PEIN Country Profile and Virtual Environment Library
Micronesia - Pacific (Oceania)
National Focal Points for Environment:
Office of Environmental Planning and Policy Coordination (OEPPC)
*Excerpt from 'RMI Country Environmental Analysis [ADB]'
Environmental Concerns and Constraints
Participatory consultations, supported by studies of relevant policy and technical documents, resulted in identification of seven key environmental concerns: solid and hazardous waste management, contamination of ground and rain-water supplies, destruction of coral reefs, pollution of coastal waters, extremes and trends in sea level, accelerated coastal erosion and a potential for over-exploitation of renewable and non-renewable resources.
Key Environmental Issues and Challenges
Environmental Indicators. RMI's environmental indicators (Appendix 6) suggest that improvement in environmental quality and performance has been minimal. With growing population numbers and densities, especially in the urban centers, there is increasing pressure on the environment and natural resources. This is indicated in the increased number of contaminated water sources, particularly rainwater catchments, as homes are too close together. Other consequences are
pollution of coastal areas and shorelines, and contamination of groundwater.
There is potential for improvement in RMI biodiversity conservation through establishment of protected areas. Currently there is only one formally established protected area: Jaluit Atoll lagoon, with an area of approximately 700 square kilometers. The Jaluit Atoll Conservation Area (JACA) was established in 1999 as a community-managed marine and terrestrial conservation area. The program has included traditional resource management systems as well as modern monitoring and rehabilitation programs. The Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA) is currently working with Local Governments to develop and establish community-base management and protected areas in Arno, Likiep, Majuro and Mejetto.
Overview of Key Environmental Concerns
Solid and Hazardous Waste. In the past, solid waste was disposed of near homes, and left to decay on the ground. Back then, population density was low and most of the waste was biodegradable, presenting few ecological problems. Now, however, high birth rates and inward migration from the Outer Islands have contributed to high population densities in Majuro and Ebeye Atolls. This in turn has necessitated importation of basic foodstuffs that are usually canned, or packaged in other non-biodegradable materials. When combined with the mentality and habit of
disposing of solid waste indiscriminately, this trend has led to households producing substantial quantities of both biodegradable and non-biodegradable solid waste. For instance, waste generation on Majuro atoll is about 0.5 kilograms/person/day (International Waters Project, 2005). About 50% of this is organic waste.
In addition to the general solid waste issue, there is also concern about the amounts of toxic or hazardous waste associated with the importation of vehicles, particularly in the urban centers, and also with such devices as high voltage transformers and batteries for electrical appliances.
Garbage dumps that also result in land reclamation have been developed to address the solid waste problem. Trash is collected weekly from 60 trash bins throughout Majuro and taken to the landfill where it is dumped, spread and compacted. The waste stream includes all putrifiable waste, including vegetative waste. However, to date, there is no screening of waste material prior to disposal, leading to indiscriminant dumping of hazardous wastes. Other shortcomings include
insufficient surface cover material for landfills, lack of disease vector control, minimal gas control mechanisms and air monitoring, poor facility access and security, poor run-on/run-off control systems, and no record keeping.
The situation in the Outer Islands is no better, despite the smaller volumes of waste involved. For example, in Jaluit waste production per person and per household is thought to be about the same as for Majuro (Appendix 2). Solid waste is disposed of, unscreened, in an area separated from the lagoon by a sea wall (gabion basket). When the tide is exceptionally high (2 or 3 times a month), waste floats over the sea wall and into the lagoon.
To address the solid waste problem on Majuro, an inter-government agency task force (Solid Waste Task Force) comprising of Majuro Local Government (MalGov), the Ministry of Public Works, MIMRA, MIVA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Office of Environmental Planning and Policy Coordination (OEPPC) and the Chamber of Commerce, has been established, with responsibilities including developing policies and strategies to minimize waste production (including public education and recycling of aluminum cans, glass, tires and green waste), selection and design of new long-term landfills, coordination of tasks, and advising
Cabinet on measures and mechanisms to reduce waste production. However, to date, the Solid Waste Task Force has not been effective in addressing the issues.
