The Pacific Islands region is characterised by island nations with small populations scattered across an ocean area of approximately 36 million square kilometres. Less than 2 percent of this area is land. The region has a total population of around 8.5 million people.
The 22 countries and territories of the Pacific include a mixture of continental islands, volcanic islands and low and raised coral atolls. These countries and territories have
traditionally been divided into three groups - Melanesia (west), Polynesia (southeast) and Micronesia (north).