About Palau


Youth literacy (2005)


of the total population is unemployed (2005)


Youth unemployment (2005)


years is the life expectancy (2001-05)


infant mortality per 1,000 live births (2010)


is the population growth rate

About Palau

Development Status

Palau's Rock IslandsPalau's Rock Islands. Photo: UNDP/Patrick Tuimaleali'ifano

Palau is small in terms of both area and population (20,581 persons, 2007 estimate). It is a constitutional democracy modeled after that of the United States. The national government features a popularly elected President and bicameral legislature and an independent judiciary. Local government consists of sixteen state governments that have important responsibilities for social welfare, economic development, and environ-mental protection. The national economy is dominated by the public sector and tourism supplemented by agriculture, fisheries, and a fledgling aquaculture industry. Migratory fish constitute the only export of significant value. Due in large measure to high levels of Overseas Development Assistance, primarily from the United States, Palau enjoys a high per capita gross domestic product (almost $8,000 per person, 2007 provisional figures).

The Palauan culture revolves around such fundamental values as respect for all things living and non-living, consideration for the well-being of others, and striving for knowledge and education. These intrinsic cultural values together with high levels of GDP provide a strong foundation for realizing the MDGs. Beyond this, Palau has well-developed health and education infrastructures and in recent years has created a strong environmental protection infrastructure. Furthermore, integration of the MDGs into the national development agenda precedes the Millennium Declaration. Since the launch of constitutional government (in 1980) and independence (in 1994), successive governments have strived to:
•    Increase economic growth and distribute the benefits of development equitably;
•    Develop Palau’s human, natural, and technical resources;
•    Preserve environmental and cultural as-sets;
•    Strengthen institutions for economic development and macroeconomic management;
•    Strengthen national planning frameworks.

These themes are reflected in all national planning documents. “Palau 2020: National Master Plan for Development” adopted in 1996 is a long-term comprehensive plan for social, economic, and infrastructure development organized around the overarching theme of improving the quality of life for all citizens. The draft Medium-Term Development Strategy, (to be finalized in early 2009), is a five-year strategic plan that provides the implementation framework for “Palau 2020” for the period 2009-2013.

These macro-plans are supported by special purpose and sector plans. The Economic Development Plan (1994), the JICA Study (2000), and the Management Action Plan (2001) are multi-sector planning documents that provide shorter-term planning frameworks supportive of “Palau 2020”. The Public Sector Investment Program (2003) focuses on infrastructure. The National Master Plan for Education (1996 and 2006) revolves around “education for all.” Several topic-specific health plans are organized around the central theme of “Healthy Palau in a healthful environment.” The National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP, 2004) provides a comprehensive framework for environmental conservation supplemented by other issue-specific environmental assessments and plans.

Source: The Millennium Development Goals: Initial Status Report, Palau 2008

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