September 22, 2021 – Heads of 14 United Nations agencies, Palau Ministries, and key Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) held the first ever Palau – UN Joint Steering Committee summit at the Office of the Vice President conference room, facilitated by outgoing UN Resident Coordinator for the Pacific, serving FSM, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, Mr. Sanaka Samarasinha. Also attending the JSC meeting with Mr. Samarasinha is Ms. Kay Schwendinger who is the Team Leader of the UN Multi-Country Office Micronesia. This was only the second Joint Steering Committee formed in the Pacific.
Attending the Joint Steering Committee Meeting for Palau Side were: Minister of State Gustav Aitaro who also serves as the Co-Chair of the JSC, Hon. Vice President and Minister of Justice
J. Uduch Sengebau Senior, Minister of Finance Kaleb Udui, Minister of Public Infrastructure and Industries Charles Obichang, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment Steven Victor, Minister of Education Dale Jenkins, Minister of Human Resources, Tourism, Commerce and Development Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl, Governor Florencio Adelbai representing the Governor’s Association, Sharon Sakuma and Kiblas Soaladaob-Palau UN Office, Portia Franz-IMO Office, Irene Olkeriil and Carol Ngiraidis-Palau Chamber of Commerce, Tessy Nobuo for Omekesang, Villany Remengesau-BANGO/Omekesang, Jefferson Thomas and Philom Temengil-BANGO, Senior Program Officer Gwen Sisior, MAFE, Antonette Merur – Ministry of Human Health and Services/Nurses Association, UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Sanaka Samarasinha and UN
Multi-Country Office Team Leader Ms. Kay Schwendinger and Elilai Ngirmang, Office of the Vice President.
Together, the Committee reviewed the six (6) indicators for which the Republic of Palau has agreed to measure its success: 1) Climate Action; 2) Gender Equality; 3) Economic Empowerment; 4) Equitable Basic Services; 5) Governance; and 6) Human Rights. It was discussed and agreed that the current structure of UN grant awards and projects create a “silo”
effect where related or concerned government agencies or CSOs are either unaware of the funding opportunity, or of an appropriate implementing agency, therefore missing out on valuable collaboration opportunities. It was expressed that a centralized system of disbursing important information should be implemented to assist in this process.
Going forward, the Joint Steering Committee has agreed that its role is to streamline both the grant and the information process, so that receiving agencies have ready access to grant opportunities, and that key government agencies are aware of ongoing great projects and can offer support as needed and appropriate.