U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to NauruNauru is a small island nation that, on a map, seems like a speck in the ocean. However, there are 10,000 people that live here, and a dire situation faces the population. As the world faces rising temperatures, island nations like Nauru are in grave danger. According to the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, sea levels are scheduled to rise between 2 and 3 feet this century. If greenhouse gas emissions are not slowed, sea levels could rise even faster, which would lead to a devastating situation in Nauru producing thousands of refugees and the loss of a homeland.

The current U.S. administration has been slashing budgets for foreign aid, and many have condemned this nationalistic approach to global poverty. The International Rescue Committee has called the proposed cuts “counterproductive and ill-timed,” especially in the face of global instability due to climate change. Considering the ways in which the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Nauru, these cuts seem counterproductive.

President Trump banned the provision of U.S. funds to countries supportive of Georgia’s “Russian Occupied Territories” in 2017. Since Nauru recognized these territories as independent, it is losing U.S. funding in a time of dire need. The U.S. has historically provided direct assistance to Nauru in the form of water-tanker trucks and aid for Nauru’s law enforcement. Many are urging the U.S. government to reconsider, as countries like Nauru are in extreme need of aid.

The fact of the matter is that when the U.S. provides foreign aid, it boosts national security and helps the global economy. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Nauru, as, according to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, everyone is better off when there are more middle-income countries in the world.

Shared prosperity prevents global epidemics and war, and promotes U.S. exports because more countries can afford them. In addition, it promotes global stability and improves the mindset of Americans in a humanitarian manner. Another way that the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Nauru is that it will prevent a refugee humanitarian crisis, as is happening in Syria.

More specifically to this country, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Nauru by the provision of seafood stocks to U.S. fisherman. Nauru is home to the world’s largest sustainable tuna fishery. The fishery is a global leader in tuna conservation, and it provides a product that many U.S. consumers enjoy. If Nauru is not provided aid, world tuna stocks will greatly deplete, which would be destructive to this industry.

The World Bank strongly champions the benefits of foreign aid to Nauru in relation to fish stocks, and addressed this topic in conjunction with increasing economic returns and sustainable management. If there is targeted investment, an extra $300 million could be netted without depleting fish stocks. This aid would greatly improve Nauru’s economy, creating benefits for U.S. exporters and fishermen.

The facts are clear: Nauru needs help, and it needs it now. Experts are condemning current U.S. policy that prohibits aid. The good news is, by providing funds to Nauru, the U.S. is also benefitting itself.

– Jillian Fox
Photo: Flickr

Sustainable Agriculture in NauruThe small island of Nauru was once one of the world’s wealthiest nations per capita, during its phosphorus mining boom in the 20th century. But while the island was cashing in on its phosphate deposits, it was also creating a catastrophic environmental and agricultural legacy that would last for years.

Unchecked mining left an excessively jagged landscape that was almost useless for plant or food growth. With only 20 percent of land suitable for agricultural use, according to the Commonwealth Network, sustainable agriculture in Nauru became a distant dream. Since the end of the mining boom, the island has made slow progress towards rehabilitating the island for environmental and agricultural purposes. To further these efforts, in 1993 the Nauru Rehabilitation Corporation provided funding for multiple land rehabilitation projects, only of which has been successful thus far.

Due to the lack of any sustainable agriculture in Nauru, 90 percent of the island’s food is imported. Nauru’s strained financial situation makes the high costs of imported food an even greater burden. To make up for these high costs, Nauru imports cheaper, processed food, creating a severe shortage of healthy food in the diets of Nauru’s inhabitants. Increased consumption of unhealthy food led to obesity, in turn causing a rise in non-communicable diseases, threatening the health and lives of the people.

Efforts towards creating sustainable agriculture in Nauru are focused on the essential aspects: energy, water and small crops. Moqua Well, Nauru’s only underground lake, is being used for a solar-powered purification system to deliver drinkable water to the island’s inhabitants.

Buada Lagoon, Nauru’s only surface lake, is surrounded by small crops and domestic gardens, which constitute a large part of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) plan for creating sustainable agriculture in Nauru. These provide the people with small and viable crops, mainly coconuts. Providing food security has proved a challenge; many of the agricultural and farming practices have fallen out of use, leaving the island’s current farmers ignorant of the best systems for crop cultivation.

The FAO provided training for farmers after an insect infestation caused a large decline in coconut production, demonstrating the proper methods for biological control and insect identification. Over 75 percent of Nauruan farmers used pamphlets found in the island’s resource center. Educating the farmers in these matters is the first and most important step towards creating food security and sustainable agriculture in Nauru.

