Kiribati's population of about 110,000 is spread over a land mass of only 811 square kilometres on 33 islands widely dispersed over an exclusive economic zone of about 3.5 million square kilometres.
Kiribati remains a safe, peaceful and politically stable nation, reliant predominantly on fishing license revenue, remittances and the Revenue Equalisation Reserve Fund (RERF)—a trust fund—for income. Kiribati is a strongly egalitarian society with most economic activity undertaken by the government, and a very small but growing private sector.
However, Kiribati remains small, isolated and highly vulnerable to external economic and environmental factors. Kiribati is vulnerable to the immediate issues of fuel and food prices, fluctuations in fish stocks, appreciation of the Australian dollar and stock market fluctuations.
Environmental degradation and carrying capacity of the islands from a growing population (particularly in Tarawa), and impending vulnerability to climate change, all represent major long term concerns. Where information exists against the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Kiribati's performance is weak compared to other Pacific small island states. Kiribati faces many profound challenges and is increasingly engaging in open and frank dialogue about its concerns over long term sustainability.
Last reviewed: 5 April, 2012