Palau is the recipient of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Ridge-to-Reef (R2R) System of Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR) project with the purpose of improving the Protected Areas Network (PAN), implementing sustainable management policies, ensuring integrated coordination, and mainstreaming project management. In late January, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment & Tourism (MNRET) signed a Memorandum of Agreement agreeing to work together in collaboration to support GEF R2R STAR project.
Responsibilities delegated to PICRC under this Memorandum include: monitoring of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) effectiveness, holding training courses for Protected Area Network (PAN), and conducting socio-economic studies.
MPA monitoring is critical in providing key information that will influence decision-making. In September 2015, PICRC began conducting baseline assessments of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and through this project will continue to assess their effectiveness. This data will be used when comparing future assessments to improve the design, evaluation and implementation of PAN sites. To assure effective MPA monitoring, PICRC will collaborate with PANO and Palau Community College to conduct PAN Ecological training Courses. This course covers surveying methods for conservation officers and rangers to apply when monitoring PAN sites.
Assessing public perception is another important aspect of PAN management. In order to incorporate social consideration in resource management, PICRC has began conducting baseline socio-economic studies in PAN incorporated states to determine the affects of their marine protected areas on the livelihoods of communities. Through this project a baseline assessment of all PAN incorporated states will be completed.
Reports from this project will provide valuable information to PAN O and the state governments on the effectiveness of Palau’s PAN network and guide informed decision-making for collaborative resource management. [/restrict]