– Kayla Rafkin

Photo: Flickr

development projects in NauruNauru, the world’s smallest republic, is home to 10,000 citizens. Its economic decline corresponds with the depletion of phosphate mines in the 1980s. Phosphate mining and exports resumed in 2005, but the Nauruan government estimates the phosphate deposits’ remaining life to be 30 years.

Nauru has become increasingly dependent on aid; Australia is its largest donor. The following development projects in Nauru aim to support an economically stable and independent republic.

Aid Investment Plan 2015-2016 to 2018-2019

This project aims to promote more effective public sector management, invest in nation-building infrastructure and support human development.

Electricity Supply Security and Sustainability Project

Investments will provide two new fuel-efficient generators for the Nauru Utilities Corporation (NUC), help repair the corporation’s power station and support institutional strengthening of the NUC.

Port Development Project

Alleviating Nauru’s reliance on its problematic port mooring system, this project will construct a quay wall and access causeway, reconstruct port buildings and storage containers and strengthen the Nauru ports’ institutional capacity.

Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative

Sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, this project will reestablish banking services, improve financial literacy and undertake reforms to expand financial services on the island.

Nauru Infrastructure and Essential Services

One of several Australian projects in the nation, the goals of this project are to plan, coordinate and maintain essential infrastructure and utilities development, identify key priorities for infrastructure development and provide improved access to affordance priority health facilities.

Australia’s 2015-2016 aid program enabled development projects in Nauru and contributed to:

  • Maintaining 100 percent primary school enrollment
  • Achieving 100 percent coverage for tuberculosis and hepatitis B vaccines for newborns
  • Introducing Nauru’s first taxation system
  • Establishing the Intergenerational Trust for the People of Nauru
  • Adopting the Queensland Certificate of Education
  • Graduating 14 students from the University of New England with an associate’s degree in teaching
  • Addressing domestic violence and decision-making

Current development projects in Nauru focus on the broader Nauruan community’s need and the government’s development priorities. Nauru’s stabilization will promote prosperity and security in the Pacific region.

– Carolyn Gibson

Photo: Flickr


As the smallest country in the world, Nauru is home to about 1,600 refugees. Close to 200 refugees will emigrate to the United States during the month of January 2018. The country relies on international aid to support various programs. The local population has been positively impacted by humanitarian aid to Nauru from various international donors.

Australian Humanitarian Aid to Nauru

From 2016 to 2017, the total estimated outcome provided by the Australian Official Development Assistance (ODA) was $22.4 million. For 2017 to 2018, the total estimate increased to $25.4 million.

As Nauru’s largest donor, Australia aims to promote security and prosperity in the Pacific area. It has an ongoing objective of developing Nauru as a fiscally responsible and stable government, including necessary infrastructure services. It also aims to assist with human development.

Results of Australia’s aid program include establishing the Intergenerational Trust of the people of Nauru and introducing the taxation system successfully. It contributed to maintaining primary school enrollment at 100 percent since 2013-2014.

Furthermore, the aid program worked to broaden roles for women in leadership while addressing domestic violence and reaching 100 percent coverage rate of vaccines for newborns against tuberculosis and hepatitis B.

Aid From New Zealand

From 2016 to 2017 New Zealand gave $1.7 million in humanitarian aid to Nauru. New Zealand aid projects focus on investing in skill development and education. Its goal is to create an able workforce and strengthen the justice system in Nauru.

Recent achievements include building a Legal Aid Office that has refined the efficiency of the courts, legal representation and increased residents’ knowledge about their equal rights. A skill course was also created for court clerks to improve the quality of paralegal representation.

In addition, correctional officers received conduct, discipline and human rights training. As a result, there were managerial improvements in many prisons.

The aid provided by New Zealand for education improved enrolment rates for secondary schools to 79.8 percent. In addition, the number of teachers obtaining a certificate, diploma or degree is up by 40 percent since 2005.

Thanks to these two countries, Nauru can continue to develop and prosper. Although poor health and education difficulties persist, the government, with the help of humanitarian aid to Nauru, is working to alleviate the problems its citizens face.

– Tara Jackson

Photo: Flickr

Infrastructure in NauruInfrastructure in Nauru is insufficient based on its citizen’s necessities. Isolated in the Pacific Ocean, Nauruans suffer water shortages and energy uncertainty, as power is supplied by diesel generators. New projects aim to reverse this situation, but antiquated facilities still remain.

