(L-R) Special Assistant to Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism and GEF Operational Focal Point, King Sam; Minister of State for the Republic of Palau, Hon. Faustina Rehuher-Marugg; UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Country Director and Head of Regional Policy and Programme, Bakhodir Burkhanov; and UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Administrator and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Haoliang Xu (Photo: UN/Sharon Sakuma)

Koror, Palau
 - A project which will link biodiversity conservation to sustainable economic activity in Palau has been launched today with the signing of a partnership between the Government of the Republic of Palau and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Integrating Biodiversity Safeguards and Conservation into Planning and Development in Palau Project will focus on establishing biodiversity conservation into integrated land and seascape governance, planning and management.

The project recognizes the fact that these land and seascapes underpin the lives and livelihoods of many local communities and that implementation of a coherent strategy to promote sustainable, biodiversityfriendly livelihood options is an integral part of the solution.

“Indeed, one of the principles for this project’s implementation is to support and implement a participatory, consultative bottom-up planning and implementation approach focusing on state and community priorities,” said Minister of State for the Republic of Palau, Honourable Faustina Rehuher-Marugg.

“I believe the project will help states as well as the national government to ensure development interests are aligned to our nation’s social, economic and environmental goals. Sustainability, inclusiveness and stewardship are tenets in Palauan culture.”

Speaking at the launch in Koror, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Administrator and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Haoliang Xu, said “UNDP is honoured to partner with the Government of Palau in accessing the funds from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implementing the project.”

“Our enduring commitment is to improve resilience of the Pacific island nations and help them protect their rich biodiversity and secure their ecosystems,” said Xu.

He added, “This project will address the negative impacts of unsustainable sector-led development practices on biodiversity-rich landscapes of Palau, including its productive coastal and marine ecosystems, while taking into account climate change adaptation needs and inclusive and equitable social and economic development for dependent communities, thereby contributing towards poverty alleviation, food security and sustainable agriculture and gender equality.”

The project will directly support conservation activities in Babeldaob Island as well as integrated multisector spatial zoning, planning and management in the Southern Lagoon states of Koror and Peleliu. It will also support the establishment of a Joint Coordination Body with representation from states, government, private sectors and non-government organisations.

The USD 4.2 million six-year project is funded by the Global Environment Facility and will be implemented from July 2018 through to July 2024.

Contact information

Sharon Sakuma, UN Coordination Officer, United Nations Joint Presence, Palau. Phone: +680 488 7270 Email: sharon.sakuma@one.un.org

Merana Kitione, Communications Officer, Resilience & Sustainable Development Team, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. Phone: +679 3227 579 Email: merana.kitione@undp.org

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