A collaborative effort between the 10 Babeldaob States and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism (MNRET) to plan for the sustainable development of Babeldaob kicked off on June 17, 2020 with the inaugural meeting of the Babeldaob Joint Coordination Body (JCB). The 11-person Babeldaob JCB is composed of one member from each Babeldaob State plus one member representing MNRET. As part of the Palau GEF6 National Project, MNRET also acts as the Secretariat for the JCB.
MNRET worked with each Governor on Babeldaob to establish the JCB and ensure that its members represented a fair social and gender balance, and that members would be able to maintain strict ethics and social inclusion while planning for the entire island. Bylaws and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Babeldaob JCB were approved by the Governors. After reviewing the Bylaws and SOPs, the Babeldaob JCB selected Officers with gender balance in mind. Ms. Marcia Inacio from Ngiwal and Mr. Chubby Mai from Ngchesar were nominated and accepted roles as Chair and Vice Chair, respectively. The JCB set its next meeting and agreed to its output of a Joint Vision for Babeldaob.
In the next year, the all-volunteer Babeldaob JCB will delineate and agree on broad zones for land and coastal waters: namely residential, commercial/sustainable use, conservation, and infrastructure zones. The Babeldaob JCB will also identify a suite of priority action areas and programs in the seven (7) key sectors of housing, agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, forestry, invasive species, and sustainable tourism. Together, the broad zones and priority action areas will yield a Landscape Plan for Babeldaob that will then feed into individual State Master Planning processes as well as action on the ground to implement Best Practices in the seven key sectors. This planning process will incorporate existing National plans and policies such as the Koror-Babeldaob Urban Development Strategic Action Plan (KBUDSAP) and the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP).
A complementary process will begin in July for the Southern Lagoon, via a Joint Coordination Body between Koror and Peleliu. The Southern Lagoon JCB will develop a Seascape Plan after joint marine and coastal planning.
As a signatory to international environmental conventions, Palau is able to access funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), currently in its sixth replenishment (GEF6). The Palau GEF6 grant is administered from GEF to Palau via the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and executed in Palau by MNRET. The title of the National GEF6 is: Integrating Biodiversity Safeguards and Conservation into Planning and Development. To ensure transparency, all project materials are accessible to the public at https://sites.google.com/view/gef6palau.