cm deep and overlies reddish-yellow subsoils that vary in depth from 25 to 75 cm.
Due to the very small size of the island, its isolation from the
mainland and large archipelagos, Nauru has only 60 native vascular plant
species, none of which are endemic. Severe destruction after World War
II, monoculture expansion of the coconut palm and mining of phosphorites
led to the destruction of the vegetation cover in most of Nauru, which
has now been restored to 63% of the territory.
Coconut palms, pandanus, ficus, laurel and other deciduous trees grow everywhere on the island. Various types of shrub formations are also widespread. The densest vegetation is confined to the coastal strip of the island with a width of about 150-300 m and to the vicinity of Lake Buada. Hibiscus is found in the interior of Nauru, as well as plantings of cherry, almond and mango trees.
The low-lying areas of the island are covered with dense vegetation, represented mainly by low-growing plants, while woody plants predominate in the higher areas.
The fauna of Nauru is poor. All mammals were introduced by people: small rats, cats, dogs and pigs, as well as chickens. Reptiles are represented by lizards. The avifauna is more diverse - only 6 species (waders, terns, petrels, frigatebirds, pigeons). Nauru is home to only one species of songbird, the Nauru warbler (Acrocephalus rehsei), endemic to the island. Lots of insects and other invertebrates. The waters around the island are home to a variety of sharks, sea urchins, shellfish, crabs and many poisonous marine animals.
The island of Nauru was inhabited by Micronesians and Polynesians
about 3,000 years ago. According to one version, the first settlers
arrived in Nauru from the Bismarck Islands and represented the
Proto-Oceanic ethnos, even before its breakup into Melanesians,
Micronesians and Polynesians. Traditionally, the islanders took into
account their maternal lineage. Before the arrival of Europeans, the
population of the island of Nauru consisted of 12 tribes, which is
reflected in the twelve-pointed star on the modern flag and coat of arms
of the Republic of Nauru. On November 8, 1798, English captain John
Fearn, sailing from New Zealand to China, was the first among Europeans
to discover Nauru, who gave the island the name Pleasant Island, which
was actively used for 90 years. At that time, the formation of
medium-complex stratified social systems was observed on Nauru. The main
crops were coconut palm and pandanus. Nauruans fished on the reef, from
canoes and with the help of specially trained birds - large frigates.
They were also able to acclimatize hanos fish (lat. Chanos chanos) in
Lake Buada, providing themselves with an additional source of food.
Fishing was done exclusively by men.
In the 19th century, the first Europeans began to settle on the island. These were runaway convicts, deserters from whaling ships approaching the island, and later individual merchants. Aliens (Europeans) brought venereal diseases to the island, soldered the Nauruans, kindled internecine wars, which became incomparably more bloody due to the use of firearms.
On April 16, 1888, the island of Nauru was annexed by Germany and included in the protectorate of the Marshall Islands under the control of the Jaluit Company. The population of the island was taxed, but for some time the island continued to live its secluded life. The situation changed after large deposits of phosphorites were discovered here. In 1906, the Australian company Pacific Phosphate Company received permission to develop them. This left a deep imprint on the entire subsequent history of Nauru.
On August 17, 1914, the island of Nauru was captured by Australian troops during the First World War. A small military detachment was transferred on a ship owned by the Pacific Phosphate Company.
The Australians were only slightly ahead of the Japanese, who were also ordered to occupy the island rich in phosphorites. The Australians pursued several goals: firstly, it was important to disrupt the German Etappendienst system by capturing the transmitting station on the island (the station was part of a network of radio stations providing communication with German ships and ships); secondly, the government of the Commonwealth was wary of the actions of Japan, quite rightly suspecting the latter of expansionism. As a result of the war in 1923, Nauru received the status of a mandated territory of the League of Nations and was transferred under the joint administration of Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, but Australia carried out administration. These countries bought out from a private company all its rights to phosphorite deposits and created a joint company, British Phosphate Commission, to develop phosphorite deposits and sell them. Intensive development of phosphorites was carried out until the Second World War, but only meager compensation was paid to the indigenous people.