A barrier that has impeded improving the performance of landfills and of land reclamations is the lack of a formal system of land use planning and development of regulations. The Planning and Zoning Act 1987 mandates Local Governments to develop land use plans and zones and establish building codes. However, to date, there has been little progress, largely due to the complexity of the land tenure system in the RMI and the low capacity of Local Government to act on the mandate.
Contamination of Ground- and Rain-water Supplies. The structure and climate of the atolls has restricted the quantity and quality of fresh water supply in the RMI. The source of drinking water varies from area to area, but for the country as a whole around 70 per cent of homes use rainwater for drinking (RMI Statistical Yearbook, 2003). To address shortcomings in water supply, the National Government distributed more than 3,000 water catchments to residents in both the
urban centers and the Outer Islands. In addition, there are plans to construct another water reservoir to improve the security of water supply in Majuro Atoll.
While the supply of water is being addressed, there is a major concern regarding the quality of drinking water. Tests covering both Majuro and the Outer Islands indicate high and, in some cases, increasing levels of contamination.
Destruction of Coral Reefs. A major concern for both Government and the general public is mining on the reef and lagoon shorelines, contributing to rapid erosion, especially in various parts of Majuro and Ebeye. Moreover, the sand and gravel aggregates in these areas are non-renewable and there is increasing awareness that the mining of these resources is at present unsustainable.
The destruction of coral reefs is more pronounced adjacent to the urban centers as there is an increasing demand for housing and infrastructure development. Although there are various activities that contribute to the destruction of coral, the three most destructive activities are dredging, channel blasting and boat anchoring. Primarily on Majuro and Ebeye, sand and gravel for construction is extracted by dredging from the lagoonal intertidal and nearshore zones. This has heavily impacted the adjacent reefs. For instance, with suction dredging, the displaced sand and sediments are carried by ocean currents and deposited on reefs, leading to coral death.
Pollution of Coastal Waters. Pollution of coastal waters is particularly serious near urban centers and other developed areas and is usually related to: (i) discharges from fishing and other vessels, (ii) leaching and/or run-off from landfills, grave sites, and pig and chicken pens. High levels of nutrients in the marine environment encourages invasive alien macroalgae to grow over coral colonies and block out sunlight. Corals rely, in part, upon nutrients derived through a symbiotic
relationship with marine plankton (dinoflagellates) known as zooxanthellae.
Reduced sunlight could disrupt the photosynthetic process carried out by the zooxanthellae and result in the demise of the affected coral colony. Invasive macroalgae could potentially alter the benthos from a diverse coral community to a monotypic environment. Monotypic environments support fewer species of macroinvertebrates and fish species, marine organisms that are important to the daily diets of RMI residents. Thus, normal subsistence harvesting activities may be significantly disrupted by invasive species. Alien species invasions are an important consideration for residents of outer atolls, since these communities rely upon marine organisms for subsistence purposes.
Extremes and Trends in Sea Level. Due to the low elevation of the atolls, and the concentration of development in the coastal areas of all islands, extreme high tides, storm surges and the gradual rise in sea level due to global climate change present a high risk to the RMI (Appendix 1). High sea levels contribute to coastal flooding and to greatly accelerated erosion. Extreme low sea levels impede navigation and expose reefs, stressing the reef ecosystem and possibly contributing
to coral bleaching. To date, coral bleaching in the RMI has been limited to small coral communities in shallow water environments.
Accelerated Coastal Erosion. A recent study (SOPAC, 1997) of Majuro Atoll, but with implications for all of the RMI, reported that most of the ocean and lagoon coastlines are erosional. Shoreline retreat of 10 to 20 m has occurred in some places.
