Geographic and Governmental Profile of Marshall Islands

Background
After almost four decades under US administration as the easternmost part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Marshall Islands attained independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association. Compensation claims continue as a result of US nuclear testing on some of the atolls between 1947 and 1962. The Marshall Islands hosts the US Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Reagan Missile Test Site, a key installation in the US missile defense network.
Location
Oceania, two archipelagic island chains of 29 atolls, each made up of many small islets, and five single islands in the North Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and Australia
Geographic coordinates
9 00 N, 168 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Oceania
Area
total:
181 sq km
rank:
216
land:
181 sq km
water:
0 sq km
the archipelago includes 11,673 sq km of lagoon waters and includes the atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, Kwajalein, Majuro, Rongelap, and Utirik
Area - comparative
about the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
0 km
Coastline
370.4 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
Climate
tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November; islands border typhoon belt
Terrain
low coral limestone and sand islands
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point:
unnamed location on Likiep 10 m
Natural resources
coconut products, marine products, deep seabed minerals
Land use
arable land:
11.11%
permanent crops:
44.44%
other:
44.45% (2005)
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Irrigated land
0 sq km
Natural hazards
infrequent typhoons
Environment - current issues
inadequate supplies of potable water; pollution of Majuro lagoon from household waste and discharges from fishing vessels
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
the islands of Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein atoll, famous as a World War II battleground, surrounds the world's largest lagoon and is used as a US missile test range; the island city of Ebeye is the second largest settlement in the Marshall Islands, after the capital of Majuro, and one of the most densely populated locations in the Pacific
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of the Marshall Islands
conventional short form:
Marshall Islands
local long form:
Republic of the Marshall Islands
local short form:
Marshall Islands
abbreviation:
RMI
former:
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Marshall Islands District
Government type
constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force on 21 October 1986 and the Amended Compact entered into force in May 2004
Capital
name:
Majuro
geographic coordinates:
7 06 N, 171 23 E
time difference:
UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
33 municipalities; Ailinginae, Ailinglaplap, Ailuk, Arno, Aur, Bikar, Bikini, Bokak, Ebon, Enewetak, Erikub, Jabat, Jaluit, Jemo, Kili, Kwajalein, Lae, Lib, Likiep, Majuro, Maloelap, Mejit, Mili, Namorik, Namu, Rongelap, Rongrik, Toke, Ujae, Ujelang, Utirik, Wotho, Wotje
Independence
21 October 1986 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
Constitution
1 May 1979
Legal system
mixed legal system of US and English common law, customary law, and local statutes
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Christopher J. LOEAK (since 17 January 2012); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government:
President Christopher J. LOEAK (since 17 January 2012)
cabinet:
Cabinet selected by the president from among the members of the legislature
elections:
president elected by Nitijela (legislature) from among its members for a four-year term; election last held on 3 January 2012 (next to be held in 2016)
election results:
Nitijela elects Christopher J. LOEAK president on 3 January 2012
Legislative branch
unicameral legislature or Nitijela (33 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections:
last held on 19 November 2007 (next to be held by November 2011)
election results:
percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independents 33
the Council of Chiefs or Ironij is a 12-member body comprised of tribal chiefs that advises on matters affecting customary law and practice
Judicial branch
Supreme Court; High Court; Traditional Rights Court
Political parties and leaders
traditionally there have been no formally organized political parties; what has existed more closely resembles factions or interest groups because they do not have party headquarters, formal platforms, or party structures; the following two "groupings" have competed in legislative balloting in recent years - Aelon Kein Ad Party [Michael KABUA] and United Democratic Party or UDP [Litokwa TOMEING]
Political pressure groups and leaders
NA
International organization participation
ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Charles R. PAUL
chancery:
2433 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 234-5414
FAX:
[1] (202) 232-3236
consulate(s) general:
Honolulu
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Martha L. CAMPBELL
embassy:
Oceanside, Mejen Weto, Long Island, Majuro
mailing address:
P. O. Box 1379, Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands 96960-1379
telephone:
[692] 247-4011
FAX:
[692] 247-4012
Flag description
blue with two stripes radiating from the lower hoist-side corner - orange (top) and white; a white star with four large rays and 20 small rays appears on the hoist side above the two stripes; blue represents the Pacific Ocean, the orange stripe signifies the Ralik Chain or sunset and courage, while the white stripe signifies the Ratak Chain or sunrise and peace; the star symbolizes the cross of Christianity, each of the 24 rays designates one of the electoral districts in the country and the four larger rays highlight the principal cultural centers of Majuro, Jaluit, Wotje, and Ebeye; the rising diagonal band can also be interpreted as representing the equator, with the star showing the archipelago's position just to the north
National anthem
name:
"Forever Marshall Islands"
lyrics/music:
Amata KABUA
adopted 1981
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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