In early December 1940, the German auxiliary cruisers Komet and Orion
sank one Norwegian and several British merchant ships off Nauru. Some of
them were waiting for the loading of phosphorites off the coast of the
island. The smoke of the burning phosphorite carrier "Triadika" was
visible from the coast of Nauru. The island's radio station received
alarms sent by the Komata. The information received was transmitted by
radiogram to the headquarters of the Australian Navy. The wreckage of
sunken ships was thrown by the waves onto the coast of Nauru; almost all
the captured crew members and passengers were landed by the Germans on
December 21 on the island of Emirau in the Bismarck archipelago. Some of
them were able to quickly reach the city of Kavieng and inform the
Australians about the impending attack on the island of Nauru, but
Australia did not have warships capable of preventing the raid in this
area. On December 27, 1940, the Komet cruiser returned to Nauru to
bombard port facilities. Standing on the beam of the island, the Komet
raised the war flag of the Kriegsmarine and sent a radio signal with the
order to clear the piers and the oil storage, but the crowd of curious
people did not disperse, and only a warning shot dispersed the
islanders. After shelling, only ruins remained on the site of the port.
The resulting fire destroyed a large pile of phosphorites, already
purchased by the Japanese.
On August 25, 1942, the island of Nauru was captured by Japan and liberated on September 13, 1945. During the Japanese occupation, 1,200 Nauruans were deported to the Chuuk Islands (then known as Truk) in the Caroline Islands, where 463 of them died. In January 1946, the surviving Nauruans returned to their homeland.
Since 1947, Nauru has become a United Nations Trust Territory, while continuing to be jointly administered by Britain, Australia and New Zealand; administration was again carried out by Australia. In the mid-1970s, up to 2 million tons of phosphate rock were mined and exported annually, worth A$24 million. In 1927, a popularly elected Council of Leaders was created, which was endowed with only limited deliberative powers. In the 1940s and 1950s, an independence movement took shape on the island. In 1951, the Council of Chiefs was transformed into the Nauruan Council of Local Government, an advisory body to the colonial administration. By 1966, it was possible to achieve the creation of local Legislative and Executive Councils, which ensured internal self-government in Nauru. Independence was proclaimed on January 31, 1968.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, in the American Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, proposals were made to create a single state on the territory of Micronesia and part of the islands of Polynesia, which was supposed to include Nauru. However, these plans were not destined to come true, and the trust territory itself broke up into four states - the Marshall Islands, Palau, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.
The territory of Nauru is divided into 14 administrative districts, which are combined into 8 electoral districts.
Based on the 2011 census, the island's population is young and rapidly growing; the total population at the time of the census was 10,084 inhabitants (5,105 men and 4,979 women), up from 9,233 inhabitants in 2006; The population has increased by 9.22% or 851 people since 2006. The average annual growth rate during this period was 1.844%, that is, the annual population growth was within 170 people per year, for the period 2006-2011. However, the current population growth is much higher than 1.8% as Nauru's birth rate is increasing at around 29‰, which means an increase of about 300 people per year. At the current high rate of growth, the population will double and reach 20,000 inhabitants in 2038.
There is an increase in the total fertility rate due to the recovery of economic life, the total fertility rate (TFR) increased from 3.4 births per woman in 2004 to 4.3 in 2010. In the period 2007-2011, there were, on average, 350 births per year, which is approximately equal to the birth rate of 35 ‰.
Life expectancy at birth for the period 2007-2011 was 57.5 and 63.2 years for men and women, respectively; for men, life expectancy has not changed, while for women, life expectancy has increased by 5 years, when in the period 2002-2006 the total life expectancy for men was 57.5 years, and for women - 58.2 years.
Number and placement
According to the October 2011 census, the population of the Republic of Nauru was 10,084 people, including 5,105 men and 4,979 women. Population density - 473.43 people. per km². In addition, on the territory of the island there is a camp for refugees who tried to illegally enter Australia; at the end of June 2016, it contained 442 people, including 338 men, 55 women and 49 children; a significant proportion of the refugees come from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.