Coastal erosion is caused both by natural and human factors and activities. Factors that cause coastal erosion include: a) sea-level rise; b) dredging; c) channel blasting; d) inappropriate design of landfills; e) vegetation clearing; and f) land reclamation. Storm surges, high waves, sea-level rise, subsidence, and tsunamis are natural processes that contribute to overwash and erosion of coastal shorelines. Of great concern is the cumulative impact of extremely small scale beach
and coast mining. Anecdotal evidence suggests that, on Majuro Atoll at least, nearly every land owner engages in this activity.
Without intact stable shorelines, the integrity of local infrastructure such as roads, airports, buildings, and residences may be threatened. Furthermore, significant amounts of salt water may infiltrate the groundwater and degrade drinking water sources, wetlands, and agriculture (e.g. taro patches). Shoreline processes can maintain the integrity of tropical islets and islands and are influenced by such factors as coastal hydrology, deposition, storm patterns, vegetation, and coral reefs.
Humans can play a positive role in preserving vegetation and coral reef communities to maintain intact shoreline processes. Intact native vegetation communities are ideal for stabilizing shorelines since native plants have evolved to survive in tropical environments, tolerating tropical heat, humidity, salt water, extreme sunlight, and storms. Native vegetation communities function as soil binders, maintaining coastal berms and forests. These communities are part of the dynamic
coastal process, well adapted to conforming to shifting shorelines. Alternatively, seawalls are static, immobile objects that do not conform to the ebb and flow of shorelines. Sea walls may become undermined in light of shifting shorelines, and no longer function. Furthermore, seawalls and other similar construction activities often disrupt or displace native vegetation communities. Intact coral reef communities are also ideal for protecting shorelines. Coral reefs function as buffers, dispersing wave energy that would otherwise contribute to the erosion of coastal shorelines. However, coral reefs in Majuro atoll are susceptible to direct destruction and sedimentation from poorly designed dredging and filling practices. Also, alien species, such as
invasive macro algae, may degrade reefs by growing over coral colonies and blocking sunlight. Other negative impacts that contribute to the degradation of coral reefs include pollution, anchor damage, and coral bleaching.
Potential for Over-exploitation of Renewable and Non-renewable Resources. There is a growing threat of overfishing of in-shore areas. To date there has been little assessment of the ability of coastal fisheries to support even the relatively small size of the current catch. Catches of fish and shellfish are believed to be declining in lagoons and inshore reefs. Reasons for this decline are known to include over-exploitation and the use of destructive fishing methods. Overexploitation
has resulted from a combination of increasing size, and the use of overly efficient, and sometimes destructive fishing methods. The use of modern materials such as monofilament nylon for gill nets, for example, has made fishing effort more effective. In some cases destructive fishing methods, including the use of explosives and chemicals such as bleaching agents and cyanide, have caused damage to the marine environment and the killing of many small fish and marine organisms. Other activities such as wharf and near-shore infrastructure development have affected marine habitats.
Off-shore, Yellowfin tuna is nearing full exploitation. If the fishing effort is maintained at the current rate the yellowfin tuna stock will be overfished. The bigeye tuna stock is, however, reported to be fully exploited and the current level of exploitation is therefore unsustainable. There should be no increase in the bigeye tuna fishing effort, with future catches of bigeye from the RMI's EEZ not exceeding recent catch levels (SPC National Fishery Status Report, 2004).
Removal of a large biomass of target fish stocks may have impacts beyond these stocks, including influencing the survival, recruitment and abundance of other species, some of which may also have a high fishery value (e.g. billfishes). Due to the poor state of knowledge, the impact of fishing on these species is uncertain. Other species also interact with fisheries. For example, turtles, seabirds and marine mammals are sometimes captured accidentally by longline and purse-seine
operations. In some cases mortality of these species occurs. Although the impact of fishing activities on these species relative to other factors is unknown (e.g. destruction of modification of nesting beaches, indigenous hunting, removal of eggs from nests, trawling operations adjacent to nesting beaches), conservation advocates have given special attention to longline fisheries. Considerable effort is being expended in redesigning gear to reduce the capture of these species, especially in the longline fishery.
