By Gaafar J. Uherbelau —-
So the past couple of weeks I’ve been critical about our nation, trying to shed light on issues that I believe need our attention. But I also think we need to take time to acknowledge some interesting facts about our nation as well as our achievements over the years since our beginnings as a republic.
So firstly, Palau is unique in the sense that our society has traditionally been matrilineal. This trait is a rarity around the world with only certain tribes in Asia, North America, Africa and the Pacific being matrilineal.
In 1981 Palau adopted the world’s first nuclear-free constitution, which bans the use, storage and disposal of any nuclear or biological chemicals anywhere within our territory. Shortly after gaining independence in 1994, Palau was admitted as a full-fledged member of the United Nations (UN). Since then is has been one of the few countries that regularly votes alongside the US in the General Assembly.
Last year in 2012, Palau made history when became one of the first Pacific island nations to be elected as a vice-president of a UN General Assembly session. Palau was elected a vice-president of the 67th UN General Assembly session on behalf of Asia-Pacific nations.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, Palau is currently ranked 44th and 52nd respectively out of 180 countries in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita (2012). This puts us ahead of countries such as Brazil, South Africa, and China.
Palau is also a haven to a large number of endemic species of fish and birds that are not found anywhere else in the world. In 2009 Palau’s waters was declared the world’s first shark sanctuary. Palau is also listed as one of the world’s seven underwater wonders due to its underwater beauty and marine life. Additionally, Palau is consistently ranked among the top 10 scuba diving destinations in the world.
In terms of development Palau ranks 52nd in the world according to the Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI is a composite measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, standards of living and quality of life. The index includes four categories of development which are very high, high, medium, and low development. Palau is ranked as a high development nation, third in the Pacific region behind Australia and New Zealand, both of which are very high development nations.
And most recently we are one of the first, if not the first Pacific island nation to utilize drones to monitor our waters. Finally, out of 240 countries in the world, we rank number 220 in terms of population (estimated at 21,108). This kind of makes us a rare, or endangered human species. 😛
So considering the fact that we have only existed 32 years as a republic, and are among the rarest people in the world, we have a lot to be proud of in terms of our achievements in recent years. Because of our forefathers who had paved the way and our current leaders with their guidance we may very well fare successfully into the future. Belau loba klisiich!