The Polynesian island nation of Tuvalu sits half way between Australia and Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. Tuvalu’s 10,837 people (2012 census) are spread across three islands and six atolls. The country has a total land area of 26 km2, and the low-lying islands are highly vulnerable to cyclones and tsunamis. The area of Fogafale, on Funafuti, where nearly half of the country’s population is concentrated, is on average less than 100 m wide, making it extremely susceptible.
Tuvalu is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change and rising sea levels. Tuvalu’s hazard risk became reality in 2015 when a storm surge hit the country, caused by one of the most intense cyclones in the southern Pacific region in recorded history. Tropical Cyclone Pam forced the declaration of a state of emergency in Tuvalu with 45% of the country’s population being displaced.
Tuvalu’s economy is small, fragmented and highly vulnerable to external economic influences. This has led to a heavy reliance on outside development assistance and a degree of complacency in fiscal and financial management. The economy is unusual in that a substantial amount of both government revenues and private incomes are generated from overseas. There are very little exports and semi-subsistence farming and fishing are the primary economic activities. Fewer than 1,000 tourists, on average, visit Tuvalu annually.
Tuvalu has developed a comprehensive strategic plan based upon the National Strategy for Sustainable Development 2001–2015, the Climate Change Policy 2012, the National Adaption Plan of Action and the National Disaster Risk Management Plan; these have formed the platform for the development of the Tuvalu National Strategic Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk reduction 2012–2016.