The EPA is concerned that continuing extraction of sand and gravel aggregate from the reef, beaches and nearshore areas of Majuro Lagoon is unsustainable and may be contributing to shoreline erosion. Where present dredging is close to the shoreline it will also hinder the future reclamation and development of those areas. Social pressures are mounting for the provision of additional land by reclamation of the nearshore lagoon, but this will require fill material to both restore the volume previously removed and raise the reclaimed area to a suitable level (SOPAC, 2004).
Adaptation Learning Mechanism [climate change adaptation] country profiles
Asian Development Bank Country Profiles and Strategies
Biodiversity Clearinghouse Mechanism websites
Biosafety Profiles [CBD Biosafety Clearinghouse Mechanism]
Birdlife [Avifauna] Profiles
see also Species profiles [*For the Globally Threatened Birds (those evaluated as Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable), each factsheet contains a summary account, range map and an illustration, plus additional data tables. For Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Near Threatened, Least Concern and Data Deficient species, each contains a concise summary paragraph and some additional data tables.] [Birdlife International]
see also Endemic Bird Areas [EBAs] of the Pacific [incl. Aitutaki (secondary area) ; East Caroline Islands ; Fiji ; Gilbert Islands (secondary area) ; Henderson Island ; Mariana Islands ; Marquesas Islands ; Marshall Islands (secondary area) ; Nauru (secondary area) ; Niuafo‘ou (secondary area) ; Niue (secondary area) ; Northern Line Islands (secondary area) ; Palau ; Pitcairn (secondary area) ; Rapa (secondary area) ; Rimatara ; Rotuma (secondary area) ; Samoan Islands ; Society Islands ; Southern Cook Islands ; Tonga (secondary area) ; Tuamotu archipelago ; Wake Island (secondary area) ; Wallis and Futuna (secondary area) ; Yap Islands ] [Birdlife International]
see also Important bird areas of the Pacific [IBAs] (2010) [Birdlife Pacific]
* order the complete CD-ROM 'Important bird areas in the Pacific: a compendium' from the SPREP IRC
see also Pacific regional overview [Birdlife International]
see also Globally Threatened Birds (those evaluated as Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable) of Oceania [Birdlife International]
see also State of the World's birds website and report [Birdlife International] - including Pacific country case studies
Country Climate Profile [UNDP]
* Sourced from the Adaptation Learning Mechanism, a knowledge sharing platform developed by UNDP in partnership with the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the World Bank, and the United Nations Environment Programme.
Earthtrends Thematic Country Profiles [WRI]
Agriculture and food, Biodiversity and protected areas, Climate and atmosphere, Coastal and marine ecosystems, Economics, business and the environment, Energy and resources, Environmental governance and institutions, Forests, grasslands and drylands, Population, health and human well-being, Water resources and freshwater ecosystems.
Ecoregion Profiles [World Wildlife Fund]
Tropical Moist Forests
Eastern Micronesia [Marshall islands, Nauru, Kiribati]
Environmental Vulnerability Index - Country Profiles [SOPAC / UNEP]
EU Pacific Country Environment Profiles
see also EU Country Partnership Profiles [incl. environment and EDF10 strategies]
Fishbase Biodiversity Country Profiles (all fish)
Fisheries Resources Profiles
Marshall Islands (1992; 300kb),
Forestry Country Profiles
Forestry Department Country Profiles [FAO]
see also FAO Forest Resource Assessment : Country Reports 
Marshall Islands (2010; 205kb)
see also State of the World's Forests 2007: Asia and the Pacific [FAO] (2008; 1.77mb)
see also Tropical and subtropical forest profiles prepared by the World Wildlife Fund
Global Biodiversity Information Forum [GBIF] Country Profiles
see also GBIF Google Earth Country Links
Global Environment Facility (GEF) Country Profiles
Use the drop down menu to go to the individual profiles - includes GEF-4 Allocation and Utilization , Approved Projects and Projects Under Preparation
Integrated Water Resource Management Profiles [SOPAC]
Invasive Species : Country Profiles [ISSG]
see also NBII Invasive Species information Node profiles
see also the RMIEPA website - Laws and regulations
see also 'Legislative reviews' in Country Reports (below)
Mangrove and Wetlands Profiles [ *from Proceedings of the Pacific Regional Workshop on Mangrove Wetlands Protection and Sustainable Use . SPREP, 2002.]