The Island Ring is Nauru’s main road system. It circles the entire country country, shaping the island’s form with 17 concrete kilometers. This is the principal ground transportation infrastructure in the world’s smallest republic.

Nauru has one international airport, built in 1943 during the Japanese occupation in World War II. It operates with Naura Airlines, which has two air crafts and one all-cargo airplane. The airline flies to various Central and South Pacific islands.

Phosphate mine exploitation is the biggest economic activity on the island. In order to transport the mineral, a four kilometer railway was built in 1907. The train stopped operating in 2011, when the phosphate industry declined dramatically in Nauru. The government estimates that its phosphate deposits have a remaining life of about 30 years, according to BBC.

Energy infrastructure in Nauru is also not reliable. It has a limited capacity due to the nation’s reliance on diesel generators. However, the Asian Development Bank and the European Union have implemented the Nauru Electricity Supply Security and Sustainability Project which includes a new medium-speed 2.6-3.o megawatt diesel generator.

The Australian government also supports the island. With the Nauru Infrastructure and Essential Services Initiative, Australia has provided around $8.3 million in order to improve Nauru’s infrastructure. Thanks to this initiative, Nauru received the installation of a second power generator, and the Hospital Redevelopment Project was completed in February 2017.

Refugees who seek to get into Australia by boat are sent to Nauru’s asylum camp, an offshore retention settlement. Several news articles report that the situation in the camp is difficult since water supply is short and refugees do not have access to basic needs. The island does not have a reliable source of water, as it is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and has no rivers or lakes.

The only current solutions to the lack of water are desalination plants, which are expensive, and rain water storage systems. Even though four small plants operate on the island, the desalination process is insufficient and negatively affects Nauru’s environment. To resolve this problem, Nauru’s government, assisted by external investment, planned the installation of a solar PV system and a new desalination plant. This project is expected to produce up to 100 cubic meters of safe water per day.

Infrastructure in Nauru may be obsolete in certain sectors, but the government is working to improve it. Energy and water infrastructure is getting better thanks to the investment of international organizations. The next years will be crucial for the island as the first results from improvement projects begin to appear.

-Dario Ledesma

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in NauruSurrounded by the Pacific Ocean, Nauru struggles to find secure potable water sources. The island has no rivers and the groundwater is limited due to increasing salinity and contamination, problems that make rainwater collection and desalination plants the only reliable sources of water for almost 10,000 Nauruans. As a result, the water quality in Nauru has suffered.

Utilizing Rainwater

People in Nauru can take advantage of rainwater thanks to a system installed on the roofs of domestic and commercial buildings. A structure of tubes directs rain towards a small tank in which Nauruans store water, which can later be used for drinking and cooking.

However, between rainy seasons groundwater is the major source of water on the island. Unfortunately, the low water quality in Nauru means that groundwater is clean in few areas.

In the remaining areas, groundwater quality in Nauru is affected by wastewater disposal from houses, shops, commercial buildings and the refugee camp. In addition, some zones have an increasing salinity rate, which makes the water inadequate for human usage.

To resolve this problem, Nauru’s administration launched an expansion of the national water storage capacity in order to improve the water supply. The project consists of building more water tanks which will prevent water shortage during periods of drought. This solution also protects the environment since the desalination plants are energy-intensive and use fossil fuels for power.

Desalination Plants

Nauru’s secondary source of water are the four desalination plants throughout the island. However, the desalination plants require high quantities of energy for power. The desalination process is also expensive and affects the beach environment.

In 2014, water quality in Nauru took a remarkable turn with the development of a project by the Nauruan government to install a solar PV system and desalination plant. It is expected that this project could produce 100 cubic meters of safe water per day. In addition, the PV system will generate 1.3 percent of the energy demand in the island, doubling the existing energy production of solar energy. With these advantages, the project would also reduce water delivery to only three weeks.

Refugee camp

Nauru has a refugee camp that holds about 400 refugees that tried to enter Australia by boat. This camp requires water and other basic necessities such as shelter, food and clothes. As a result, when people in Nauru face water shortage, refugees also experience the same difficulty.

The camp often faces water shortages, resulting in serious water restrictions.

The PV system desalination plant and the new storage tanks that the Nauruan government is planning to implement are good solutions to addressing water quality and supply in Nauru for both citizens and refugees alike.

Dario Ledesma

Photo: Flickr

How to Help People in Nauru: Aid for Asylum SeekersNauru is the smallest republic in the world. The island located in the South Pacific has just 10,000 citizens. It has two main income sources: phosphate mines, which have been exploited over the years, and a detention camp that has become home to hundreds of refugees that tried to find asylum in Australia.

