Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration


map_of_tuvaluflag tuvalu

Tuvalu, formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is located midway between Hawaii and Australia in the South Pacific Ocean. It comprises nine islands (four reef islands and five coral atolls), eight of which are inhabited. Tuvalu’s population is approximately 11,000, with about half living on the atoll of Funafuti, which is the capital.

Tuvalu is one the world’s smallest independent nations. It was administered by Britain as part of a protectorate from 1892 to 1916 and as part of the Gilbert (now Kiribati) and Ellice Islands Colony from 1916 to 1974. In 1974, the Ellice Islanders voted for separate British dependency as Tuvalu, separating from the Gilbert Islands. Tuvalu became fully independent within the Commonwealth in 1978. Tuvalu is a constitutional monarchy with a 15-member unicameral parliament elected every four years. Cabinet consists of the prime minister, elected by a majority of the members of parliament, and several ministers. There are no organised political parties and members usually align themselves in informal groupings. Members of parliament generally have very close links with their island constituencies (two members are elected from each of the main islands and 1 member from the remaining island) and effort is directed towards balancing island representations in the cabinet.
The prime minister appoints a cabinet, who together with the speaker of parliament typically form the government, with the remaining parliamentarians normally forming the opposition. Each ministry is headed by a cabinet member, who is assisted by a permanent secretary, a career public servant, who directs the staff of the ministry. Despite the priority to develop the human capital base and a generous scholarship program, the capacity of the public sector to deliver quality public services remains limited.
Under the Tuvalu Public Service Act and a Public Service Ordinance and General Administrative Orders, the Public Service Commission is responsible for the efficient management and control of the entire public service, including recruitment, dismissal, promotions and performance monitoring.

© Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration