Rock Island Southern Lagoon (RISL) of Koror State celebrated its 9th year as UNESCO World Heritage Site, highlighting some of the unique contributions of RISL and conduct highly effective public awareness activities on June 29th, Tuesday this week.
The events to commemorate the anniversary date included Scoop-Go-Challenge with Koror Rangers in the morning, opening of the traditional New Medicinal Garden at Long Island, a collaboration between Koror State Government and Ngaramaiberel. The new garden features native and endemic plants found within the RISL (Koror State).
Vice President J. Uduch Sengebau-Senior who attended the opening of the new Garden said that it was not only exciting as it recognizes that Palau is ancient country with developed medicinal know-how but it also fulfilled a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that Palau supports.
Perhaps most visible and effective public awareness campaign was the activity where Koror State Rangers helped bag groceries at the two busiest supermarkets in Palau, WCTC and Surangel & Sons during the peak hours in full uniform while also handing out information materials about the Koror State Rock Island Southern Lagoon, UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rangers showcased pride in their State and in their work and certainly brought attention to the unique asset in Palau’s back yard that many locals take for granted.
Inscribed into UNESCO World Heritage list in 2012, RISL brings substantial pride to the people of Koror who zealously manage and protect it.
The area covers 100,200 hectares, with over 445 coralline limestone islands, highest concentration of marine lakes in the world, including some that have been isolated so that they contain species that have evolved uniquely such as the famous non-stinging jellyfish.
Over 385 different species of corals and endemic plants and marine animals are found in this unique site.
The site not only contain high biological and marine habitat diversity, and serves as a natural laboratory but it also retains three millennia of human activity and history. It contains caves, fortified villages, rock arts among other artifacts and cultural assets that represent nearly 5000 years of human occupation.
Koror State manages this heritage through State laws, management plans and traditional resource management practices that are still implemented today.
RISL acknowledges challenges it faces of climate change, commercial development interests, ocean debris from other countries and more, and works with its partners locally and regionally to meet those challenges and manage and protect an asset that is of global value and significance.