The night of Tuesday, June 13th turned out to be one of enthusiasm and dialogue at the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC). Together in collaboration with the Protected Areas Network (PAN) Fund, PICRC hosted a meeting where researchers presented results of their work and offered recommendations to key partners. The presentations were received by an engaged and eager audience consisting of representatives from the PAN Office, PAN Fund, PAN Technical Committee, and Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP).

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During the presentations, Ms. Marine Gouezo reported on the status of coral reefs and the ecological conditions and trends of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in Palau, Mr. Victor Nestor addressed impacts observed from tourism on shallow reefs, and Ms. Lincy Marino shared findings from the PAN socioeconomic baseline surveys. Visiting Researcher Rob Woesik also presented on coral refuges in Palau.  Collectively these findings provide key insights on what can be done by PAN and SGP to further improve the MPA network in Palau.

Although the reefs in Palau have proven to be some of the most resilient reefs in the world, higher levels of protection are essential to their survival as large disturbances become more frequent and water temperatures and acidification levels continue to rise. In addition, increasing the number of fully protected areas will benefit the vibrant reefs, that Palau is so famously known for, and strengthen their resilience to future climate-induced pressures.

According to PAN Fund General Manager, Regis Emesiochel, “The PAN Fund was incredibly impressed by the presentations and will continue to collaborate with PICRC and other partners to support the PAN Network.   If we don’t work together, we may not achieve the goals we have set out to accomplish”.

This was just one of many meetings that PICRC is planning to hold with key partner agencies and communities.  These meetings will focus on using the results of the research being conducted by the Center to improve coral reef management and conservation efforts in Palau. [/restrict]