Marshall Islands (2002; 148kb)
see also: A Directory of Wetlands in Oceania 
see also: Wetlands of the Pacific Island Region (2008; 882kb)
see also: IWMI Global Wetlands - Interactive Web Map Server - includes countries of Oceania
see also: Wetlands in Oceania - country profiles and wetlands information [UNEP-WCMC] - Marshall Islands
Marine Resource Profiles
Marshall Islands (1992; 300kb)
see also State of Coral Reef Systems
Marshall Islands (2008; 2.58mb)
State of the marine environment in the South Pacific Region (1990; 3.48mb)
Reefbase Country Profiles (coral reefs, reef fish, biodiversity)
see also GIS data for corals in the Pacific from Reefbase - browse by country and reef profile
see also GIS data for marine protected areas in the Pacific from Reefbase - browse by country and ecosystem
MPA Global Profiles (marine protected areas database)
Pacific Biodiversity Information Forum Country Data:
Pacific Regional information System - PRISM [SPC]
Environmental and Climate Statistics
see also: Protected Areas of the Pacific Islands profiles [UNEP / WCMC]
Maps of the Pacific Islands
Wetlands in Oceania - country profiles and wetlands information - Marshall Islands
see also GIS data for marine protected areas in the Pacific - browse by country and ecosystem
see also MPA Global Profiles (marine protected areas database) above
SPREP Country Profiles: Exchange of Information by Members at SPREP Annual Meetings:
- Exchamge of information by Members on National Developments related to Natural Resource Management Priority of the Action Plan 
see Agenda Item 6.1: Country Profiles of the Report and record of the 18th SPREP Meeting of Officials in Apia, Samoa on 11th to 14th September 2007
- Exchange of information by Members on national developments related to Pollution Prevention priority of the SPREP Action Plan 
see Agenda Item 8.6: Country Profiles of the Report and record of the19th SPREP Annual Meeting of Officials in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia on 8–12 September 2008
- Exchange of Information by Members on National Developments Related to the Climate Change Focus Area of the SPREP Action Plan 
see Agenda Item 11.2: Country Profiles of the Report and record of the 20th SPREP Annual Meeting of Officials in Apia, Samoa on 17 - 20 November 2009
- Exchange of Information by Members on Year of Biodiversity 
see Agenda Item 11.3: Country Profiles of the Report and record of the 21st SPREP Meeting of Officials in Madang, Papua New Guinea on 6-10 September 2010
see also individual profiles for: Wallis and Futuna
Sustainable Development Profiles (UN Agenda 21)
Threatened species: Summary of species on the 2008 IUCN Red List
UNEP Country Profiles [* poorly maintained and little information available]
WHO Environmental Health Profiles
World Bank Environment indicators
World Factbook Country Profiles [CIA]
World Ocean Database 2005 [NOAA]
Geographically sorted data for the Pacific Ocean [datasets]
see also Polynesia / Micronesia Biodiversity Hotspot Ecosystem Profile (2007; 1.16mb)
see also Paciifc Biodiversity Information Forum website and databases
see also Plants and environments of the Marshall Islands
Asian Development Bank Country Environmental Analysis Reports
Marshall Islands (2005; 1.23mb)
Barbados Programme of Action + 10 (BPoA)
National Assessment Reports: Marshall Islands (2004; 537kb)
Pacific Environment Outlook (2005; 30.99mb)
The Conference on Small Island Developing States (Barbados Conference, 1994) highlighted the importance of island biodiversity as an ecological corridor linking major areas of biodiversity around the world. The conference called for international co-operation and partnership to support the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in their efforts to conserve, protect and restore their ecosystems. The Barbados Plan of Action recognizes the importance of the coastal zone as a source of subsistence and economic development.
Country Strategy Papers and National Indicative Programmes [European Union - EDF9]
Marshall Islands (2002-2007; 109kb)
Country Strategy Papers and National Indicative Programmes [European Union - EDF10]
Marshall Islands (2008-2013; 2.97mb)
see State of Forest and Tree Genetic Resources [* REPORTS PRESENTED AT THE
PACIFIC SUB-REGIONAL WORKSHOP ON FOREST AND TREE GENETIC RESOURCES, 1999]
Marshall Islands (1999, 911kb)
Marshall Islands (1992; 22.5mb)
Marine turtle legislative reviews:
Marshall Islands (2010; 555kb)
Millenium Development Goals National Reports
Marshall Islands (2005; 621kb)
Mauritius Strategy + 5 Review: National Assessment Reports [5-year Review of Progress Made in Addressing Vulnerabilities of Small Islands Developing States Through Implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for Further Implementation (MSI) of the
Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) ]
Marshall Islands (2010; 61kb)
Montreal Protocol. National Compliance Action Strategies to implement the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
Marshall Islands (2001; 176kb)
National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans (NBSAP)
Marshall Islands (2000; 142kb)
see also National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans: Pacific Regional Review (2007; 269kb)
National Capacity Self Assessment (NCSA)
NCSA Status (NCSA website)
Marshall Islands ,
National Conservation Area Plans
Marshall Islands (2008; 2.83kb)
National Integrated Water Resource Management : Diagnostic Reports - drafts only [SOPAC]
Marshall Islands (2007; 642kb)
National Invasive Species Strategy
Invasives reports: Micronesia - region(1999; 878kb)
see also Invasive alien species in the Austral-Pacific region: national reports and directory of resources [GISP] (2002; 3.75mb)
see also Invasives Species on Pacific Islands [reports] - HEAR / PIER project website
National [Sustainable] Development Plans / Strategies [ForumSec]
Marshall Islands 2003-2018 (2001; 9.43mb)
ADB Reports: Marshall Islands (2004; 461kb)
Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change [PACC] - reports, activities and PACC news updates
Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change [PACC] - report of in-country consultations
Marshall Islands (2009; 172kb)
Regional overview report (2004; 2.59mb)
Peristant Organic Pollutants (POPs): Country Plans
Marshall Islands (2003; 255kb)
National Implementation Plans (NIPs)
Marshall Islands (2008; 1.79mb)
The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (Basel Convention, 1989), the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (Rotterdam Convention, 1998) and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) (Stockholm Convention, 2001) together provide an international framework for the environmentally sound management of hazardous chemicals throughout their life cycles.
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands: Country reports to the RAMSAR CoPs
National Reports submitted to the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (2008)
Marshall islands (2008; 187kb)
Climate Change Strategic Plans
Marshall Islands (2006; 251kb)
Ships' Waste Management in Pacific Islands Ports: Country reports
State of the Environment Reports
Marshall Islands (1993; 8.54mb)
see also State of the Environment of the South Pacific 1983 (UNEP: 1983; 1.66mb)
see also State of the marine environment in the South Pacific Region (1990; 3.48mb)
see also State of the Environment of the South Pacific 2005 (2005; 382kb; see also ~ http://www.unescap.org/esd/environment/soe/2005/mainpub/ ~)
see also Regional perspectives: Asia and the Pacific (UNEP, GEO-4. 2007; 382 kb)
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED: Brazil, 1992)
Country Reports : Marshall Islands (1992; 2.01MB)
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, 1992) and the Rio Declaration highlighted the need for sustainable development-socially responsible economic development that protects the resource base and the environment for the benefit of future generations. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which was one of the outcome instruments of the UNCED process, also highlights the need for conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
see also Country profiles compiled by the Secretariat for the UNCBD.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which was one of the outcome instruments of the UNCED process, highlights the need for conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (Land Degradation) (UNCCD)
Second National Report: Marshall Islands (2002; 170kb)
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is an agreement to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
(i) National Communications and In-depth Reviews
Marshall islands (2000; 1.91mb)
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC,1992) is concerned with global warming and the consequent rise in sea levels that may result in the flooding of coastal areas, and submerging islands, which could adversely affect coastal communities. The treaty aims at reducing emissions of greenhouse gas in order to combat global warming. Although the treaty as originally framed set no mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual nations and contained no enforcement provisions; it did include provisions for updates (called "protocols") that would set mandatory emission limits. The principal update is the Kyoto Protocol.
