Kausea Natano

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Kausea Natano
Natano in 2022
13th Prime Minister of Tuvalu
Assumed office
19 September 2019
MonarchsElizabeth II
Charles III
Governors GeneralTeniku Talesi Honolulu (Acting)
Samuelu Teo (Acting)
Sir Tofiga Vaevalu Falani
Preceded byEnele Sopoaga
Offices held
Deputy Prime Minister of Tuvalu
In office
24 December 2010 – 2 August 2013
Prime MinisterWilly Telavi
Preceded byEnele Sopoaga
Succeeded byVete Sakaio
Minister of Public Utilities
In office
24 December 2010 – 2 August 2013
Prime MinisterWilly Telavi
Preceded byTaukelina Finikaso
Succeeded byVete Sakaio
Member of Parliament
for Funafuti
Assumed office
25 July 2002
Preceded byIonatana Ionatana
Teleke Lauti
Personal details
Born (1957-07-05) 5 July 1957 (age 66)
Funafuti[citation needed]
SpouseSelepa Kausea Natano

Kausea Natano (born 5 July 1957)[1] is a Tuvaluan politician who is serving as Prime Minister of Tuvalu, in office since 19 September 2019. He is also serving as an MP for Funafuti, having also served as the country's deputy prime minister and minister for communications in former prime minister Willy Telavi's Cabinet.[2]

Early life[edit]

Before entering politics, Natano was director of customs of Tuvalu, and also served as assistant secretary in the ministry of finance and economic planning.[3]

Political career[edit]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Natano was first elected to the Parliament of Tuvalu in 2002.[4]

Natano was one of seven members re-elected in the 2006 election,[5][6] in which he received 340 votes.[7] Natano was the Minister for Public Utilities and Industries from 2006 to 2010 in Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia's Cabinet.[4] Natano was re-elected to Parliament in the 2010 general election.

Natano was re-elected in the 2015 general election and again in the 2019 general election.[8]

Deputy Prime Minister (2010–2013)[edit]

Following the 2010 general election, Natano stood for the premiership, and received seven votes from MPs, thus being narrowly defeated by Maatia Toafa, who received eight.[9] In December 2010, Toafa's government was ousted in a motion of no confidence, and Willy Telavi succeeded to the premiership.[10] Natano was among those who supported Telavi, enabling his accession. Upon appointing his Cabinet on December 24, Telavi appointed Natano as Minister for Communications.[4][11] He was also appointed Deputy Prime Minister.[4][12]

Following Prime Minister Telavi's removal by Governor General Sir Iakoba Italeli on 1 August 2013 in the context of a political crisis (Telavi had sought to govern without the support of Parliament), Natano and the rest of Cabinet were voted out of office a day later by Parliament, where the opposition now had a clear majority.[13]

Premiership (2019–present)[edit]

Natano signing the book of condolence for Queen Elizabeth II at Lancaster House on 17 September 2022

Following the 2019 Tuvaluan general election, on 19 September 2019, the members of parliament elected Natano as prime minister with a 10–6 majority.[14][15][16][17][18]

During his ministry, the Economy of Tuvalu experienced challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2023, the IMF Article IV consultation with Tuvalu concluded that a successful vaccination strategy allowed Tuvalu to lift coronavirus disease (COVID-19) containment measures[19] at the end of 2022. However, the economic cost of the pandemic was significant, with real gross domestic product growth falling from 13.8% in 2019 to -4.3 percent in 2020, although it recovered to 1.8% in 2021.[20] Inflation rose to 11.5% in 2022, but inflation is project to fall to 2.8% by 2028.[20]

The increase in inflation in 2022 was due to the rapid rise in the cost of food resulting from a drought that affected food production and from rising global food prices, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (food imports represent 19 percent of Tuvalu’s GDP, while agriculture makes up for only 10 percent of GDP).[21]

On 26 September 2023, the World Bank (WB) approved US$11.5 million (AUD$18 million) in new grant financing to Tuvalu as part of the WB’s First Climate and Disaster Resilience Development Policy Financing program.[22] This WB support includes a development policy grant of US$7.5 million (AU$11.8 million) This grant is directed to assisting Tuvalu's National Disaster Management Office in coordinating post-disaster response activities; as well to the work of Tuvalu’s National Building Code Assessment Unit, of the Public Works Department, to develop more disaster-resilient infrastructure in Tuvalu.[22]

On 10 November 2023, Natano signed the Falepili Union, a bilateral diplomatic relationship with Australia, under which Australia will increase its contribution to the Tuvalu Trust Fund and to TCAP.[23][24][25] Australia will also provide an pathway for citizens of Tuvalu to migrate to Australia, to enable climate-related mobility for Tuvaluans.[24]

Foreign policy and climate change initatives[edit]

During his ministry, Tuvalu implemented the National Adaptation Programme of Action as a response to the climate change issues facing Tuvalu, including the Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project (TCAP).[26] The Natano Ministry continued the constitutional reform project that had commenced in 2016 in the Sopoaga Ministry. On 5 September 2023, Tuvalu’s parliament passed the Constitution of Tuvalu Act 2023,[27] with the changes to the Constitution came into effect on 1 October 2023.[28]

The 2023 amendments to the Constitution adopt an innovative approach to determining the boundaries of the State of Tuvalu in the event that climate change results in sea level rise that causes loss to the physical territory of Tuvalu.[29]

Section 2(1) states the perpetual statehood of Tuvalu “notwithstanding the impacts of climate change or other causes resulting in loss to the physical territory of Tuvalu”.
Section 2(2) declares Tuvalu’s area, including maritime zones (as defined in a schedule that is a Declaration of Tuvalu Geographical Coordinates) are permanent, regardless of any effects resulting from climate change.

