Kiribati is a nation of 33 atolls and reef islands with a total land area of 726 square kilometres. The land mass falls into the three island groups of the Gilberts, Phoenix and Line Islands. Kiribati has an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) covering 3.5 million square kilometres. At the time of the 2005 census, Kiribati’s population was 92,533, constituting a population At US$ 60 million in 2006, Kiribati has one of the lowest GDPs in the region including it’s human development index (HDI) of 0.515 which is one of the lowest ratings in the Pacific. Kiribati faces distinctive economic, social, geographic and development challenges. The coastal environment is fragile and deteriorating, and is also vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise. Economically, Kiribati faces significant constraints including limited natural resources; minimal potential for economies of scale; small and fledgling private sector development; widely scattered, physically remote and sparsely populated islands; limited cash opportunities outside government employment; and irregular transport by sea and air to outer islands and international markets.
Kiribati became a member of the ILO in 2000. The tripartite partners and the ILO signed the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) on 21 December 2009. The DWCP promotes decent work as a key component of development policies and at the same time as a national policy objective of governments and social partners. The present country programme is informed by international and regional development agendas including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for the Pacific subregion 2008 – 2012, and the Pacific Plan as well as national development objectives as expressed in the Kiribati Development Plan (KDP) 2008-2011.
The priority area for ILO technical assistance for 2009 – 2012 are:
- Priority 1: Promotion of decent employment opportunities, including for young women and men;
- Priority 2: Application of the ILS and Kiribati’s labour laws; and
- Priority 3: Capacity building of tripartite partners.