In 1968, at the time of independence, the population was over 6,000 (6,057 in 1966).
The birth rate in Nauru is estimated at 24.47 per 1000 inhabitants, the death rate is 6.65 per 1000, and the natural population growth is 1.781%. Infant mortality in 2007 was estimated at 9.6 per 1,000 newborns.
The proportion of children under 15 years old in 2007 was 37.8% (3813 people), of the adult population from 15 to 60 years old - 59.3% (5983 people), over 60 years old - 2.9% (287 people) . The average life expectancy for men in 2011 was 65 years, for women - 75 years.
There is no official capital or cities on the island. The President's residence is located in the Meneng district, while government offices and parliament are located in the Yaren district. The entire population of the island lives along the coast, as well as around Lake Buada.
Sex and age structure
The registered resident population in 2011 consisted of 5,105 males and 4,979 females. Men outnumbered women by 126, resulting in a sex ratio of 103, meaning there were 103 men for every 100 women. Since 1992, however, the sex ratio has steadily declined, with 105 men for every 100 women.
The composition of Nauru's population is largely the result of the mining industry. Workers in the 1930s were imported from different parts of the world to work in the mines. Early reports show that in 1939 the foreign population was equal to the native Nauruan population. In 1977, the proportion was 60% foreign and 40% indigenous. These proportions increased in 1992 to 70% of foreigners. In 2006, the share of foreigners dropped to 6% as a result of the massive exodus of migrant workers and their families due to the collapse of the phosphate mining industry. The phosphate industry continues to drive Nauru's economy, trade and external relations and is likely to continue to have a clear and direct impact on the population in the future. About 91% (9031 people) of the population of Nauru are the indigenous people of the republic - the Nauruans. Of the total population of Nauru, people from other Pacific Islands (mainly Fijians and Tungarans) make up 4%, Europeans - 1.6% (161 people), Chinese - 1.5% (151 people). The proportion of foreign citizens in the country's population is high.
Based on the language of the Nauruans, it is customary to refer to the Micronesian group of peoples, however, not only Micronesians, but also Polynesians and Melanesians took part in the formation of this ethnic group.
Nauruans speak the Micronesian language, Nauruan. Until 1968, the
Republic of Nauru was jointly owned by Australia, Great Britain and New
Zealand, so English, along with Nauruan, is the official language. The
Nauruan English Pidgin is also used on a daily basis, especially by
The writing of the Nauruan language is based on the Latin alphabet and included 17 letters. Subsequently, due to the significant influence of other languages - primarily German, Tok Pisin and Kiribati - the alphabet expanded to 28 letters. A significant contribution to the study of this Micronesian language was made by the Catholic missionary Alois Kaiser, who wrote the textbook of the Nauru language, as well as the American (originally from Germany) Protestant missionary Philip Delaporte.
Today, Nauru is mostly inhabited by Christians. The majority of Nauruans (60.5% - 6098 people) are representatives of Protestant churches, including 35.2% (3552 people) are followers of the Nauruan Congregational Church, which has its own chapels in the districts of Meneng, Buada, Anabar and Nibok, as well as the main church in Aiwo County. Believers from the Assembly of God - 12.8% (1291 people), the independent church of Nauru - 9.4% (945 people). There are small groups of Adventists, Baptists and Jehovah's Witnesses in the country.
About 32.5% (3278 people) of the inhabitants of Nauru are followers of the Catholic Church, which has its own chapel in the Yaren district, as well as a school in the Eva district (Kaiser College). About 5% of the inhabitants profess Buddhism and Taoism, 2% are Bahá'ís. A small group of Nauruans adhere to a traditional belief that includes the worship of the goddess Eijebong and the island spirit Buitani.
The government restricts the activities of some denominations, such as the Modern Church of Jesus Christ and Jehovah's Witnesses (adherents are mainly among foreigners working in the Phosphate Corporation of Nauru). When a Jehovah's Witness missionary from the Marshall Islands visited Nauru in 1979, he was deported.