The government of Tuvalu recognises that there is no international conventions that it can rely on that can recognise Tuvalu’s new status as the effects of climate change are not addressed in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.[30]

Tuvalu, and other Pacific Ocean countries, support such a position on the impact on territorial boundaries caused by climate change. The leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum countries published a declaration on 6 August 2021 that recalling that Pacific Islands Forum Members have a long history of support for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (the “Convention”), and which declaration ended with a proclamation: “that our maritime zones, as established and notified to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in accordance with the Convention, and the rights and entitlements that flow from them, shall continue to apply, without reduction, notwithstanding any physical changes connected to climate change-related sea-level rise.”[31][32]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Selepa Kausea Natano.[33][4]


  1. ^ "THE HON KAUSEA NATANO PRIME MINISTER TUVALU". Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Current Members (including Ministers and Private Members)". The Parliament of Tuvalu. Archived from the original on 5 March 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Tuvalu has elected a new Prime Minister - Hon. Kausea Natano". Fiji Sun. 20 September 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e "The Hon Kausea Natano, Prime Minister, Tuvalu". Pacific Island Forum. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  5. ^ Tuvalu's new Government to be sworn in on 17 August Archived 2008-10-14 at the Wayback Machine, Pacific Islands Trade & Investment Commission NZ, 8 August 2008. Accessed 2008-09-25.
  6. ^ Election Results Bring Changes Archived 2008-10-19 at the Wayback Machine, Tuvalu News, 3 August 2006. Accessed 2008-09-25.
  7. ^ ELECTION RESULTS FOR THE FUNAFUTI CONSTITUENCY Archived 2013-03-01 at the Wayback Machine, Tuvalu News, 16 August 2006. Accessed 2008-09-25.
  8. ^ Tahana, Jamie (10 September 2019). "Tuvalu elections: large turnover for new parliament". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  9. ^ "New Prime Minister for Tuvalu". Australia Network. 2010-09-29. Archived from the original on 2010-09-29. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
  10. ^ "Willie Telavi the new prime minister in Tuvalu". Radio New Zealand. 24 December 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Island declares emergency rule". The Independent. 15 January 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Composition du gouvernement des îles Tuvalu", French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 23 September 2011
  13. ^ "Tuvalu opposition votes out government". RNZ. 2 August 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  14. ^ Evan Wasuka & Alan Weedon (19 September 2019). "Pacific climate change champion Enele Sopoaga is no longer Tuvalu's PM — so who's next in?". Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  15. ^ "Kausea Natano new PM of Tuvalu; Sopoaga ousted". 19 September 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  16. ^ Colin Packham & Jonathan Barrett (19 September 2019). "Tuvalu changes PM, adds to concerns over backing for Taiwan in Pacific". Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  17. ^ Pareti, Samisoni (16 September 2019). "Natano gets PM nomination". Islands Business. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  18. ^ "New Tuvalu PM will not attend UN Climate Summit in New York". PACNEWS. 18 September 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Standard Operating Procedure for International Travel to Tuvalu" (PDF). Government of Tuvalu. 30 September 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2023.
  20. ^ a b "Tuvalu: 2023 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Tuvalu". International Monetary Fund Country Report No. 2023/267. 21 July 2023. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  21. ^ "Tuvalu: 2023 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Tuvalu". International Monetary Fund Country Report No. 2023/267. 21 July 2023. p. 4. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  22. ^ a b "World Bank Provides US$11.5 Million Grant to Boost Tuvalu's Climate and Disaster Resilience, Preparedness, and Response". World Bank Press Release No: 2024/001/EAP. 27 September 2023. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
  23. ^ "Australia-Tuvalu Falepili Union treaty". Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 12 November 2023.
  24. ^ a b "Joint Statement on the Falepili Union between Tuvalu and Australia". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 10 November 2023. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  25. ^ Daniel Hurst and Josh Butler. "Australia to offer residency to Tuvalu citizens displaced by climate change". The Guardian Australia. Retrieved 12 November 2023.
  26. ^ Bouadze, Levan (6 December 2022). "Groundbreaking ceremony in Funafuti for Tuvalu's coastal adaptation". UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. Retrieved 1 November 2023.
  27. ^ Simon Kofe and Jess Marinaccio (21 September 2023). "Tuvalu Constitution updated: culture, climate change and decolonisation". DevPolicyBlog - Development Policy Centre. Retrieved 27 November 2023.
  28. ^ "Constitution of Tuvalu" (PDF). Government of Tuvalu. 5 September 2023. Retrieved 27 November 2023.
  29. ^ "EDO's expert assistance to Tuvalu Constitutional Reform Project: Interview with Dr Bal Kama". Environmental Defenders Office. 21 September 2023. Retrieved 27 November 2023.
  30. ^ Buchanan, Kelly (29 September 2023). "Tuvalu: Constitutional Amendment Enshrines Statehood in Perpetuity in Response to Climate Change". Law Library of Congress. Retrieved 27 November 2023.
  31. ^ "Declaration on Preserving Maritime Zones in the Face of Climate Change-related Sea-Level Rise". Pacific Islands Forum. 6 August 2021. Retrieved 28 November 2023.
  32. ^ Kofe, Simon (10 November 2021). "Tuvalu's Future Now Project: preparing for climate change in the worst-case scenario". DevPolicyBlog - Development Policy Centre. Retrieved 27 November 2023.
  33. ^ "LCT 'Moeiteava' Christened And Commissioned". Tuvalu Paradise - Issue No. 06/2021. 29 January 2021. Archived from the original on 7 August 2021. Retrieved 8 March 2021.

See also[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Tuvalu