Definition of Youth

According to a 2006 situation analysis of youth in Tuvalu, youth is defined as between 15-34 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 21
  • 16
  • XX
  • Female
  • 21
  • 16
  • --

  • Male homosexual acts illegal. Female homosexual acts legal. No specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Between 10-14 years, a person is not criminally responsible if it can be proven that the person lacked capacity to know that the act was wrong. Source:  Penal Code of Tuvalo

Majority Age


No clear definition of the age of majority. Source: United Nations Office at Geneva (2013)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • --Male %
  • -- Female %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 41.60% Male (13-15) %
  • 32.70% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Tuvalu’s Draft Youth Policy (2012-2016) is awaiting endorsement. A 2006 analysis exists.

According to a 2013 report by the UN Human Rights Council, the Draft Tuvalu National Youth Policy (2012-2016) commits to providing opportunities to develop the “personal, physical, social, economic, mental and spiritual potential of young people”. It emphasises the need for coordination among government, NGOs, private sector and the community to address youth issues. According to the report, drafted in January 2013, the youth policy is awaiting Cabinet endorsement. To date, there is no indication that the youth policy has been approved.   As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Tuvalu is a signatory of The Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (PAYE) 2006-2015. It lists 13 action points for member nations, including youth empowerment, participation, and gender equality.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
A 2006 UNICEF report describes a Department of Youth within the Ministry of Home Affairs and Rural Development. This department was responsible for the implementation of the National Youth Policy 2005-2010. It is also mandated to collaborate with the Tuvalu National Youth Council, as described on the Pacific Youth Council website. However it is unclear if this department still exists. It may now reside within the Ministry, Education, Youth, Sports and Health, which appears to have gained the youth portfolio in the 2010 cabinet.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The Tuvalu National Youth Council (TNYC) was established in 1978, according to a description on the website of the Pacific Youth Council, the umbrella organisation for councils in the Pacific region. Its vision is “to be a recognised NGO that promotes, fosters and empowers the holistic development of young people of Tuvalu to become active citizens and leaders”. It is comprised of 13 affiliated youth organisations and focuses on the areas of spiritual development, culture, education, law, health, economic empowerment and environment.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
No budgetary information could be found online regarding youth spending in Tuvalu. The World Bank does not calculate spending on education as a percentage of government expenditure or GDP for Tuvalu from 2000.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed May 2014).

Additional Background

From Tuvalu: A situation Analysis of Children, Women & Youth (2006): Issues identified by youth in Tuvalu  
Although youth representatives are permitted to attend community meetings, they tend to leave all decisions to older people because there is a culture of respect for elders and because they lack a vote in community decision-making. They said ‘Youth are the hands and legs of the community – elders are the voice’. If they do try to speak out, they find it difficult to get their message across. Virtually all Tuvaluan young people belong to a youth organisation of some sort, and are entitled to request assistance from the Government’s Youth Office through the National Youth Council, but youth organisations have only limited facilities and budgets. The total budget for the National Youth Council is only $AUD 5,000 a year. The Tuvalu Association for NGOs (TANGO) has received many creative income generating project proposals from youth – piggeries, fisheries, agriculture etc – especially from the outer islands where there are more resources, but TANGO has very limited funding to assist youth. This means it may be difficult or impossible for youth groups to obtain the funding they need to start productive activities. [...]
There are insufficient wage employment opportunities for youth in Tuvalu. Many young people do not aspire to career choices because they do not expect to have a choice. Girls are especially likely to be without ambition. There are no career counselors in schools. Most youth in the outer islands have little opportunity for employment outside agriculture unless they migrate to Funafuti where they face strong competition in the job market. A few fortunate ones may gain admission to the Tuvalu Marine Training Institute in Amatuku, but there are few choices for those who fail to meet admission standards. The recent reduction in the number of Tuvalu Government scholarships for overseas study means still less opportunity to obtain quality education and skills training overseas.