Small  island nations like Palau are leading the charge in a  raft of regional programs from   maritime surveillance, renewable energy, climate change and the fight against Non-communicable disease (NCD) to address Pacific challenges.

President Tommy Remengesau Jr. told reporters in a press conference on Wednesday that Palau is one of the strongest advocates of sustainable future in the Pacific.

“More and more we should look at ourselves as a contributing country,” Remengesau said.

He said Palau is working with development partners to ramp up maritime surveillance in the Pacific to combat illegal fishing and other crimes at sea.

Palau, he said will continue to work with Japan, Australia, Unite States and even its neighboring small countries

The Palau leader added that Palau is also leading efforts to address NCD in the country and in the Pacific.

He also noted Palau is also taking a leadership role renewable energy with the aim of becoming 45 percent renewable by 2025 as part of its vision to combat to climate change.

Remenegsau took the opportunity to stress how the agreement with Engie to construct a 100- megawatt microgrid renewable energy in Palau

He said Palau might have an ambitious target but as a small island nation it will lead the way in renewable energy in the Pacific and the world.

“This is a reminder for all leadership in Palau, state ,traditional and national leadership   that as  long as we  continue to work together and to take action in the best interest of the people , Palau will continue to be a leader in the Pacific,” Remengesau said.

In 2015, Palau led with signing into law a legislation declaring 80 percent of its waters as  a marine sanctuary, where no commercial fishing will take place.

Palau is also set to become the first country in the world to ban certain reef-toxic sunscreen and the first country to introduce passport pledge to require tourists to protect its environment. (Bernadette H. Carreon)