The Ambassador of Japan in Palau, Karasawa Akira, Senior GIS Analyst of the PALARIS, David Idip, Country Project Coordinator UNDP, Aleyda Valde, NEMO Director, Waymine Towai, FUGRO and NEMO staff in front of the aircraft that landed after its 7 travel around Palau. (Photo: UNDP)

Koror, Palau
 – Palau has initiated its first-ever digital coastal survey exercise using a state-of-the-art remote sensing technology called Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). The data collected through LiDAR will be used for further strengthening disaster risk and climate resilience in the country.

This survey initiative is supported by the Government of Japan through the Enhancing Disaster and Climate Resilience (EDCR) project which is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Government of Palau.

Palau has been experiencing frequent natural hazards, and the impact of climate change and sea level rise has also become one of the priority issues for Palau to address with a sense of urgency. Those extreme weather and climatic events often resulted in disruption of economic activity, and loss of people’s livelihoods.

The LiDAR survey exercise being led by the Office of the Palau Automated Land and Resource Information System (PALARIS) is towards PALARIS’ mandate of providing critical national spatial data services to government agencies and affiliates and supporting the management of human, economic and natural resources of the country. The survey will generate detailed maps of topography and retrieve digital elevation data necessary for flood modeling and vulnerability, along with risks analysis, which will serve as a baseline for more accurate assessment and planning.

David Idip, Senior Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst of the PALARIS said, “for many years, PALARIS has pursued the possibility of a LiDAR survey in Palau and we are very excited that it has finally become a reality.  The data collected will not only help with Palau’s disaster management capacity but will also play important role in sustainable development and natural resource management in Palau.”

The Ambassador of Japan in Palau, Karasawa Akira and Senior GIS Analyst of the PALARIS, David Idip inside of aircraft use for the Lidar study. Two aircraft flew directly from Darwin, Australia to Palau due to overcome commercial travel restrictions. (Photo: UNDP)
The Project Coordinator of the FUGRO, Tristan Haynes explains to the Ambassador of Japan in Palau, Karasawa Akira and Senior GIS Analyst of the PALARIS, David Idip the plan schedule. (Photo: UNDP)

Echoing the same sentiments, the Ambassador of Japan, Karasawa Akira said, “I am excited that the exercise has finally started today. This assistance will definitely enhance Palau’s disaster management capabilities.”

“We are pleased to continue our work with UNDP and look forward to delivering Palau’s first topographic lidar base map,” said Edward Saade, President of Fugro in the US.

He added that “the use of this Geo-data is fundamental to informed decision-making and will help Palau meet its goals for a resilient, sustainable and equitable future.”

Nasantuya Chuluun, the Office-in-Charge for the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji highlighted that the innovative leadership and commitment of the Palau Government to increasing resilience to disasters and impacts of climate change is admirable.

The EDCR project, since its commencement in 2019, has provided equipment strategic to Palau’s disaster risk management. The project aims to strengthen gender sensitive disaster communication and climate monitoring systems; enhance gender sensitive national and state disaster responders 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, Mob: +(680) 775 3433; Email:

Summer Lee, Communications, Partnership and Donor Liaison Specialist, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Mob: +(679) 866 2945, Email:

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