Marshall Islands - Domestic policy
The greatest domestic challenge facing Kessai Note is creating a viable economy. The RMI shares certain problems with other island nations, including a young and rapidly growing population, unplanned urban growth, and a large public service sector that has been accused by the media of nepotism and financial mismanagement. World prices for copra, the primary export crop, declined in the 1980s, creating a serious trade imbalance. At the same time, shifting American policy in the post-Cold War era has diminished the strategic interests that directed attention, and funds, to the Marshalls, while the government remains dependent on U.S. aid for over 80% of its revenue.
The RMI has begun an economic reform program, with the aid of the Asian Development Bank and other organizations. Since 1996, the country has reduced the size of the service sector, eliminated some utility subsidies, and attempted to increase revenues from fisheries and tourism. The sunken World War II ships at Bikini Atoll are a major tourist attraction, and diving is a lucrative part of the tourist industry. In addition, the RMI is developing the aquaculture industry, including the harvesting of pearls. Note has pledged to continue economic restructuring and reform, even if doing so creates some short-term difficulties, in order to bring needed long-term growth. He also intends to continue the former government's support for the private sector.
The platform of the UDP, of which Note is a member, also opposes executive and legislative interference with the judiciary, which resulted in the impeachment or resignation of four chief justices in an eight-year period.
Global warming and the possibility of rising sea levels are issues of primary concern for the RMI. The islands rise only a few feet above sea level, and it has been suggested that sea levels could rise 18 inches (46 centimeters) by 2100.