Australia-Oceania :: Kiribati

Introduction ::Kiribati

    The Gilbert Islands became a British protectorate in 1892 and a colony in 1915; they were captured by the Japanese in the Pacific War in 1941. The islands of Makin and Tarawa were the sites of major US amphibious victories over entrenched Japanese garrisons in 1943. The Gilbert Islands were granted self-rule by the UK in 1971 and complete independence in 1979 under the new name of Kiribati. The US relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix and Line Island groups in a 1979 treaty of friendship with Kiribati.

Geography ::Kiribati

    Oceania, group of 33 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the Equator; the capital Tarawa is about half way between Hawaii and Australia
    1 25 N, 173 00 E
    total: 811 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 187
    land: 811 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    note: includes three island groups - Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands
    four times the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    1,143 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    tropical; marine, hot and humid, moderated by trade winds
    mostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: unnamed elevation on Banaba 81 m
    phosphate (production discontinued in 1979)
    arable land: 2.47%
    permanent crops: 39.51%
    other: 58.02% (2011)
    typhoons can occur any time, but usually November to March; occasional tornadoes; low level of some of the islands make them sensitive to changes in sea level
    heavy pollution in lagoon of south Tarawa atoll due to heavy migration mixed with traditional practices such as lagoon latrines and open-pit dumping; ground water at risk
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    21 of the 33 islands are inhabited; Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Makatea in French Polynesia, and Nauru; Kiribati is the only country in the world to fall into all four hemispheres (northern, southern, eastern, and western)

People and Society ::Kiribati

Government ::Kiribati

    conventional long form: Republic of Kiribati
    conventional short form: Kiribati
    local long form: Republic of Kiribati
    local short form: Kiribati
    note: pronounced keer-ree-bahss
    former: Gilbert Islands
    name: Tarawa
    geographic coordinates: 0 53 S, 169 32 E
    time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    note: on 1 January 1995, Kiribati proclaimed that all of its territory was in the same time zone as its Gilbert Islands group (UTC +12) even though the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands under its jurisdiction were on the other side of the International Date Line
    3 units; Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands; note - in addition, there are 6 districts (Banaba, Central Gilberts, Line Islands, Northern Gilberts, Southern Gilberts, Tarawa) and 21 island councils - one for each of the inhabited islands (Abaiang, Abemama, Aranuka, Arorae, Banaba, Beru, Butaritari, Kanton, Kiritimati, Kuria, Maiana, Makin, Marakei, Nikunau, Nonouti, Onotoa, Tabiteuea, Tabuaeran, Tamana, Tarawa, Teraina)
    12 July 1979 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 12 July (1979)
    12 July 1979
    English common law supplemented by customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Anote TONG (since 10 July 2003); Vice President Teima ONORIO; note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Anote TONG (since 10 July 2003); Vice President Teima ONORIO
    cabinet: 12-member cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of the House of Parliament
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: the House of Parliament nominates the presidential candidates from among its members following parliamentary elections and then those candidates compete in a general election; president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for two more terms); election last held on 13 January 2012 (next to be held in 2015); vice president appointed by the president
    election results: Anote TONG 42.2%, Tetaua TAITAI 35%, Rimeta BENIAMINA 22.8%
    unicameral House of Parliament or Maneaba Ni Maungatabu (46 seats; 44 members elected by popular vote, 1 ex officio member - the attorney general, 1 nominated by the Rabi Council of Leaders (representing Banaba Island); members serve four-year terms)
    elections: legislative elections were held in two rounds - the first round on 21 October 2011 and the second round on 28 October 2011 (next to be held in 2015)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA, other 2 (includes attorney general)
    highest court(s): High Court (consists of a chief justice and other judges as prescribed by the president)
    note - the High Court has jurisdiction on constitutional issues
    judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president on the advice of the cabinet in consultation with the Public Service Commission (PSC); other judges appointed by the president on the advice of the chief justice along with the PSC
    subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; magistrates' courts
    Boutokaan Te Koaua Party or BTK [Anote TONG]
    Kamaeuraoan Te I-Kiribati Party or KTK [Tetaua TAITAI]
    Maurin Kiribati Pati or MKP [Rimeta BENIAMINA]
    note: there is no tradition of formally organized political parties in Kiribati; they more closely resemble factions or interest groups because they have no party headquarters, formal platforms, or party structures
    Kiribati does not have an embassy in the US; there is an honorary consulate in Honolulu
    the US does not have an embassy in Kiribati; the US ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Kiribati
    the upper half is red with a yellow frigatebird flying over a yellow rising sun, and the lower half is blue with three horizontal wavy white stripes to represent the Pacific ocean; the white stripes represent the three island groups - the Gilbert, Line, and Phoenix Islands; the 17 rays of the sun represent the 16 Gilbert Islands and Banaba (formerly Ocean Island); the frigatebird symbolizes authority and freedom
    name: "Teirake kaini Kiribati" (Stand Up, Kiribati)
    lyrics/music: Urium Tamuera IOTEBA
    note: adopted 1979

Economy ::Kiribati

Energy ::Kiribati

Communications ::Kiribati

    8,500 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    13,800 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    general assessment: generally good quality national and international service
    domestic: wire line service available on Tarawa and Kiritimati (Christmas Island); connections to outer islands by HF/VHF radiotelephone; wireless service available in Tarawa since 1999
    international: country code - 686; Kiribati is being linked to the Pacific Ocean Cooperative Telecommunications Network, which should improve telephone service; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2010)
    1 TV broadcast station that provides about 1 hour of local programming Monday-Friday; multi-channel TV packages provide access to Australian and US stations; 1 government-operated radio station broadcasts on AM, FM, and shortwave (2009)
    327 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    7,800 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 204

Transportation ::Kiribati

    19 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    total: 4
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2013)
    total: 15
    914 to 1,523 m: 10
    under 914 m:
    5 (2013)
    total: 670 km (2000)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    5 km (small network of canals in Line Islands) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    total: 77
    country comparison to the world: 58
    by type: bulk carrier 7, cargo 35, chemical tanker 6, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 12, refrigerated cargo 15
    foreign-owned: 43 (China 26, Hong Kong 2, Russia 1, Singapore 9, South Korea 1, Taiwan 2, Vietnam 2) (2010)
    Betio (Tarawa Atoll), Canton Island, English Harbor

Military ::Kiribati