Steering Committee for ‘Strengthening the Palau National Marine Sanctuary’ project

February 3, 2022

The Minister for Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment, Honourable Steven Victor;

The Vice President and Minister of Justice for the Republic of Palau, Honourable Uduch Sengebau Senior;

The Chief Executive Officer for the Palau International Coral Reef Centre, Dr. Yimnang Golbuu;

The Palau National Marine Sanctuary Project Implementation Unit;

Project development partners;

Ladies and gentlemen;

Alii and bula vinaka to you all.

It is my pleasure to warmly welcome you all to the first Steering Committee meeting in 2022 for the ‘Strengthening the Palau National Marine Sanctuary for the Conservation and Management of Global Marine Biodiversity and Sustainable Fisheries’ project.

First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge efforts of the Palau International Coral Reef Centre and Project Implementation Unit (PNMS Project). Since the project was signed last September, it has delivered USD 168,000 in just over 3 months (9.2% or USD 168,000/USD1,826,484). This is commendable for a newly established project. With such an approach, one is optimistic about the successful achievement of its objectives when it will operationally close on June 10, 2025.

Secondly, COVID-19 is a reality in which we live with.  This includes possible setbacks to implementation. Ladies and gentlemen, adaptative measures and responses to changing circumstances represents a critical component of project management.  In this regard, one cannot over emphasise a need to continually think creatively and introducing relevant adjustments considering COVID-19. In summary, let us view COVID-19 as a reality and focus our efforts on potential opportunities to maximise project results and benefits for Palau.

Thirdly, UNDP is recommending quarterly Steering Committee meetings. We recognise the valued leadership of the Committee in providing much needed guidance and strategic direction. Their level of participation and pro-activeness in decision making has a direct link to the successful implementation of this project.

Lastly, we acknowledge the submission of the 2022 Annual Work Plan of USD 741,901. This is endorsed in principle however, subject to final reviews by our team at UNDP.

Ladies and gentlemen, UNDP is honoured to participate in this Steering Committee, and I am convinced that this first meeting in 2022, early in the first quarter, establishes a strong basis for implementation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Project.

Vinaka vakalevu and Sulang.