In 1995, some of the restrictions were lifted. For example, the citizens of Nauru were given the right to preach from door to door.
The national flag, coat of arms, anthem and constitution of the Republic of Nauru were adopted and approved in 1968.
Nauru is an independent republic. The constitution, adopted on January 29, 1968 (amended on May 17, 1968), establishes a republican form of government with a Westminster system of parliamentarism and some features of a presidential form of government.
The highest body of legislative power is the unicameral parliament, consisting of 19 deputies. Until 2013, the number of deputies was 18. The procedure for electing members of parliament is determined by the Constitution of Nauru. Elections are popular; Only a citizen of Nauru who has reached the age of 20 can become a deputy. Members of Parliament take an oath upon taking office. The term of office of members of parliament is 3 years. Before the expiration of the term, the powers may be terminated in the event of the dissolution of Parliament by the Speaker after consultation with the President of the country.
At their first meeting, members of parliament elect the speaker of parliament and his deputy, after which they proceed to elect the president of the country from among their members.
The head of state and government of Nauru is the President. On June 11, 2013, as an experiment, the country's parliament decided to separate the posts of president and prime minister. The manner in which the President and Prime Minister are elected is determined by the Constitution of Nauru. Only a member of Parliament can be elected President. The election takes place at a parliamentary session immediately after the parliamentary elections. A presidential candidate is considered elected if he receives a simple majority of votes. The term of office of the president is 3 years, and one person cannot hold the office of president and member of parliament at the same time. Prior to the expiration of the term, powers may be terminated in the event of resignation, persistent inability of the president for health reasons to perform his duties, or removal from office (impeachment). At least half of all deputies of parliament must vote for the dismissal of the president. After the impeachment of the president, presidential elections are called. If the president is not elected within seven days after the decision of the parliament to remove the president from office, the parliament is automatically dissolved.
The President appoints from the Parliament the Cabinet of Ministers, consisting of no more than 6 and no less than 5 ministers (including the President). The Cabinet of Ministers is an executive body that is collectively responsible to the country's parliament. In the manner prescribed by law, the president introduces a state of emergency, decides on pardons, appoints judges of the Supreme Court of Nauru, resident magistrates of district courts (with the consent of the chief judge).
The judiciary in Nauru is completely independent. Common law operates in the republic - a legal system in which judicial precedent is recognized as the source of law. Under common law and the Adopted Laws Act 1971, part of the Nauruan traditions, practices and institutions constitute the legal system of Nauru.
The Nauruan judiciary system includes the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, District Courts and Family Courts. According to the Nauru Lands Committee Ordinance, the country has a land committee that resolves land disputes and has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Nauru.
Article 48 of the Constitution of Nauru establishes the Supreme Court of Nauru, consisting of a chief justice and a panel of judges. The Chief Justice, like other justices of the Supreme Court, is appointed by the President of Nauru. Only citizens of the Republic of Nauru who have worked as barristers or solicitors in the country for at least 5 years and whose age does not exceed 65 years become judges of the Supreme Court of Nauru.
In many matters, the highest court is the Supreme Court of Australia.
The territory of the Republic of Nauru is divided into 8 constituencies.
All citizens of Nauru over the age of 20 have the right to vote. Participation in voting is compulsory: in case of non-appearance on voting day, a fine is imposed at the polling station.
There are 3 political parties in Nauru (Democratic Party, Naoero Amo and Center Party), but, as a rule, the majority of deputies in the local parliament are not members of political parties, being independent.
Armed forces and police
The Republic of Nauru does not have any national armed forces. Under an informal agreement, the security of the island is carried out by Australia. However, 3,000 Nauruans of military age are at the disposal of the republic. Of these, less than 2,000 people are suitable for military service for health reasons.
Internal security is provided by a few national police forces. The
most common offenses in Nauru are violations of the speed limit,
violations of privacy, public order and bicycle theft.
