On February 3rd, the steering committee for the project to strengthen management of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary met and endorsed the 2022 annual work plan and budget.  The endorsement triggers the implementation of project activities by the Division of Maritime Security and Fish & Wildlife Protection, the Bureau of Fisheries and the Palau International Coral Reef Center – the agencies mandated to manage the Sanctuary.

The steering committee consists of Vice President and Minister of Justice, Uduch Sengebau Senior, Minister Steven Victor of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Environment, United Nations Development Program’s Deputy Resident Representative, Kevin Petrini and Chief Executive Officer of the Palau International Coral Reef Center, Dr. Yimnang Golbuu.

Funded by the Global Environment Facility, the project is being implemented in partnership with the United Nations Development Program and is designed to support efforts to establish partnership platforms, integrate management, build capacity, and operationalize the Maritime Operations Center.  The 4-year, $1.8 million project also supports efforts to develop appropriate mechanisms to inform harvest strategies for Palau’s fishery and further explores pathways to effectively address sustainable financing for managing the Sanctuary.

In addition to endorsing the work plan and budget, the committee elected the Vice President and Minister of Justice to chair the committee, replacing interim chair, Dr. Golbuu, who presided in the initial meeting of the committee to launch the project.  In her remarks, the Vice President and Minister of Justice said that she believes this work plan and budget charts a successful course for the PNMS and looks forward to working closely with the committee to guide this important project.  She further stated the importance of ensuring that this vast resource which we have been blessed with should be protected to benefit Palau’s future generations.

United Nations Development Program’s Deputy Resident Representative Kevin Petrini added in a statement that the United Nations Development Program is honored to participate in this steering committee, and that this first meeting in 2022, early in the first quarter, establishes a strong basis for implementation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Project.

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