(Suva, Fiji) – The UN Development Programme and the Government of Palau held their Annual Programme Review (APR) meeting on Tuesday 15 June. Senior officials from the UNDP Pacific Office participated in the virtual high-level dialogue from various locations around Suva, while the Government of Palau gathered at West Plaza Lebuu Street in Koror.
As the APR mechanism was developed by UNDP this year, this is the first such dialogue, convened to facilitate a strategic assessment of the results of the UNDP-Palau Partnership. Today’s APR meeting featured open and constructive discussions that will further strengthen the close ties between UNDP and Palau.
Mr. Kevin Petrini, the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative a.i., set a warm tone for the consultations in his opening statement, in which he acknowledged the importance of the joint development programme. He also spoke about the need to urgently address the threats posed by both COVID-19 and climate change.
In noting that joint projects have produced many good results, Mr. Petrini stated that, “UNDP and the Government of Palau have taken much-needed practical steps, including actions to preserve biodiversity and introduce Climate Early Warning Systems to assist the people of Palau as they manage the impacts of climate change.”
He cited Palau’s achievements and world-leading example in the areas of biodiversity protection and conservation, both of which are supported by the UNDP-Palau joint development programme.
“Palau’s bold and far-reaching conservation policies and practices are an outstanding example to the entire Pacific region and the world. (Palau) has demonstrated that preserving biodiversity can be a win-win situation for both the economy and the environment, and I commend you for that,” praised Mr. Petrini.
In her opening remarks, the Honourable Vice President and Minister of State, Her Excellency J Uduch Sengebau Senior, thanked UNDP, stating “UNDP has provided critical support in the areas of democratic governance, environment, crisis prevention in health and disasters, as well as within our economic sector.” She cited numerous examples of how that support has been very visible and appreciated, including the UNDP-supported disaster response after the recent Taiphoon Surigae.
The Hon. Vice President acknowledged the many positive and sustainable results of UNDP and Palau’s collaboration. One example that she provided was the legislative strengthening projects, noting that “We have seen the development of Standard Operating Procedures in budgeting and procurement at the governors’ office and we would like to have this replicated in all the sixteen states of Palau. That is particularly important because, although it is not primarily meant to be an anti-corruption measure, the fact that there is more transparency in the procurement process really leads to better management of public finance.”
The Hon. Vice-President shared President Surangel Whipps Jr’s vision of “People First”, a key component of which is protection from climate change. The Hon. Vice-President also highlighted Palau’s ties with the UN in her capacity as the Co-Chair of the UN-Government of Palau Steering Committee.
The Vice President Sengebau Senior observed that the APR meeting is a good example of both UNDP and Palau’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17, which is “Partnerships for the Goals” and affirmed her government’s commitment to the Sustainable Development agenda and its joint development programme with UNDP.
Presentations on the joint development programme were made by both UNDP and Palau prior to a robust discussion on a wide range of topics, including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the joint response. This includes a new regional inclusive growth initiative aimed at the informal sector, governance interventions, including support under the Global Fund and assistance related to human security and border management, and disaster preparedness and response actions delivered by the Government of Palau and UNDP’s Resilience and Sustainable Development team.
UNDP and the Government of Palau identified the opportunity to work more closely on sustainable economic development and linked this to UNDP’s Pacific Small Island Developing States Offer, which is a package of development assistance focused on Climate Action, Digitalisation, and Blue Economy.
At the meeting’s conclusion, both parties conveyed gratitude to the other and shared their optimism about the future of the UNDP-Palau partnership. With the next APR planned for early 2022, UNDP and Palau will maintain high-level communication in support of programme implementation, Palau’s national development objectives, and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

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