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Visit Palau



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

Geography Palau

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

Geographic coordinates:  7 30 N, 134 30 E

Map references:  Oceania

Area:  total: 458 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 458 sq km

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

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  1,519 km

Maritime claims:   3 NM extended fishing zone: Climate:  wet season May
to November; hot and humid

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

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

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

Land use:  arable land: 22% permanent crops: 0% other: 78% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  NA sq km

Natural hazards:  typhoons (June to December)

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

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

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

People Palau

Population:  19,409 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 26.8% (male 2,678; female 2,522) 15-64 years:
68.6% (male 7,241; female 6,074) 65 years and over: 4.6% (male 426;
female 468) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.61% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  19.32 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  7.11 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  3.86 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.06
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.19 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.91 male(s)/female total population: 1.14 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  16.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   72.5 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  2.47 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  NA%

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

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

Nationality:  noun: Palauan(s) adjective: Palauan

Ethnic groups:  Palauan (Micronesian with Malayan and Melanesian
admixtures) 70%, Asian (mainly Filipinos, followed by Chinese, Taiwanese,
and Vietnamese) 28%, white 2% (2000 est.)

Religions:  Christian (Roman Catholics 49%, Seventh-Day Adventists,
Jehovah's Witnesses, the Assembly of God, the Liebenzell Mission, and
Latter-Day Saints), Modekngei religion (one-third of the population
observes this religion which is indigenous to Palau)

Languages:  English and Palauan official in all states except Sonsoral
(Sonsorolese and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are
official), and Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official)

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

Government Palau

Country name:   Republic of Palau conventional short form:  of the
Pacific Islands) local long form: Beluu er a Belau

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

Capital:  Koror; note - a new capital is being built about 20 km northeast
of Koror

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

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

National holiday:  Constitution Day, 9 July (1979)

Constitution:  1 January 1981

Legal system:  based on Trust Territory laws, acts of the legislature,
municipal, common, and customary laws

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Tommy Esang REMENGESAU,
Jr. (since 19 January 2001) and Vice President Sandra PIERANTOZZI (since
19 January 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head
of government head of government: President Tommy Esang REMENGESAU, Jr.
(since 19 January 2001) and Vice President Sandra PIERANTOZZI (since 19
January 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head
of government cabinet: Cabinet elections: president and vice president
elected on separate tickets by popular vote for four-year terms;
election last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held NA November 2004)
election results:  Esang REMENGESAU, Jr. 53%, Peter SUGIYAMA 46%; Sandra
PIERANTOZZI elected vice president; percent of vote - Sandra PIERANTOZZI
52%, Alan SEID 45%

Legislative branch:  bicameral Parliament or Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK)
consists of the Senate (9 seats; members elected by popular vote on a
population basis to serve four-year terms) and the House of Delegates
(16 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held NA November
2004); House of Delegates - last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held
NA November 2004) election results: Senate - percent of vote - NA%;
seats - independents 9; House of Delegates - percent of vote - NA%;
seats - independents 16

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

Political parties and leaders:  none

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  ACP, ESCAP, FAO, IBRD,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador Hersey
KYOTA FAX: [1] (202) 452-6281 telephone: [1] (202) 452-6814 chancery:
1150 18th Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20036

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: the Ambassador
to the Philippines is accredited to Palau; Charge d'Affaires Ronald
A. HARMS embassy: address NA, Koror
 P. O. Box 6028, Republic of Palau 96940 telephone:
Flag description:  light blue with a large yellow disk (representing
the moon) shifted slightly to the hoist side

Economy Palau

Economy - overview:  The economy consists primarily of tourism,
subsistence agriculture and fishing. The government is the major
employer of the work force, relying heavily on financial assistance from
the US. Business and tourist arrivals numbered 50,000 in FY00/01. The
population enjoys a per capita income twice that of the Philippines and
much of Micronesia.  Long-run prospects for the key tourist sector have
been greatly bolstered by the expansion of air travel in the Pacific,
the rising prosperity of leading East Asian countries, and the willingness
of foreigners to finance infrastructure development.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $174 million (2001 est.)  note: GDP
numbers reflect US spending

GDP - real growth rate:  1% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $9,000 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: NA% industry: NA% services: NA%

Population below poverty line:  NA%

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

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  3.4% (2000 est.)

Labor force:  8,300 (1999)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 20%, industry NA%, services NA%

Unemployment rate:  2.3% (2000 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $57.7 million expenditures: $80.8 million, including
capital expenditures of $17.1 million (FY98/99 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

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

Exports:  $11 million (f.o.b., 1999)

Exports - commodities:  shellfish, tuna, copra, garments

Exports - partners:  US, Japan, Singapore

Imports:  $126 million (f.o.b., 1999)

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

Imports - partners:  US

Debt - external:  $0 (FY99/00)

Economic aid - recipient:  $155.8 million (1995); note - the Compact
of Free Association with the US, entered into after the end of the UN
trusteeship on 1 October 1994, provides Palau with up to $700 million
in US aid over 15 years in return for furnishing military facilities

Currency:  US dollar (USD)

Currency code:  USD

Exchange rates:  the US dollar is used

Fiscal year:  1 October - 30 September

Communications Palau

Telephones - main lines in use:  6,700 (2002)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  1,000 (2002)

Telephone system:  general assessment: NA domestic: NA international:
satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2002)

Radios:  12,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  1 (1997)

Televisions:  11,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .pw

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  1 (2002)

Transportation Palau

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 61 km paved: 36 km unpaved: 25 km

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Koror

Merchant marine:  none (2002 est.)

Airports:  3 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2001)

Military Palau

Military branches:  NA

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  NA%

Military - note:  defense is the responsibility of the US; under a
Compact of Free Association between Palau and the US, the US military
is granted access to the islands for 50 years

Transnational Issues Palau

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002



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