The Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) was awarded with a $40,000-dollar grant from the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT) on Monday September 16.

Titled Understanding human well-being benefits and values of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, the project aims to understand the positive impact that nature conservation has on human well-being. While most studies focus on economic well-being, this project will focus on other domains such as health, security, social relations and cultural heritage.

Conducted in the state of Airai, and thus closely collaborating with the respective authorities, this pilot project will focus on the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS). By understanding the degree of awareness, support and conservation benefits that Palauan residents have regarding the PNMS, PICRC will use the information to better guide the long-term monitoring of the PNMS.

Dating from January 2020 to June 2021, the project will start out by engaging local stakeholders in a series of meetings meant to gauge local perspectives on what human well-being means to them. At the same time, researchers will identify the most relevant factors that the community identifies for each of the following eight human well-being domains: 1) sustainable livelihoods, 2) health, 3) governance and empowerment, 4) social relations, 5) security and safety, 6) culture and spirituality, 7) subjective well-being, and 8) education. This information will be valuable for the application of future monitoring of the PNMS and how it benefits Palauan residents. (PR)