The process is simple: asylum seekers who attempt to reach Australia by boat are sent directly to Nauru’s detention camp. Recently, several publications have denounced the violence and the lack of human rights protections that the refugees experience in the camp. How to help people in Nauru has turned into a two-pronged topic, one for the asylum seekers and one for the Nauruans.

The MV Tampa Policy
The refugee landscape in Nauru was shaped by Australia, one of the most developed countries in the world. In 2001, after a freighter with 400 Afghan Hazara refugees was refused entry into Australian territory, Nauru became an offshore detention center.

That event led the Australian government to create a public policy called MV Tampa. In brief, this policy states that no person who arrives in the country by boat seeking asylum should settle in Australia. Instead, they are sent to Nauru or to Papua New Guinea in exchange for monetary aid.

That problem was resolved in 2007, when most of the refugees found accommodation in other countries. But in 2012, the issue rose again, when a number of news articles published information about the terrible conditions that refugees experienced in the camp. Since then, more refugees have been sent to the island.

The United Nations addressed the crisis in Nauru in 2016. “We are extremely concerned about the serious allegations of violence, sexual assault, degrading treatment and self-harm contained in more than 1,000 incident reports from offshore processing centres on Nauru, many of which reportedly involved children,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Good News for Refugees
This September, good news traveled to Nauru: about 50 refugees were accepted for resettlement in the United States. In addition, diverse organizations also support the island refugees’ cause. How to help people in Nauru has become a question that has found some answers.

After several reports detailing the human rights violations against refugees in Nauru, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch pushed to provide aid to asylum seekers. One important action they took last year was to force international Health and Medical Services to provide healthcare to the children and women in the camp. In addition, they fought to end the violence and sexual harassment taking place there. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees also demanded the closure of the offshore processing facility and called for the immediate transfer of refugees out of the detention camp.

Local organizations like Refugee Council of Australia and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre are working to bring refugees better living conditions. In addition to assisting with health, legal, and education aid for the asylum seekers, these foundations have also developed a job training program for the refugees, a project that has empowered people in the detention camp. If you have wondered how to help people in Nauru, you can donate money to these organizations.

However, on the island, Nauruans face an elevated unemployment rate. According to the U.N., 23 percent of people are unemployed, a number directly related to the imminent extinction of the phosphate mines. It is expected that extraction of the mineral will be able to continue for only 30 more years.

How to help people in Nauru, or how to help refugees on the island and the people of the island, is a complex question involving various nations, but organizations efforts are getting significant results. The next months will be crucial in the resolution of the refugee crisis.

Dario Ledesma

Photo: Flickr

Why is Nauru PoorIn recent years, news about the small island of Nauru pertains to the violation of human rights for asylum seekers. However, what is not being discussed is why these people are seeking asylum in the first place or why Nauru maintains the third highest proportion of refugees per capita in the world. The explanation partially lies on the deterioration of the country’s wealth over the last few decades. So, why is Nauru poor?

In fact, the country was not always poor. In 1980 Nauru became the wealthiest nation globally, per capita. The country’s natural resource endowments were recognized for this feat. Large deposits of phosphate were discovered in the late 19th century across the island, and once Nauru gained independence in 1968, intensive mining boosted the country’s income.

After this, Nauru seemed to experience what is called the “resource curse.” While the country’s specialization in phosphate mining originally provided wealth, Nauru experienced a drastic economic collapse when phosphate ran out in the early 1980s.

The country was then left with was a series of long-term problems. Today, 50 percent of households in Nauru live on an average of only $9000 a year. As phosphate mining had such a destructive toll on the environment, 80 percent of the island has been labeled wasteland and threatens the remaining resources. Because the phosphate specialization drove away other business previously developed in the country, it now obtains limited revenue, and the unemployment rate in 2011 rested at 23 percent.

To spark growth in Nauru’s economy, the government agreed to open the Australian Regional Processing Center for asylum seekers in 2012. Australia’s offshoring tactics pay Nauru $312 million annually to run detention centers on the island.

While this has improved the incomes of families in Nauru, the country has faced much backlash due to the living conditions of the refugees sent to the country. Consequently, a new deal is being formulated to move these vulnerable groups to other areas including Cambodia and the United States. This will leave Nauru, again, without the revenues necessary to keep its people from poverty.

