Fanning Island Kiribati

Kiribati : History

Kiribati is an island country in the central Pacific Ocean, made up of 33 islands. Only 20 of these are inhabited. Although the land area is small, the islands are scattered widely. Most of the islands are very low-lying atolls (ring-shaped coral reefs). Kiribati is home to the South Pacific’s largest marine reserve. 

Key facts

  • Region: Pacific
  • Population: 115,850 (2018) 
  • Area: 811 square kilometres 
  • Capital: Tarawa 
  • Joined Commonwealth: 1979, following independence from Britain 
  • Commonwealth Youth Index: 24 out of 49 countries

Secretariat support for Kiribati 

Elections support 

In October 2017, Kiribati took part in a Commonwealth Election Professionals (CEP) Initiative training in Apia, Samoa. Participants continue to benefit from the regional network it established, sharing good practice and solutions to challenges. 

Human rights 

During a working session in July 2019, the Secretariat helped Kiribati find out about reporting on human rights in the country under the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. 

Legal support 

The Secretariat set up a mentoring and exchange programme for justice officials in Kiribati. It also sent a prosecutor from Australia to provide support in Kiribati’s Attorney General’s office. 


The Secretariat is helping Kiribati improve young people’s participation in national and local government. It has also helped Kiribati involve young people in tackling unemployment and inequality.  

Sustainable development 

The Secretariat helped Kiribati manage its natural resources sustainably. Kiribati has made good progress on developing policy and laws on its ocean resources. 


The Secretariat sent an adviser to Kiribati’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives from 2014 to 2019. The adviser supported Kiribati’s participation in international trade. 

Blue Charter

Kiribati was announced as champion of a new Blue Charter action group on sustainable coastal fisheries at the UN Climate Change Conference COP25.

Kiribati was the 13th champion country that stepped forward to lead the 10th Blue Charter action group.

Kiribati is also a member of the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance and Marine Protected Areas Action Groups.

Connectivity Agenda

Kiribati is a member of the Physical, Digital and Supply Side Connectivity clusters of the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda. The Connectivity Agenda is a platform for countries to exchange best practices and experiences to trade and investment and undertake domestic reform.

Kiribati in the Commonwealth 

In 2010, former President Sir Ieremia Tabai was appointed to the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group. 

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