Foreign policy and international relations
The Republic of Nauru has a special status in the Commonwealth of Nations, of which it became a member in 1968 after independence. From May 1999 to January 2006 the republic was a full member of this organization; since September 14, 1999, it has become the 187th member of the United Nations. Also, this state is a member of the Asian Development Bank (52nd member since September 1991), the international organization of the Countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific region and other international organizations.
Until February 2021, it was part of the Pacific Islands Forum.
The Republic of Nauru maintains diplomatic relations with many countries of the world. Its main partners are Australia, Great Britain, India, Taiwan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, USA, Thailand, Philippines and Japan.
On December 15-16, 2009, the Republic of Nauru became the fourth country in the world to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, after Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
Relations with the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China
On July 21, 2002, the Republic of Nauru severed diplomatic relations with the partially recognized Republic of China, established back in 1980, and established diplomatic relations with the PRC. Nauruan President Rene Harris signed an agreement in Hong Kong with the People's Republic of China, according to which the country recognized only one government of China - the government of the PRC. The People's Republic of China, on the other hand, committed itself to provide financial assistance to Nauru in the amount of $60 million, as well as to help pay off $77 million of the debt of General Electric.
The reaction of the Republic of China followed immediately: the government of the republic accused the PRC of dollar diplomacy and did not rule out the possibility of demanding from the government of Nauru the payment of a debt in the amount of 12.1 million US dollars, which went to build a hotel in Meneng.
On May 9, 2005, a meeting was held in Majuro between Nauruan President Ludwig Scotti and Republic of China President Chen Shui-bian. Shortly after, on May 14, diplomatic relations between Nauru and the Republic of China were officially resumed, which complicated relations with the PRC. On May 31, China severed relations with Nauru. Taiwan provides significant assistance to Nauru in agriculture, fishing, and tourism.
Relations with Australia
Nauru maintains a close relationship with Australia, which plays a key role in trade and investment. Australia is represented in the Republic of Nauru by a Consul General, a Vice Consul and two representatives from the Australian Department of Immigration. The Republic of Nauru, in turn, is represented by the Consul General in Melbourne.
In August 1993, the governments of the two countries signed the Compact of Settlement, which ended the litigation of Nauru against Australia in the International Court of Justice over the rehabilitation of lands that were mined for phosphate rock before Nauru's independence. As a result, Australia paid Nauru A$57 million and pledged another A$50 million over 20 years.
Nauru is working with Australia to combat smuggling in the region.
On the territory of Nauru, there is an Australian immigration center, which contains citizens of various countries who tried to illegally enter Australia by sea. As of 2016, it contained more than 400 people. There are many documents that reflect the facts of violence and abuse against refugees in Nauru, including cases of sexual abuse of children. The inhumane conditions in the refugee camps on Nauru have been reported by the United Nations Refugee Agency and other international organizations.
Relations with EU countries
In August 1995, Nauru, like Kiribati, severed diplomatic relations with France after it tested nuclear weapons off the Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls in French Polynesia. However, on December 15, 1997, diplomatic relations with France were restored after the French government announced a halt to nuclear weapons testing in the region. In turn, the President of Nauru, Kinza Klodumar, appreciated the significant French assistance to the small nations of the Central and South Pacific.
In general, Nauru maintains friendly relations with the European Union. European countries mainly help this Pacific state in the energy sector.
Relations with the Soviet Union and Russia
Diplomatic relations between Nauru and the USSR were established on December 30, 1987. Currently, the Russian Ambassador to the Commonwealth of Australia concurrently is the Ambassador to the Republic of Nauru. In 2010, Russia allocated $50 million to Nauru to solve social problems. This decision in the media was associated with the fact that in 2009 Nauru recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
On September 24, 2014, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nauru, Baron Waka, signed an agreement on a visa-free regime, which entered into force on May 14, 2015.
