On Thursday, December 1, 2016, Palau Conservation Society (PCS) and the Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB) signed an MOU that seals the partnership to implement the recently awarded USAID grant project entitled Reviving Traditional Croplands to Improve Community Climate Resilience. Present at the signing ceremony were: Ms. Roxanne S. Blesam – Executive Director of EQPB, Ms. Lily R. Orukei – EQPB Administrative Officer, Mr. Anthony Adelbai, Jr. – EQPB Assistant Lab Technician, Ms. Lolita Gibbons-Decherong – Interim Executive Director of PCS, and other PCS staff.
The goal of this project is to build community resilience to climate change by focusing on watershed management and traditional soil conservation methods. One way in which the Republic of Palau is addressing the impacts of Climate Change is through its implementation of the national storm water management plan. EQPB uses this plan to guide its permitting decision process for development in Palau. The challenge is, there is no local implementation of this storm water management plan and the EQPB’s presence in the states is only triggered by specific projects seeking permits in those states. This means that much of the development in states including farming occurs without any plan for managing storm water which exacerbates land degradation.
This project will identify the necessary institutional arrangements and procedures for effective watershed management to reduce the negative impacts of Climate Change that are anticipated based on Palau’s climate change profile. Because higher levels of rainfall and an ever increasing sea level in the coming years due to Climate Change are being predicted,
it necessary to focus on storm water and watershed management to ensure communities have the ability to respond to and recover from negative or devastating effects of climate change events such as typhoons, sea level rise, droughts, and others. EQPB’s expertise and training in storm water management measures will ensure that the actions undertaken in this project will contribute to effective watershed management and thus increase community resiliency.
Palau’s national storm water management plan offers guidelines that all the states may use but does not take a proactive approach to sustainable land management. Adopting a state based storm water management regime would ensure that states consistently address the problem of sedimentation and not just as conditions of earthmoving permits. A protocol of traditional soil conservation based “best practices” to manage storm water in problematic areas of a watershed would reduce land degradation. This would ensure sustainability of guiding protocol since implementation would be affordable and technically feasible for the states and address real and pressing concerns. Project partners such as EQPB will lead these efforts and will jointly work with PCS to develop and implement capacity building activities for state institutions and for individuals within the institutions.
This project is made possible by the support of the American People, through the U.S. Agency for International Development [/restrict]