President Surangel Whipps Jr. said Palau is still on track to host the Our Oceans Conference but looking into scheduling it for early 2022.
“We’re still planning to host our oceans here. We’ve been having discussions with our partners. Initially, we were thinking in October, our partners have advised us…. So they think it’s too tight to have it in October. “
Whipps said, hosting it in early 2022 will give people and partners planning to fly to Palau to attend the conference, to get vaccinated.
“We want to make sure we have an in-person conference, that way we can get commitments. So really, if we can move it to early next year. Hopefully, most of our partners are vaccinated so that we can have more in-person participation. That’s our ultimate goal,” he told local reporters on Wednesday.
President said once the date is determined, he will make the announcement.
He added that Palau is still “full speed” to hold the Our Ocean here with the facilities build in anticipation of the international meeting.
In 2021, former President Tommy Remengesau Jr. announced that the Our Ocean Conference which is supposed to be held in Koror in December of 2020 will be postponed to 2021 due to the continued COVID-related travel restrictions.
Remengesau said the conference is best held in -person where commitments and partnership will be made by nations involved in ensuring the health of the ocean.
In spite of the postponement, the multimillion infrastructure supposed to be used to host the event was completed last year.
Palau government unveiled the “Global Village” which consists of all the facilities upgraded and improved to host Our Oceans 2020.
The improvements included the improvement of the old Congress building located in Koror,
The main plenary hall, the Palau National Gym, was also extensively renovated and retrofitted to host a conference. Palau Community College classrooms and cafeteria were renovated to serve as side events venues. Ernguul Park, formerly referred to as Bethlehem, also received extensive renovations and upgrades.
Other improvements include Asahi ballfield, parking lot, and sidewalks around Ernguul park to Palau Community College.