The Palau International Coral Reef Center and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), have launched yesterday a new project to enhance the implementation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act (PNMS).

The Strengthening of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary for the Conservation and Management of Global Marine Biodiversity and Sustainable Fisheries” project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with a grant of US$1,826,484 over a period of four years.  

President Surangel Whipps Jr. in his remarks during the project launch said the project will strengthen the PNMS and “provides an opportunity for policymakers, national agencies, the private sector, NGOs, civil society, and all key stakeholders to address how we could strengthen management – and paramount to this – how Palauans can continue to benefit from our Palau National Marine Sanctuary.”

Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, Chief Executive Officer for Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) in a press statement said that the project “provides much-needed resources and capacity to enhance operationalization of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act. The development and implementation of a 5-Year Strategic Plan and Road-Map is a key feature of this project”.

The Project will implement a Strategic Plan for the Sustainable Management of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary and Domestic Fishing Zone.  

The Project has four components namely: Institutional and Governance Realignment for Effective Monitoring and Adaptive Management within the PNMS and adjacent Domestic Fishing Zone (b) Enhanced Management through improved Monitoring, Control and Surveillance of Activities within the Established PNMS and DFZ  Boundaries (c) Ecosystem Assessment and Financial Planning for a Long-term Sustainability Strategy for the PNMS (d) Improvement of Knowledge Management, communication and awareness outreach coupled with effective Project Monitoring and Evaluation, the statement added. 

The marine sanctuary, took effect January 1, 2020, with 80 percent of its exclusive economic zone designated as a marine protected area. 

Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative of UNDP Pacific Office states “the capacity building and training program of this project is crucial. This ensures resilience and sustainability beyond the life of the project”.

Bouadze said the project is in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 of conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development. 

President Whipps said the project is essential to the work that PNMS has set to do since its implementation in 2020.

“We know that this is an important project, but we must also acknowledge that long-term commitment and continued investments through the GEF and others are needed to see this through,” he said. (B. Carreon) 

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