Reverand James Aingimea, a minister of the Nauru Congregational Church confessed to the New York Times, “I wish we’d never discovered that phosphate…When I was a boy, it was so beautiful… Now I see what has happened here, and I want to cry.” This pain can be felt across the island where the residents bear witness to the question, “why is Nauru poor?” The exploitation of Nauru without environmental protection or diversification in the economy has led the nation to a state of dependency.

Tess Hinteregger

Photo: Google

Human Rights in NauruWhat do you know about Nauru? That it is the smallest republic in the world? In 1968, the island of Nauru gained its independence, and a bit over three decades later became the smallest independent republic in the world when it joined the United Nations.

The south Pacific island is home to just under 10,000 people. Those who live there are governed by a parliamentary republic. Today, Nauru is arguably better known for its human rights issues than for its last place finish in the world’s largest country contest. While there are certainly those who are not satisfied with the protection of human rights in Nauru, the evidence suggests that the nation does a very admirable job in this area.

Some of the allegations of human rights violations in Nauru were related to corruption. However, the U.S. State Department’s 2014 report on Nauru did not reach the same conclusion. The report states that the government, led by President Baron Waqa, utilizes its resources effectively to investigate and punish abuse and corruption. This seems to be working well, as there were zero reports of impunity involving Nauruan security forces in 2014.

Another frequent concern are the prison and detention center conditions in Nauru. This worry stemmed from an incident in the summer of 2013 when asylum seekers in Nauru’s Australian-run detention center rioted. The riot was the result of Australia announcing that Australia would put into effect more rigid immigration policies. Ultimately, more than 60 asylum seekers faced criminal charges. The world’s perception of human rights in Nauru has been greatly affected by this incident.

While this occurrence certainly represents a stain on the nation’s human rights record, it does not capture the full picture. In fact, the State Department’s report states that prison conditions generally met international standards.

The protection of women and women’s rights is another aspect of Nauru’s protection of human rights that is sometimes criticized. Part of this concern stems from the fact that women’s participation in politics is significantly less than that of men’s. However, since there are no rules or laws stopping women from participating, this may be more of a cultural issue.

Authorities in Nauru have been successful in protecting women against domestic violence and rape. The State Department’s report states that the courts “vigorously prosecuted” reported cases of rape.

There is clearly still work to be done and room for improvement, but the tiny island nation of Nauru is succeeding in protecting its people’s human rights in many regards.

Adam Braunstein

Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in NauruThe Republic of Nauru is a small island nation about 1,800 miles northeast of Australia, according to the BBC. The country has only about 10,000 inhabitants and there has been little economic activity since the 1980s, when its phosphate mines were exhausted.

Common diseases in Nauru include noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, according to a report submitted to the U.N. by the island nation in 2014. Health indicators, which are important when considering disease rate and mortality rate, are poorer in Nauru than in any other area of the Pacific region. NCDs affect communities and the government by making people more vulnerable to heat and water stress, which increases their vulnerability to climate change as well. This has made combating their causes a top priority.

Diabetes and its related complications account for most hospital admissions in Nauru. Life expectancy on the island is one of the lowest in the Pacific region and has gone down over the past 20 years. Diabetes affects 30 to 40 percent of the adult population and is one of the most common diseases in Nauru. NPR reported that amputations are a regular occurrence due to the disease. Other common diseases in Nauru include circulatory diseases such as hypertension and coronary artery disease. This is partly due to a shift from a traditional diet of root crops and fish to a modern diet loaded with processed sugar and saturated fats.

According to the Journal of Third World Studies, alcohol and cigarettes and the increased consumption of high fat diets has increased the prevalence of NCDs in the South Pacific region. This problem can be traced to an improved standard of living.

The government of Nauru developed a strategic plan in 2014 which was outlined in a document titled Nauru Non-Communicable Disease Strategic Action Plan 2015-2020. This plan was drafted in order to combat these problems and its main goal is to reduce the problems caused by NCDs in Nauru by 2020. About 28 participants came together in October 2013 to begin developing the strategic plan. Most of these participants were from the nation’s healthcare sector. Other members included community, church and education leaders, sports representatives and news outlets. The national NCD committee met in November 2013 to review the actions suggested by the previous committee and the draft was finalized in May of 2014.

NCDs are some of the most common diseases in Nauru and are the largest causes of death and disability on the island. Heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease and lower repertory disease account for nearly 80 percent of deaths in Nauru. This island nation hopes to ease the burden that their citizens bear due to NCDs with their newly-developed strategic plan. Reaching the goals of this plan will surely help improve health on the island and extend the life expectancy of citizens of Nauru.

Fernando Vazquez

Photo: Flickr