Nauru's phosphate deposits began to be mined early in the 20th century by a German-British consortium; the island was occupied by Australian forces in World War I. Nauru achieved independence in 1968 and joined the UN in 1999. Nauru is the world's smallest independent republic.
limited natural fresh water resources, roof storage tanks collect rainwater, but mostly dependent on a single, aging desalination plant; intensive phosphate mining during the past 90 years - mainly by a UK, Australia, and NZ consortium - has left the central 90% of Nauru a wasteland and threatens limited remaining land resources
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Nauru is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia; only 53 km south of Equator