Geographic and Governmental Profile of 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.
Location
Oceania, group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines
Geographic coordinates
7 30 N, 134 30 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Oceania
Area
total:
459 sq km
rank:
197
land:
459 sq km
water:
0 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly more than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
0 km
Coastline
1,519 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
3 nm
exclusive fishing zone:
200 nm
Climate
tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November
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:
8.7%
permanent crops:
4.35%
other:
86.95% (2005)
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Irrigated land
NA
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, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
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
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of Palau
conventional short form:
Palau
local long form:
Beluu er a Belau
local short form:
Belau
former:
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Palau District
Government type
constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force on 1 October 1994
Capital
name:
Melekeok
geographic coordinates:
7 29 N, 134 38 E
time difference:
UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
16 states; Aimeliik, Airai, Angaur, Hatohobei, Kayangel, Koror, Melekeok, Ngaraard, Ngarchelong, Ngardmau, Ngatpang, Ngchesar, Ngeremlengui, Ngiwal, Peleliu, Sonsorol
Independence
1 October 1994 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
Constitution
1 January 1981
Legal system
mixed legal system of civil, common, and customary law
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Johnson TORIBIONG (since 15 January 2009); Vice President Kerai MARIUR (since 15 January 2009); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government:
President Johnson TORIBIONG (since 15 January 2009); Vice President Kerai MARIUR (since 15 January 2009)
cabinet:
NA
elections:
president and vice president elected on separate tickets by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held on 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012)
election results:
Johnson TORIBIONG elected president; percent of vote - Johnson TORIBIONG 51%, Elias Camsek CHIN 49%
Legislative branch
bicameral National Congress 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 on 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012); House of Delegates - last held on 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012)
election results:
Senate - percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 9; House of Delegates - percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 16
Judicial branch
Supreme Court; Court of Common Pleas; Land Court
Political parties and leaders
none
Political pressure groups and leaders
NA
International organization participation
ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IMF, IMO, IMSO, IOC, IPU, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Hersey KYOTA
chancery:
1701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006
telephone:
[1] (202) 452-6814
FAX:
[1] (202) 452-6281
consulate(s):
Tamuning (Guam)
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Helen P. REED-ROWE
embassy:
Koror (no street address)
mailing address:
P. O. Box 6028, Republic of Palau 96940
telephone:
[680] 488-2920, 2990
FAX:
[680] 488-2911
Flag description
light blue with a large yellow disk shifted slightly to the hoist side; the blue color represents the ocean, the disk represents the moon; Palauans consider the full moon to be the optimum time for human activity; it is also considered a symbol of peace, love, and tranquility
National anthem
name:
"Belau rekid" (Our Palau)
lyrics/music:
multiple/Ymesei O. EZEKIEL
adopted 1980
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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