First ever held virtual handover ceremony took place yesterday with the official handover of the Global Village to Palau in preparation for Our Oceans 2020 Conference in December.  The final handover of the main plenary hall, the Palau National Gym will take place this afternoon, the 29th of September.

The “Global Village” consists of all the facilities upgraded and improved to host Our Oceans 2020 Conference, an international conference initially scheduled for August of this year but was moved to December due to the world pandemic situation.

The improvements included the old OEK building which is to be the site of the Pacific Pavilion during the OOC 2020.  The building is not only improved on the inside but also outside, including side-walks and parking lot.

The main plenary hall, the Palau National Gym, was also extensively renovated and retrofitted to host a conference.  Palau Community College classrooms and cafeteria were renovated to serve as side events venues.  Ernguul Park, formerly referred to as Bethehem, also received extensive renovations and upgrades. 

Other improvements include Asahi ballfield, parking lot and sidewalks around Ernguul park to Palau Community College.

The name “global village” is said to have been chosen to showcase concept of a village, especially Palau’s traditional concept. President Remengesau in his remarks said,  “A village is the building block of Palau’s communities, where people rely on each other, share with each other, talk with each other and support each other through good times and challenges.” 

The “global” designation is attributed to the contribution of Palau’s global partners.  “This is a village built on global partnerships to support infrastructure for Palau’s long-term sustainable development.”

Donor countries like New Zealand, Australia, Japan and India extended their congratulatory messages and support of Palau virtually.  Private donors such as Nippon Foundation Chairman also made virtual speeches and presentations.

The virtual handover ceremony exercise also served as testing exercise for Our Oceans 2020 Conference in December which is expected to be held as both virtual and in person conference.  Due to the world pandemic, plans are being made to accommodate a virtual conference.  A ceremony was held earlier in the day to award to Palau National Communication Corporation (PNCC) nearly half million dollars-worth of internet connectivity improvement to the Global Village site as well.

The name “Global Village” is in reference to Our Oceans Conference 2020 and not a permanent designation of the area.

Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg sent a virtual message of support.  Norway was the 2019 Our Oceans Conference host.  President of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, the country to host Our Oceans 2021 also extended their support and congratulatory message to Palau’s Independence.

Total estimated cost of all the venues renovations, equipment and services is pegged at $16 million plus US dollars.

The renovations, procurement of equipment and services were organized and managed by the United Nations Office for Project Services. (UNOPS).

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