Micronesia, Federated States of

Introduction In 1979 the Federated States of Micronesia, a UN Trust Territory under US administration, adopted a constitution. In 1986 independence was attained under a Compact of Free Association with the US, which was amended and renewed in 2004. Present concerns include large-scale unemployment, overfishing, and overdependence on US aid.
History

The ancestors of the Micronesians settled over four thousand years ago. A decentralized chieftain-based system eventually evolved into a more centralized economic and religious empire centered on Yap.

Nan Madol, consisting of a series of small artificial islands linked by a network of canals, is often called the Venice of the Pacific. It is located near the island of Pohnpei and used to be the ceremonial and political seat of the Saudeleur dynasty that united Pohnpei's estimated 25,000 people from about AD 500 until 1500, when the centralized system collapsed.

European explorers — first the Portuguese in search of the Spice Islands (Indonesia) and then the Spanish — reached the Carolines in the sixteenth century, with the Spanish establishing sovereignty. It was sold to Germany in 1899, conquered by Japan in 1914, before being seized by the United States during World War II and administered by the US under United Nations auspices in 1947 as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

During World War II, a significant portion of the Japanese fleet was based in Truk Lagoon. In February 1944, Operation Hailstone, one of the most important naval battles of the war, took place at Truk, in which many Japanese support vessels and aircraft were destroyed.

On May 10, 1979, four of the Trust Territory districts ratified a new constitution to become the Federated States of Micronesia. Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands chose not to participate. The FSM signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States of America, which entered into force on November 3, 1986, marking Micronesia's emergence from trusteeship to independence.

Geography Location: Oceania, island group in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia
Geographic coordinates: 6 55 N, 158 15 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 702 sq km
land: 702 sq km
water: 0 sq km (fresh water only)
note: includes Pohnpei (Ponape), Chuuk (Truk) Islands, Yap Islands, and Kosrae (Kosaie)
Area - comparative: four times the size of Washington, DC (land area only)
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 6,112 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; heavy year-round rainfall, especially in the eastern islands; located on southern edge of the typhoon belt with occasionally severe damage
Terrain: islands vary geologically from high mountainous islands to low, coral atolls; volcanic outcroppings on Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Chuuk
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Dolohmwar (Totolom) 791 m
Natural resources: forests, marine products, deep-seabed minerals, phosphate
Land use: arable land: 5.71%
permanent crops: 45.71%
other: 48.58% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: typhoons (June to December)
Environment - current issues: overfishing, climate change, pollution
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: four major island groups totaling 607 islands
Politics

The Federated States of Micronesia are governed by the 1979 constitution, which guarantees fundamental human rights and establishes a separation of governmental powers. The unicameral Congress has fourteen members elected by popular vote. Four senators — one from each state — serve four-year terms; the remaining ten senators represent single-member districts based on population, and serve two-year terms. The President and Vice President are elected by Congress from among the four state-based senators to serve four-year terms in the executive branch. Their congressional seats are then filled by special elections. The president and vice president are supported by an appointed cabinet. There are no formal political parties.

In international politics, the Federated States of Micronesia has always voted on the side of the United States with respect to United Nations General Assembly resolutions.

People Population: 107,665 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.3% (male 19,344/female 18,687)
15-64 years: 61.8% (male 33,142/female 33,389)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 1,320/female 1,783) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 21.6 years
male: 21.1 years
female: 22.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.191% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 23.66 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 4.53 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -21.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: NA
Infant mortality rate: total: 27.03 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 29.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 24.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 70.65 years
male: 68.79 years
female: 72.61 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.98 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Micronesian(s)
adjective: Micronesian; Chuukese, Kosraen(s), Pohnpeian(s), Yapese
Ethnic groups: Chuukese 48.8%, Pohnpeian 24.2%, Kosraean 6.2%, Yapese 5.2%, Yap outer islands 4.5%, Asian 1.8%, Polynesian 1.5%, other 6.4%, unknown 1.4% (2000 census)
Religions: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 47%, other 3%
Languages: English (official and common language), Trukese, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Kosrean, Ulithian, Woleaian, Nukuoro, Kapingamarangi
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89%
male: 91%
female: 88% (1980 est.)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Federated States of Micronesia
conventional short form: none
local long form: Federated States of Micronesia
local short form: none
former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Ponape, Truk, and Yap Districts
abbreviation: FSM
Government type: constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force 3 November 1986 and the Amended Compact entered into force May 2004
Capital: name: Palikir
geographic coordinates: 6 55 N, 158 09 E
time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 4 states; Chuuk (Truk), Kosrae (Kosaie), Pohnpei (Ponape), Yap
Independence: 3 November 1986 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday: Constitution Day, 10 May (1979)
Constitution: 10 May 1979
Legal system: based on adapted Trust Territory laws, acts of the legislature, municipal, common, and customary laws
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Emanuel MORI (since 11 May 2007); Vice President Alik L. ALIK (since 11 May 2007); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Emanuel MORI (since 11 May 2007); Vice President Alik L. ALIK (since 11 May 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet includes the vice president and the heads of the eight executive departments
elections: president and vice president elected by Congress from among the four senators at large for a four-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 11 May 2007 (next to be held May 2011); note - a proposed constitutional amendment to establish popular elections for president and vice president failed
election results: Emanuel MORI elected president; percent of Congress vote - NA; Alik L. ALIK elected vice president; percent of Congress vote - NA
Legislative branch: unicameral Congress (14 seats; 4 - one elected from each state to serve four-year terms and 10 - elected from single-member districts delineated by population to serve two-year terms; members elected by popular vote)
elections: last held 6 March 2007 (next to be held in March 2009)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 14
Judicial branch: Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders: no formal parties
International organization participation: ACP, ADB, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IMF, IOC, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Jesse Bibiano MAREHALAU
chancery: 1725 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 223-4383
FAX: [1] (202) 223-4391
consulate(s) general: Honolulu, Tamuning (Guam)
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Miriam K. HUGHES
embassy: 101 Upper Pics Road, Kolonia
mailing address: P. O. Box 1286, Kolonia, Pohnpei, 96941
telephone: [691] 320-2187
FAX: [691] 320-2186
Flag description: light blue with four white five-pointed stars centered; the stars are arranged in a diamond pattern
Culture