With an abundance of phosphorites, the Republic of Nauru, in terms of
per capita income of $13,000 in the 1970s and 1980s, belonged to the
richest countries in the world. The gross national product in 1986 was
$20,000 per capita. The economy of the island then largely depended on
the influx of labor from outside - mainly from neighboring island states
- Kiribati and Tuvalu. At that time, the value of exports of
phosphorites was four times the amount of imports, and Australia, New
Zealand, Japan and the United Kingdom were the main foreign trade
partners. Anticipating the closure of the only source of foreign
exchange earnings in the near future, the government invested a
significant part of export earnings in real estate abroad and special
accumulation funds. However, when the mineral reserves were almost
exhausted, it turned out that the state did not take enough care of the
future of the country.
The mining of phosphorites has had a devastating effect on the relief and vegetation cover of the plateau in the central part of the island. By 1989, the territory, which occupies about 75%, was actively developed, and about 90% of the forest that covered the plateau was destroyed (only 200 hectares of vegetation remained). No land reclamation measures were taken, and by the end of the 20th century, up to 80% of the land had turned into a wasteland resembling a “lunar landscape”.
In 1989, the Republic of Nauru filed a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice over the actions of Australia during the administration of the island - and in particular over the severe environmental consequences resulting from the development of phosphate rock. Australia had to pay compensation. The depletion of the mines also led to political instability, from 1989 to 2003 the government changed 17 times in the country.
In the 1990s, the island of Nauru turned into an offshore zone. Several hundred banks were registered there, which in 1998 received deposits from Russia worth 70 billion US dollars. Under pressure from the FATF (Intergovernmental Commission on Combating Money Laundering) and under the threat of sanctions from the United States, the Republic of Nauru was forced in 2001 to restrict, and in 2003 to ban the activities of offshore banks and take measures against money laundering.
The Republic of Nauru used to sell passports to foreign citizens (so-called "investor passports"), but in recent years this practice has been abandoned.
At the beginning of 2003, an acute political crisis erupted in Nauru. There were two contenders for the role of president at once: Rene Harris and Bernard Doviyogo. During the clashes that broke out, the presidential residence burned down and telephone communications were cut off. Communication with the outside world for several weeks was carried out only when a ship with a satellite phone entered the port.
A significant part of the country's income in recent years has been Australian aid. Keeping refugees on their territory seeking to get to Australia is an important income of the country, sponsored by Australia.
Bananas, pineapples, papaya, mangoes, breadfruit, coconut palms are grown on the coastal strip of the island, which mainly go to the local market.
Nauru's fishing industry is still in its infancy, with only two small fishing boats in the country that fish mainly for the domestic market. Some of the tuna caught is exported to Australia and Japan, but incomes are still very low: in 2001, for example, only about 600 kg of tuna per week were exported. In 2000, the first fish market appeared on Nauru, which also provided part of the country's population with work.
Recently, a significant source of replenishment of the local budget has become income from the issuance of licenses for the right to catch fish in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). So, in 2000, the income amounted to about 8.5 million Australian dollars. The main partners in this area are fishing companies from China, South Korea, Taiwan, the USA and Japan.
Aquaculture is also developing on Nauru: in small artificial reservoirs on the island, hanos fish is bred, mainly going to the domestic market.
In the 1980s, the extraction of phosphorites decreased significantly (from 1.67 million tons in 1985-1986 to 162 thousand tons in 2001-2002) and was completely stopped in 2003. But thanks to the investment of the Australian phosphate mining company Incitex Pivot, the mining infrastructure was restored, and already in September 2006, the export of phosphate rock resumed. Presumably, the primary reserves of this rock should have been enough until 2009-2010.
Food, fuel, machinery and equipment, building materials, and consumer goods are imported into the country.
The length of the roads to Nauru is about 40 km. The length of paved roads is 29 km, of which 17 km are located along the coast. A 12-kilometer unpaved road stretches from the area of phosphorite mining to the coast. Nauru International Airport is located in the south of the island. The national airline of Nauru is Nauru Airlines, which operates four Boeing 737s.
