Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (2nd row, 3rd from left) during her visit in Palau

The government–backed Palau’s Pledge initiative gained support from the government of Australia with a donation of US$60,000 to help continue the program’s aim to curb ecological damage caused by increasing numbers of tourists.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop at a reception Sunday night, handed the check to Palau State Minister of State Rehuher-Marugg for the Palau Pledge Initiative.

The Palau Pledge is stamped onto visitors’ passports and must be signed upon arrival in the country. The signed pledge is a promise by visitors to respect the environment.

We deeply appreciate the beauty and the value of environment here in Palau,” Bishop said when she announced the financial support to the initiative.

“This eco-pledge is really something very special, the Australian government supports you in your efforts to ensure that the environment is treasured and valued.”

Bishop lauded the eco-pledge initiative as an innovative aspiration by Palau to maintain its pristine environment.

She said Australia is in support of the initiative and that  the money will “ensure that it can continue to endure and achieve its most amazing aspiration to have a pristine environment here in Palau.”

After receiving the check, Marugg turned it over to Elia Yobech, whom she introduced as president of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary.

Yobech is the president of  Friends of the Palau Marine Sanctuary, a non-profit organization that is affiliated with the Palau Legacy Project, which created the Palau Pledge Initiative.

Bishop’s group included International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong and Labor Sen. Claire Moore. The group is touring Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Marshall Islands as part of Australia’s “step-up” in its engagement in the Pacific.

The four women recited and signed the pledge at the reception.

I take this pledge as your guest, to protect and preserve your beautiful island home,” the pledge reads in part.

“I vow to tread lightly, act kindly and explore mindfully.” (Bernadet Carreon)