European Union External Action

Tuvalu and the EU

26/05/2016 - 17:02
EU relations with Country

Tuvalu comprises 3 reef islands and 6 atolls, with a population of 10,837.

Tuvalu is one of the UN-defined Least Developed Countries and faces significant challenges, including:

  • sea-level rise
  • extremely narrow economic base making it highly vulnerable to external shocks
  • geographical isolation
  •  lack of fertile land
  • inability to reap economies of scale, affecting the provision of goods and services.

Development cooperation

Past EU assistance

2008-13 – €5.5 million under the European Development Fund, focusing on the water, sanitation and the waste sectors.


Most of Tuvalu's population to benefitted from increased household rainwater harvesting and storage capacities - with 1,233 water tanks delivered and installed, covering 86 percent of households in the outer islands.


The environmental impact of household liquid waste disposal has been reduced by introduction of eco-sanitation, through the construction, installation and commissioning of 45 eco-sanitation units (composting toilets) in Funafuti.

Waste management

  • Household practice – households have improved water conservation and management in Funafuti and in the outer islands.
  • Equipment provided – tractors, trailers, excavators; 950 household bins and 21 medical waste bins, 30 sharp containers and 10 waste oil containers.
  • Institutions – a government body – the Solid Waste Management Agency – has been set up and its staff trained in the use of relevant machinery and improved waste management practices.

In addition, Tuvalu households benefited from improved awareness around best practices related to waste, sanitation and conservation of water.

Renewables & energy security

A €2 million project has given the 3 small outer islands of Nukufetau, Nukulaelae and Nui the capacity to generate clean solar-produced electricity 24 hours a day (as opposed to the current diesel supply of electricity, lasting only 18 hours a day).

Capacity building & governance activities

Under the EDF Regional Programme, Tuvalu has received support for climate change adaptation, deep-sea minerals, sustainable management of fisheries, tourism, trade policy, agricultural development, public finance and hazardous waste management.

In 2010, Tuvalu benefited from the V-FLEX initiative amounting to EUR 1.5 million and channelled through general budget support.

Current EU assistance (2014-20)

€6.8 million, mainly for waste management – to help Tuvalu achieve a sustainable, integrated waste management system, that operates effectively and efficiently.

Priority areas will cover:

  • waste reduction and resource recovery programmes including exporting of recyclables
  • waste collection and disposal system and infrastructure
  • improved community awareness and education, complemented by horizontal support to strengthen institutional systems, capacity building and introduction of sustainable financial mechanisms as well as support to public finance management  reforms in specific areas.

Through a more effective management of waste, the programme will support efforts to promote resource efficiency and sustainable consumption and production with a view to enable the transition to a circular economy, which could be an engine for poverty reduction, social progress, economic growth and environmental sustainability.

Programme implementation start is foreseen in last quarter of 2017

Funding in 2014-2020  under the EDF


Indicative funding

As a % of the total

Environment/waste management



Measures in favour of civil society



Support measures (technical assistance to NAO, technical cooperation facility, audit, evaluation)






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