Nauru has a 3.9 km long railway linking the phosphorite mining area in the center of the island with a port on the southwest coast. There is no public transport and most families use private vehicles. There is sea communication.
In 2017, exports amounted to $24.7 million, imports - $35.6 million.
Almost 70% of export earnings come from phosphates. The main trading partners are Australia and Japan (the share of each of these countries is 24%), followed by South Korea (16%). The main imports are machinery, equipment, foodstuffs and chemical products. The main supplier is Australia (63%), followed by Fiji (12%) and India (11%).
The first postage stamps were issued on Nauru in 1916. They were UK stamps overprinted with "NAURU".
Nauru's only radio station is owned by the government and mainly broadcasts Radio Australia and the BBC. The island also has a government television, Nauru TV.
Nauru has no regular print media. The newspapers Nauru Bulletin (in English and Nauru) and The Visionary (a newspaper owned by the opposition Naoero Amo party) are published from time to time. The Central Star News and the Nauru Chronicle are published biweekly.
Since September 1998, the Internet has appeared on Nauru, it is provided by the CenpacNet company. Subscription users are estimated to make up only half of the total Internet audience in Nauru. Back in May 2001, CenpacNet launched several state-of-the-art Internet cafes under its own brand. They provide users with Internet access at a cost of $5 per hour. In addition, in the cafe you can scan documents and process digital photos.
The telecommunication system of the island is well developed. Many public telephones have direct access to the international IDD system, but due to the fact that the service is carried out through the networks of Australian companies, outgoing international calls are made through operators. Recently, there have been regular disruptions in communications, as foreign companies serving this market refuse to provide their services without pre-payment. Cellular communication of the AMPS standard covers almost the entire island. Local networks are not compatible with the GSM standard, therefore, if you need to maintain constant communication, it is recommended to rent local format phones at the offices of mobile operators.
Tourism on the island is limited due to environmental pollution left after the development of phosphorites. Russian citizens do not need a visa to visit Nauru. All passengers leaving the country will be charged an airport tax of AUD 25 payable directly at the airport. Children under the age of 12, crew members, passengers in transit, and persons holding special written permission from the Nauru Ministry of Justice are exempt from paying the fee.
In 2019, by the decision of the Parliament of the Republic, the Nauru Tourism Corporation was established, the main goal of which was the development of tourism in the country.
Monetary system and finance
At the beginning of the 21st century, the government of Nauru faced many financial problems, primarily due to a decrease in the export of phosphorites. As a result, in 2002 the country was unable to repay debts to some creditors on time. The government continues to rely on the resources of the Bank of Nauru, which is trying to solve the problem of budget deficits and royalties.
The monetary unit of Nauru is the Australian dollar. The level of inflation on the island is quite high - 4% in 2001 (this is mainly due to an increase in oil prices on the world market and the cost of its transportation). In 2000, the budget deficit amounted to 10 million Australian dollars, or about 18% of the country's GDP. Public debt has increased - in 2000 it amounted to 280 million Australian dollars.
There is no sales tax in Nauru, however, a number of goods are subject to customs duties, the rules of which are changed from time to time. Tobacco products and alcohol are not taxed.
Shop opening hours: Monday to Friday - from 09:00 to 17:00, on Saturdays - from 09:00 to 13:00, but many private shops operate on their own schedule.
There is very little information about the early culture of the
island of Nauru: due to the strong influence of the West, many customs
and traditions have already been forgotten by the locals. The absence of
writing among the ancient Nauruans only complicates the study of the
cultural wealth of the country.
Social organization of the pre-colonial inhabitants of the island of Nauru
The early culture of the Nauruans was based on the culture of the 12 tribes that inhabited the island. There was no common leader on Nauru, and each tribe had its own history. Traditionally, tribes were divided into clans, and each person in it belonged to certain classes: temonibe (naur. Temonibe), emo (naur. Emo), amenengame (naur. Amenengame) and engame (naur. Engame). The two poor classes were called Itsio (Naur. Itsio) and Itiora (Naur. Itiora). The main factor in determining a person's belonging to a particular class was the origin of the mother. A privileged position was occupied by temonibe, who were allowed to engage in fishing and who even owned certain areas of the sea.
