Eco Tours in Nauru - Sustainable Tourism & Conservation Laws

Located just south of the Marshall Islands, in a remote stretch of expansive sea, lies the Republic of Nauru. With an area of only 8.1 square miles, Nauru is the second smallest country in the world, and the smallest Republic nation by far. The few thousand people that call Nauru home generally work in one of three industries: tourism, fishing, or phosphate mining. These industries are in constant conflict with each other, leading to a few necessary legal measures to facilitate a more copacetic relationship. While Nauru is a small nation, it has enacted some substantial measures toward sustainability-- often at a faster pace than some of its larger neighbors. In order to keep the nation running smoothly, and to keep tourism a healthy business there, the government has taken some steps toward creating legal protections for the environment. These steps have been taken through national environmental laws, and through Nauru's status as a signatory on various international UN conventions.

Local environmental laws in Nauru are governed by the Nauru National Development Strategy. The strategy takes into account one of the largest negative environmental impacts on the island: the damage done by the phosphate mines. The mines have stripped around 90% of the island from much of its natural beauty, and this has had many negative impacts on the island. Not only has this caused substantial degradation to the soil, but it has simply rendered most of the land on the island unusable. This is why most of the tourism is centered around the coasts, and why Nauru is working to shift its economy to one based upon tourism. The laws set down by the development strategy are based mostly around recovery of the landscape. The Nauru Recovery Company has been commissioned to develop plans for reviving the environment of the island, and has been making steady headway in its goals. The development strategy also calls for the regulation of mining chemical disposal. Since a major tourism draw for the island is the reef, coastal protections are strictly enforced.

Also, Nauru has ratified a few UN conventions and protocols that have a direct impact on the environmental policies of the nation. For example, Nauru is a signatory on the UN Convention for the Protection of the Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region, as well as the two protocols that have come from it. The convention sets a framework for how Nauru and other countries regulate the waters and terrestrial habitats of the south Pacific, and the protocols create the guidelines for the enforcement of those regulations.

Visitors to Nauru have a very unique experience awaiting them. Most of the activity is centered around the coasts, especially in the areas of the reef. The diversity in the reef makes fishing a popular activity for tourists on the island, as well as SCUBA diving and snorkeling. While these activities can be found at many other places, what cannot be found anywhere else is the sheer remoteness of this island. During the day, you can see the curvature of the Earth, and at night you are surrounded by a ceaseless array of starlight. What remains of the island has retained its tropical feel, and offers many of the same amenities that are offered at other comparable locations.

The status of environmental law is much more cut and dry on Nauru than in most other countries. The largest contributing factor to this is fairly simple in that Nauru has literally no other financial option than to promote conservation, and therefore tourism. Some estimates have stated that 90% of the entire island has been destroyed by phosphate mining, giving the population there few economic options to choose from. Their greatest assets are their remoteness, their beaches, and their reef, so it's vital that they keep the two assets they can impact in fair shape.