Each of the four States has its own culture and traditions, but there are also common cultural and economic bonds that are centuries old. For example, cultural similarities like the importance of the traditional extended family and clan systems can be found on all the islands.

The island of Yap is notable for its "stone money" (Rai stones), large disks usually of calcite, up to 12 feet (4 m) in diameter, with a hole in the middle. The islanders, aware of the owner of a piece, do not necessarily move them when ownership changes. There are five major types: Mmbul, Gaw, Ray, Yar, and Reng, the last being only 1 foot (0.3 m) in diameter. Their value is based on both size and history, many of them having been brought from other islands, as far as New Guinea, but most coming in ancient times from Palau. Approximately 6,500 of them are scattered around the island.

Economy Economy - overview: Economic activity consists primarily of subsistence farming and fishing. The islands have few mineral deposits worth exploiting, except for high-grade phosphate. The potential for a tourist industry exists, but the remote location, a lack of adequate facilities, and limited air connections hinder development. Under the original terms of the Compact of Free Association, the US provided $1.3 billion in grant aid during the period 1986-2001; the level of aid has been subsequently reduced. The Amended Compact of Free Association with the US guarantees the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) millions of dollars in annual aid through 2023, and establishes a Trust Fund into which the US and the FSM make annual contributions in order to provide annual payouts to the FSM in perpetuity after 2023. The country's medium-term economic outlook appears fragile due not only to the reduction in US assistance but also to the current slow growth of the private sector.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $277 million; note - supplemented by grant aid, averaging perhaps $100 million annually (2002 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $232 million (2005)
GDP - real growth rate: 0.3% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $2,300 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 28.9%
industry: 15.2%
services: 55.9% (2004 est.)
Labor force: 37,410 (2000)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 0.9%
industry: 34.4%
services: 64.7%
note: two-thirds are government employees (FY05 est.)
Unemployment rate: 22% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line: 26.7% (2000)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.2% (2005)
Budget: revenues: $127.3 million ($69 million less grants)
expenditures: $144.2 million (FY05 est.)
Agriculture - products: black pepper, tropical fruits and vegetables, coconuts, bananas, cassava (tapioca), sakau (kava), betel nuts, sweet potatoes; pigs, chickens; fish
Industries: tourism, construction; fish processing, specialized aquaculture; craft items (from shell, wood, and pearls)
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Electricity - production: 192 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source: NA
Electricity - consumption: 178.6 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2002)
Current account balance: -$34.3 million (FY05 est.)
Exports: $14 million (f.o.b.) (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities: fish, garments, bananas, black pepper, sakau (kava), betel nut
Exports - partners: Japan, US, Guam (2006)
Imports: $132.7 million f.o.b. (2004)
Imports - commodities: food, manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, beverages
Imports - partners: US, Japan, Hong Kong (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $106.4 million (2005)
Debt - external: $60.8 million (FY05 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Currency (code): US dollar (USD)
Currency code: USD
Exchange rates: the US dollar is used
Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 12,400 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 14,100 (2005)
Telephone system: general assessment: adequate system
domestic: islands interconnected by shortwave radiotelephone (used mostly for government purposes), satellite (Intelsat) ground stations, and some coaxial and fiber-optic cable; cellular service available on Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap
international: country code - 691; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2002)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 5, FM 1, shortwave 0 (2004)
Radios: 9,400 (1996)
Television broadcast stations: 3 (cable TV also available) (2004)
Televisions: 2,800 (1999)
Internet country code: .fm
Internet hosts: 632 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 16,000 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 6 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2007)
Roadways: total: 240 km
paved: 42 km
unpaved: 198 km (1999)
Merchant marine: total: 3 ships (1000 GRT or over) 3,560 GRT/2,060 DWT
by type: cargo 1, passenger/cargo 2 (2007)
Ports and terminals: Tomil Harbor
Military Military branches: no regular military forces
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 26,686 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 21,748 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 16-49: 1,310 (2008 est.)
Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the US
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: none
Illicit drugs: major consumer of cannabis