The women of Melekeok State came out in droves on Tuesday, October 11, for the community launch of the recently awarded USAID grant project entitled Reviving Traditional Croplands to Improve Community Climate Resilience. Palau Conservation Society along with one of its state partners, Melekeok State Government held the launch at Bailechesau, Melekeok State Office. The heavy rains did not deter about 35 community members as they joined Gov. Henaro Polloi, First Lady Alloysia T. Polloi, Ngiraingas Villany Thomas, and Mlechei Sabina Malsol to learn about the expected outcomes and benefits of the project to the Ngerubesang community.
The goal of this project is to build community resilience to climate change by focusing on watershed management and traditional soil conservation methods. The strategies and actions reflected in the project aim to achieve objective one of Palau’s Climate Change Policy Framework: enhance adaptation and resilience. Successful implementation of the project will result in the economic, environmental, and food security for the states of Melekeok, Ngaremlengui, and Ngarchelong.
Palau’s climate change profile predicts that Palau will face higher levels of rainfall and an ever increasing sea level in the coming years due to climate change. This makes it necessary to focus on storm water and watershed management to ensure communities have the ability to respond to and recover from negative or devastating effects of climate change events such as typhoons, sea level rise, droughts, and others. Published studies have also demonstrated that a healthy taro patch system with active taro patches help to slow down the flow of water and soil erosion. This traps up to 90% of the sediments that are eroded from the hills down to our reefs with every rainfall. This proves that Palau’s traditional taro farming methods are the best way to manage water and soil erosion. What better way to manage a contemporary issue like climate change than with traditional methods that have been practiced and handed down for thousands of years.
Ngerubesang in Melekeok was selected as a project site because of reported incidents of salt water inundations and intrusion. This has caused damages to many taro patches in Ngerubesang and is one of the reasons many taro patches are inactive or have been abandoned in this area. This project seeks to build on partnerships with the State Governments and community members to work together in reviving abandoned taro patches, taking best practices and applying it to dry land farms and other development projects in the states. The revival of taro patches will ensure economic, environmental, and food security for the Ngerubesang community. To be secure in these areas ensures resilience or fast and effective recovery from natural disasters that are caused by climate change.
This project is made possible by the support of the American People, through the U.S. Agency for International Development. [/restrict]