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Tuvalu

Tuvalu

Summary

Tuvalu is an independent nation but is still part of a commonwealth arrangement with the UK.1 It is a collection of nine atolls in the South Pacific, and climate change is a large threat to the preservation of the islands. The highest point on the atolls is 15 feet above sea level, so as the sea level rises more land will be submerged. Residents of the islands are also threatened by tropical storms and flash floods that destroy homes.2 1 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/tv.html 2 https://www.thoughtco.com/geography-and-history-of-tuvalu-1435673

Demographics

Nationality
Tuvaluan
Population
10,698 (July 2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Languages
Religions

Explore Tuvalu Subcases

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Environment
Education
Poverty
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Family
Human Rights
Religion
Animals

Environment

Since Tuvalu is comprised of nine low-lying atolls, the country is very vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Some of these effects are the acidification of ocean water, ground water contamination, and rising sea and temperature levels.1 In 2015, the island was devastated by Cyclone Pam which caused massive flooding and destroyed many homes. The Australian government sent financial assistance and advised Tuvalu on preparation measures for future natural disasters.2

Education

The school system in Tuvalu consists of seven compulsory years of education. There is a significant need in Tuvalu for increasing the availability of education for students with disabilities and reforming the administration.1 Other students also suffer from a lack of educational resources, teachers, and inconsistency in curriculum from school to school.2

Poverty

Around 26% of people live below the national poverty line in Tuvalu.1 Only 15% of the population is employed, and the average worker makes only $1,000 per year.2 One of the ways that Tuvalu has been attempting to increase employment opportunities for its youth is by participating in the Australian Seasonal Worker Program. Additionally, the government receives funds from the Australian government for bolstering economic opportunities.3

Clean Water

Tuvalu is under imminent threat from climate change. Rising sea levels threaten homes as the highest elevation on the islands is only 15 feet above sea level. One-fifth of the population has already been forced from their homes because of destruction from tropical storms.1 Climate change has had a negative impact on the amount of water available since the temperatures have been increasing and viable groundwater sources are decreasing. Tuvalu receives financial assistance from New Zealand to remediate groundwater sources in order to alleviate the living conditions.2

Economy

Since Tuvalu is a nation of nine atolls that are extremely densely populated with no mineral resources and very limited export options, nearly all of their food and fuel are imported. The two most common economic activities are farming and fishing. There are limited employment opportunities and Tuvalu has attempted to expand into tourism, although fewer than 1,000 tourists visit annually. It is highly dependent on remittances from men who work on ships abroad and financial assistance from Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea.1 From 2012-2016, the country’s GDP steadily increased each year.2 An unusual source of income is connected to the country’s name—in 1998, it sold the rights to the domain “.tv” to entertainment companies, and it still receives millions of dollars in compensation Read More that boosts its economy.3 Show Less

Government

Tuvalu is a parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm that is still led by the Queen of England, as well as a prime minister. Independence was given to the island in 1978.1 In Tuvalu, no formal political parties exist and the prime minister is chosen by the members of Parliament.There are very few instances of political corruption, although Tuvalu receives aid from international donors who have expressed concern over the quality of governance on the island.2

Health

Despite its tiny size, Tuvalu has managed to provide primary health care and medical services free of charge. The islands have a collaboration where more extreme and serious medical cases are sent to nearby Fiji and New Zealand, which is becoming increasingly expensive. The leading causes of death are non-communicable diseases, specifically cardiac diseases. Tuvalu’s Ministry of Health has launched a program that seeks to educate the public on the effects of tobacco, alcohol, poor nutrition, and lack of physical activity on their health, as well increasing health coverage to the outer islands.1

Children

Some of the largest issues that youth currently face in Tuvalu are a lack of employment opportunities, inconsistent education, and underfunded youth activities.1 The government has not yet made significant advancements towards eradicating child labor and providing a safe environment for children. The legislative frameworks currently in place do not adequately protect youth from commercial sexual exploitation.2

Family

Marriage is highly respected by Tuvaluans. Once a couple gets married, they usually move in with the husband’s family and live with extended family members. Men are generally the heads of households and women are responsible for raising children.1 About one-third of the population lives on the main island of Funafuti, but those who live in rural areas often live in villages that are clustered by family.2

Human Rights

Traditional customs and cultural practices perpetuate gender discrimination and domestic violence. There are no laws to prevent sexual harassment or gender discrimination in the workplace, so women do not have as many opportunities for employment. Domestic violence is common, and victims often don’t report offense.1

Religion

98% of Tuvaluans identify as Protestant, and a small percentage of others adhere to traditional religions.1

Animals

Because of Tuvalu’s isolation, there are no indigenous mammal species. Dogs, rats, and mice were eventually introduced by explorers who discovered the islands. The surrounding waters have a diverse marine life including dolphins, whales, and many species of fish.1

Tuvalu

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