According to COUNTRYAAH, Tuvalu has a population of 11,508 (2018). Tuvalu and other low-lying island nations in the Pacific are not sinking as fast as scientists have previously claimed. The islands are growing instead, according to a geological study presented in the scientific journal Global and Planetary Change in June. The study, made by researchers from New Zealand and Fiji, is based, among other things, on aerial photographs and satellite images taken on 27 islands over 60 years. The study shows that most of the islands have retained their former lands and some have even grown. Several of Tuvalu’s islands have grown, as have islands in Kiribati and the Micronesia Federation. This could have been done by sediment and debris from corals creating new land surface.
Researchers have previously said that Kiribati and other low-lying island nations will be uninhabited in the 2050s. According to the new study, it may instead take at least 100 years for residents to move. All researchers seem to agree that the islands, especially Kiribati, the Micronesian Federation and Tuvalu, are threatened by rising sea levels, but the views fall apart as to how acute the threat is. The researchers behind the current study point out that even if the islands remain longer than previously thought, they may not be habitable in the long term.
In the parliamentary elections held on September 16, 26 candidates competed for the 15 seats. Everyone was running as independent candidates because there are no political parties in Tuvalu. The turnout was reported to be high. Ten of Parliament’s 15 members were re-elected. On September 29, Parliament elected Maatia Toafa as new prime minister with eight votes to seven for opposition candidate Kausea Natano. The former prime minister, Apisai Ielemia, did not stand for re-election but remained in parliament. Toafa, who had previously been prime minister from 2004 to 2006, immediately appointed a new government that included all newly elected members of parliament. One of them was former diplomat and Tuvalu’s permanent UN representative Enele Sopoaga, who was considered a national hero during his work at the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December 2009 when he was spokesman for the Association of Small Island Nations (AOSIS). Enele Sopoaga, who was appointed Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, was also Tuvalu’s representative at the 2010 Climate Conference, held in Mexican Cancún in November – December. Sopoaga criticized the United States and other Western countries for not taking sufficient responsibility for the environmental degradation they have been guilty of.