Radio and ICT equipment handover in Palau

September 11, 2022

Hon. J. Uduch Sengebau Senior, Vice-President, and Minister for Justice
H. E. Mr. Akira Karasawa, Ambassador of Japan to Palau
Mr. Waymine Towai, Director, National Emergency Management Office (NEMO)
Esteemed guests and dear colleagues

Alii, tutau and a very good morning to you all.

I am exceptionally pleased to be here today and join you all for the official handover of the VHF/HF Radios and the ICT Equipment since the installations two months ago. 

As earlier reiterated last week at the AM Broadcasting system handover over, it is a milestone achievement for our Project presence, the Enhancing Disaster and Climate Resilience (EDCR) Project in Palau - and I am excited to be here today to be part of another communication establishment, a hallmark of our continued efforts to enhance communication capabilities and improve interface. 

I was unable to join the ceremony last week after consecutive flight cancellation from Pohnpei, but made sure that I still make it. As they say, ‘If there’s a will – there’s a way.’ It is imperative that I visit Palau since the UNDP Resident Representative was here in April this year - and as Deputy Resident responsible for UNDP’s programming oversight in the North Pacific. 

Distinguished guests, let me give credit where it is due. Through the generous financial contribution from the Government of Japan, UNDP was able to collaborate with the Palauan Government to install VHF and HF radios across Palau. UNDP was able to procure 12 High Frequency (HF) radios and five Very High Frequency (VHF) radios which were installed at 12 locations.

The radio installation will strengthen coordination of crisis management, facilitate the interface of information flow and complement the AM Broadcasting system signal reach especially for the remote Southwest states of Hatohobei and Sonsorol. Moving forward this communication operability will be enhanced with the National Emergency Management Office, Hospital and Ministry of Education.

On the operational aspect of emergency management co-ordination, the retrofitting of the NEMO Operations Centre, the building extension in itself will also complement these combined efforts to effectively respond when the need arises. Whilst having said this, UNDP has moved beyond the EDCR project scope and is now collaborating with the Executive Director NEMO, to source an Information Management personnel within one of our partners to be stationed at NEMO to work on improving functional interface of these investments and ensure that operability works.

UNDP is a proud partner to enhance communication capabilities since it augurs well for early warning systems via radio messaging, sailing plans and disseminating weather advisory bulletins which can be disseminated via the radio transmission and also in real-time via AM broadcasting system. 

Whilst capacity-building on emergency communication will be become a common agenda across the region, we are equally excited that our partners and countries across the region are taking considerable efforts and making the commitment to include representation from vulnerable groups and women to attend, get exposed to these sorts of trainings since the impact of natural hazards is non-discriminant and affects everyone equally. We have taken note of this significant representation in the VHF/Radio trainings and even the solar installation trainings conducted here in Palau.

I must thank the Vice President and Minister for Justice, the Executive Director NEMO, Director Public Works for their leadership and ensuring we get things done. It is truly amazing and impressive. This partnership and the ownership bestowed by the Palau Government is indicative of the strong commitment to see it through. We can only do so much, however, to take it to the next level, government’s support and blessings is always a necessity. 

I also take this opportunity to thank the Palau National Communication Corporation Ltd for their arduous work in VHF/HF radio installation and including ICT Equipment. UNDP is a champion of building local capacities and utilizing the existing capabilities to enhance our programmatic intervention. A classic example is the radio trainings and the Fire Truck trainings conducted in December last year. 

We are of the view that these virtual trainings can only be effective in certain situational contexts, whilst on-site trainings are imperative given the context of the country, we operate in. This is becoming so much clear now and will now provide impetus in the framing around improving trainings, capacity enhancement/supplementation around the three countries in Palau, RMI and FSM.

Finally, may I again take this opportunity to thank the Government of Japan for the generous contribution and partnership through this Enhancing Disaster and Climate Resilience (EDCR) Project. Thank you, Ambassador Karasawa, for your continuous support to the Project from the beginning until now.

Sulang and congratulations to all for this important achievement.