World Summit on Sustainable Development [Rio+10 - Johannesburg 2002]
National Assessment Reports:
Marshall Islands (2002; 301kb)
The WSSD Plan of Implementation calls for the management of the natural resources base in a sustainable and integrated manner. In this regard, to reverse the current trend in natural resource degradation as soon as possible, it is necessary to implement strategies which should include targets adopted at the national and, where appropriate, regional levels to protect ecosystems and to achieve integrated management of land, water and living resources, while strengthening regional, national and local capacities.
The Johannesburg Declaration and the Plan of Implementation arising from the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD, 2002) reconfirmed the commitment of States to advance and strengthen the interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development-economic development, social development and environmental protection-at the local, national, regional and global levels.
Reports available online from the SPREP Library and IRC database
Reports available online from SOPAC [Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission]
Reports available online from ReefBase Pacific
search also Reefbase Pacific online documents
Multimedia - posters, videos etc
Ad Jolet: our heritage [Marshall Islands]
- Ad Jolet concerned individuals discuss how climate change is impacting their Pacific homeland: The Marshall Islands.
- A presentation on the pristine environment of Ailuk, her beauty and her people. Images accompaned by music from Brother C.
Collateral Damage: Atomic Testing in the Marshall Islands
- Between 1946 and 1958, the U.S. detonated 67 nuclear devices in and around the Marshall Islands. The impact of these tests on the Marshallese people was profound - in terms of both actual radioactive exposure and the displacement of people from their home islands due to contamination and to accommodate the U.S. military. This clip is excerpted from Episode 6 of "UNNATURAL CAUSES: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?", a ground-breaking documentary series that looks at how the social, economic and physical environments in which we are born, live, and work profoundly affect our longevity and health.
- Majuro Atoll is one of the most beautiful coral paradise in the Pacific. Beautiful images set to music.
- It's the small island-nations in the Pacific Ocean that suffer most from climate change: On the Marshall Islands, on Palau and other Micronesian islands, people are faced with steadily rising sea levels. Coasts are eroding and drinking water is becoming scarce. But the world is barely aware of the problem. In this island paradise, a fight against time has begun.
- The Republic of the Marshall Islands are series of atolls in the northern Pacific. These atolls have small freshwater lenses and access to fresh water is limited. Currently on the main island of Majuro, the government is only able to supply water one day a week, the rest of the time the inhabitants have to fend for themselves. This video looks at the threats to water in RMI, government efforts to supply water and moving interviews showing the hardships faced by individuals to get clean water.
Marshall Islands Govt. - Biodiversity Clearinghouse; Office of Environmental Planning and Policy Coordination (OEPPC); Marshall Islands Meteorological Office ; Environmental Protection Authority
RMIEPA (incl. RMIEPA website - Laws and regulations)
Plants and environments of the Marshall Islands
Detailed website with excellent photographs and narration. Inspired by the the book Plants and Environments of the Marshall Islands.
SPREP Library and IRC collection [SLIC] - includes online full text access to a wide range of Pacific environment materials.
The Pacific Environment Information Network [PEIN] Virtual Library - full text publications from SPREP, SOPAC, SPC and other CROP agencies, Pacific govt. environment depts. , regional institutions, and NGOs active in the area of environment conservation.
SPREP's International Instruments' webpage
"International instruments relevant to SPREP's work in the areas of Sustainable Economic Development, Ecosystems Management, Climate Change, and Waste Management."
Academic literature and research