IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


29th July, 2023 Geography

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Tuvalu faces the threat of disappearing entirely from the face of the Earth due to rising sea levels and coastal erosion caused by climate change.


  • Tuvalu is a picturesque island country in the west-central Pacific Ocean, positioned between Hawaii and Australia.
  • It is a ring-shaped coral reef surrounding a lagoon, with islands dotting the rim, offering a stunning oasis for visitors.
  • With a small population of around 12,000 people, Tuvalu is considered the least visited country in the world.
  • Despite its natural beauty, the threat of disappearing makes it a unique and poignant destination.

Serene Ambience and Unique Experience

  • Tuvalu's serene ambiance captivates visitors, with residents leisurely navigating the island on motorbikes, engaging in traditional activities like fishing, napping in hammocks, and enjoying beach campfires at night.
  • The turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and lush coconut trees provide an awe-inspiring backdrop, and the daily average temperatures of 80-85°F (27-29°C) make it an ideal tropical getaway.

Limited Accessibility

  • The remoteness of Tuvalu contributes to its low tourist numbers.
  • It is challenging to access the country due to its isolated location in the vast Pacific Ocean.
  • With only one international airport, which was built by the United States Navy during World War II and currently used by Fiji Airways, limited flight options are available for travelers.

Threat of Disappearance

  • Tuvalu's fragile existence is under immense threat due to rising sea levels and coastal erosion.
  • As a result of climate change, two of Tuvalu's nine islands are already facing the risk of being swallowed by the ocean.
  • The entire nation consists of coral atolls, with the inhabitable land areas barely rising 2 meters above sea level.
  • Rising tides, averaging about 3.9 millimeters per year, exacerbate the situation.

Historical Context: From Ellice Islands to Tuvalu

  • Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, Tuvalu gained independence in 1978 from the British Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony.
  • The unique name "Tuvalu" means "group of eight" in Tuvaluan, reflecting the number of traditionally inhabited islands.

Limited Land and Resources

  • Tuvalu's small land area, only about 26 square kilometers, poses challenges for the nation's economic growth and infrastructure development.
  • The country heavily relies on fishing and remittances from its citizens working abroad to sustain its economy.

Environmental Advocacy

  • Despite the limited global impact of its carbon emissions, Tuvalu has been an active advocate for environmental issues and climate change on the international stage.
  • The country plays a crucial role in drawing attention to the plight of low-lying island nations facing the consequences of climate change.

Efforts for Preservation

  • Tuvaluans are making efforts to preserve their cultural heritage and traditional way of life in the face of modernization and external influences.
  • The nation is also exploring sustainable development strategies to protect its natural resources and environment.

Global Responsibility

  • The situation in Tuvalu serves as a reminder of the shared global responsibility to address climate change and its impacts on vulnerable communities.
  • International collaboration and concerted efforts are essential to mitigate the effects of climate change and protect unique places like Tuvalu from disappearing.

About Tuvalu

History and Culture

  • Tuvalu was settled by Polynesians around 3000 years ago, and their culture and traditions remain an essential part of the Tuvaluan identity.
  • The official language is Tuvaluan, and English is also widely spoken and used in official matters.
  • Traditional music, dance, and handicrafts play a significant role in Tuvaluan culture.
  • The art of storytelling and legends is also deeply cherished.


  • Tuvalu's economy heavily relies on fishing, especially the licensing of its fishing rights to foreign countries and the sale of fishing licenses.
  • Many Tuvaluans work abroad, particularly in New Zealand and Australia, and send remittances back to their families, which helps support the local economy.
  • Being a small and isolated nation, Tuvalu has limited natural resources, which poses challenges for economic growth.

Governance and Politics

  • Tuvalu is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with the British monarch as the head of state, represented by the Governor-General.
  • The Prime Minister is the head of government.
  • The country has a unicameral parliament, known as the "Fale I Fono," which consists of members elected by the citizens.
  • Tuvalu has been an active advocate for environmental issues and climate change at international forums due to its vulnerability to rising sea levels.

International Relations

  • Tuvalu is an active member of the Pacific Islands Forum, a regional organization that addresses issues of common interest among Pacific island nations.
  • The country maintains diplomatic relations with various countries and engages in international partnerships and forums to address its concerns, especially regarding climate change.

Tourism and Culture

  • Tuvalu has some potential for eco-tourism due to its unique coral atolls, marine life, and traditional culture, but its remote location and limited infrastructure pose challenges.
  • The Tuvaluan government and people strive to preserve their cultural heritage in the face of modernization and external influences.

Education and Healthcare

  • Tuvalu places importance on education, providing primary and secondary schooling for its population.
  • However, limited resources and remote locations can affect access to quality education.
  • The nation faces challenges in delivering adequate healthcare services due to its remote location and limited medical facilities.


Q)Discuss the impacts of climate change on Tuvalu's environment, economy, and society. Suggest effective strategies that the international community can adopt to support vulnerable countries like Tuvalu in their efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. (250 words)