His Excellency Karasawa Akira, Ambassador of Japan to Palau (centre) cut the tape to mark the launch of the LiDAR survey and handover of the equipment with staff from PALARIS and UNDP in Palau. (Photo: UNDP)


Koror, Palau
 – Palau is taking an extraordinary step forward to further strengthen its disaster risk management and climate change adaptation efficiency using detailed and accurate topographic data. It will be made possible through an aerial digital terrestrial/coastal survey using state-of-the-art remote sensing technology called Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). LiDAR is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth.

Palau’s first-ever nationwide digital survey initiative was officially launched today by the Government of Palau supported by the Government of Japan through the ‘Enhancing Disaster and Climate Resilience in the Republic of Palau through Improved Disaster Preparedness and Infrastructure (EDCR) project which is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Government of Palau.

The digital survey exercise will use LiDAR technology and aims to support the island vulnerability assessment work conducted by the Office of the Palau Automated Land and Resource Information System (PALARIS) with technical support provided by Fugro, the world’s leading Geo-data specialist company.

PALARIS Senior GIS Analyst, Mr David Idip who will lead the survey, said, “The LiDAR survey exercise will cover all major islands and island chains: Kayangel, Babeldoab, Koror, Peleliu, Angaur, Sonsorol, Hatohobei, and will enable accurate national coverage of island topography and supplementary marine data. The data generated from the LiDAR survey will serve as an integrated baseline, which enables more accurate assessments and planning activities.”

Partnership between the Palauan Government, the Japanese Government, and UNDP strengthens Palau's disaster risk management. (Photo: UNDP)
PALARIS received two vehicles to support additional data collection activities and assessments, four laptops and five desktop computers to manage the data expected from the study. (Photo: UNDP)
The partners for the ‘Enhancing Disaster and Climate Resilience in the Republic of Palau through Improved Disaster Preparedness and Infrastructure (EDCR) project came together at the ceremony of the survey launch and handover of the equipment held in Koror, Palau. (Photo: UNDP)


“The Lidar survey will upscale PALARIS’ technical capacity to perform its mandate to provide critical national spatial data services to government agencies and affiliates to support the management of human, economic and natural resources of the Republic of Palau,” he added.

Additionally, PALARIS received two vehicles to support additional data collection activities and assessments, four laptops and five desktop computers to manage the data expected from the study.

Palau has been experiencing frequent natural hazards including typhoons, droughts, and storm surges, which are becoming more irregular and intense. The impact of climate change and sea level rise became one of the priority issues among others for Palau to address with a sense of urgency. Those extreme weather and climatic events often resulted in disruption of economic activity, diversion of fiscal resources and loss of people’s livelihoods. Although Palau has recorded no COVID-19 cases, the global pandemic devastated Palau’s international tourism, which has been the engine of Palau's economy.

As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) in the western Pacific Ocean, Palau has taken various initiatives to address the challenges and is making progress towards its sustainable development. The Palau 2020: National Master Plan for Development, which was adopted in 1996, guides Palau’s long-term comprehensive plan for sustainable social, economic, and infrastructure development. In line with the Plan, the Japan-funded and UNDP-managed EDCR project is supporting the Government of Palau to increase the country’s and people’s resilience to climate disasters and other related hazards through strengthening preparedness and adaptive capacity of institutions, systems and communities.

PALARIS Senior GIS Analyst, Mr David Idip (Photo: UNDP)
His Excellency Karasawa Akira, Ambassador of Japan to Palau (Photo: UNDP)
EDCR Project Manager, Aleyda Valdes, with Mr Idip and H.E. Akira at the handover. (Photo: UNDP)


His Excellency Karasawa Akira, Ambassador of Japan to Palau, handed over the equipment to PALARIS saying, “I understand that it is the very first time for Palau to conduct a nationwide digital mapping survey. Through this activity, Palau will be able to understand its geographical situation and identify its vulnerable areas, which I believe is the fundamental information needed for disaster prevention.”

Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative of the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji said, “This is a significant step forward to increasing Palau’s resilience to disasters and impact of climate change. The data generated from the LiDAR survey can be also utilized as a baseline for shoreline monitoring, resource management and environmental monitoring needs, and inform Palau’s climate change adaptation strategy.”

“Japan’s support for disaster risk management is significantly contributing to sustainable development for SIDS in the Pacific. I thank the Government of Japan for its support and partnership in this area,” he added.

The EDCR project, since its commencement in 2019, has provided equipment strategic to Palau’s disaster risk management including a utility boat with a trailer, two sport utility vehicles (SUVs), one pickup truck and a range of search and rescue equipment. The project also aims to strengthen gender sensitive disaster communication and climate monitoring systems; enhance gender sensitive national and state disaster responder’s readiness capacity; and enhance community disaster resilience through improved water resource management and integrated gender and social inclusion awareness.

Contact Information

Aleyda Valdes, Country Project Coordinator Palau, Enhancing Disaster and Climate Resilience in the Republic of Palau through Improved Disaster Preparedness and Infrastructure, UNDP Office in Palau, Tel: +680 488 3394 Cell: +680 7753433; Email: aleyda.valdes@undp.org

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