Most of the settlements were at that time on the seashore, and only a few were located near Lake Buada. The islanders lived in small "estates", consisting of two or three houses. Most of them united in villages. In total, there were 168 villages on Nauru, united in 14 regions, which currently form the 14 administrative districts of the island.
Each family on Nauru owned a plot, and some even owned fish ponds near Lake Buada. The land was inherited.
The national sport of Nauru is Australian football. There is also a
national football team, but it has not yet been recognized by either
FIFA or the Oceania Football Confederation due to the lack of
professional players and large stadiums in the country. The color of the
players' uniforms is blue with a yellow transverse stripe. The first
game of the national team with a team from another country took place on
October 2, 1994. In it, the Nauru team beat the Solomon Islands team
with a score of 2: 1. It was a huge win as the Solomon Islands were
considered the clear favorites (they won the Melanesia Cup the same
year). There are several sports grounds and stadiums on the island:
Linkbelt Oval (located in Aiwo County, but it is significantly outdated
and does not meet international standards), Meneng Stadium (built in
2006 and seats 3,500 people) and Denig Stadium.
Weightlifting, softball, basketball and tennis are very popular. The government of the country pays the most attention to weightlifting: it is in this discipline that Nauru has achieved the greatest success. After the sensational victory of weightlifter Marcus Stephen at the Commonwealth Games in 1990, the Nauru National Olympic Committee was established in Nauru. In 1992, Marcus became the first Nauruan to compete in the Barcelona Olympics. Nauru was officially accepted into the Olympic Movement in 1996. The first official athletes from Nauru were Marcus Steven, Gerard Garabwan and Quincy Detenamo.
The most successful tennis players in Nauru are David Detudamo and Angelita Detudamo.
As a result of an effective government program to address health problems, which has as its main goals the improvement of the water supply of the population and the implementation of constant sanitary and preventive measures, outbreaks of infectious diseases on the island have been avoided in recent years. Nevertheless, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as respiratory diseases, have become the main causes of death. The population of Nauru suffers greatly from obesity. According to the UN, Nauru ranks first in the world in terms of the number of people who are obese. In 2003, Nauru's adult prevalence of diabetes (30.2%) was the highest in the world. The causes of obesity in Nauru, as in other regions with a recent industrial past, are associated with the spread of cheap high-calorie foods, primarily canned meat.
One of the main problems in Nauruan health care is the problem of personnel, so the government of the country is trying to attract as many specialists as possible to this area. Medical care on the island is free. In July 1999, the Nauru General Hospital and the National Phosphate Corporation Hospital were merged into the Republic of Nauru Hospital, which employs only five doctors. People with serious illnesses are mostly sent to Australia for treatment.
In 1995-1996, health care expenditures amounted to 8.9 million Australian dollars, or 8.9% of the country's total budget. Most of the professional doctors are expatriates.
Education in Nauru is compulsory for children from 6 to 15 years old (grades 1-10). The educational system also includes 2 stages for young children: preschool (Eng. Pre-school) and preparatory stage (Eng. Preparatory School).
Primary education is provided during the first 6 years of schooling, i.e. for children aged 6 to 11. The first two years of study are held at the Yaren Primary School, the third and fourth at the Aiwo Primary School, and from the fifth at the Nauru College. At the end of elementary school, exams are taken to obtain a Certificate of Primary Education (Eng. Nauru Primary Certificate).
The next step is secondary school (grades 7-10 are compulsory and grades 11-12 are optional). After grade 10, exams are taken to obtain a Certificate of Secondary Education (eng. Nauru Junior Certificate). In the case of continuing education at the end of grade 12, exams are taken for a Certificate of Secondary Complete Education (eng. Pacific Senior School Certificate).
Residents of the island receive higher education abroad, mainly in Australia. Nauru also has a branch of the University of the South Pacific, which provides distance learning courses.
Education in Nauru is free.