IUCN Welcomes the Republic of Palau as a New State Member

12 July 2015

The National Government of the Republic of Palau has announced its decision to become a Member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) by endorsing the Union’s Statutes, becoming the 90th State Member of the world’s largest and oldest environmental network. The Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism has been designated by the Government of the Republic of Palau as its liaison with the IUCN Secretariat. IUCN extends its warmest welcome to the Republic of Palau.

The Republic of Palau, an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean is geographically part of the larger island group of Micronesia. It consists of eight principal islands and more than 250 smaller ones lying roughly 500 miles southeast of the Philippines.

The Republic of Palau is inimitable. The name of this country is itself an acronym: ‘Palau’s Archipelago: Lovely and Unique’. With volcanic and coral islands and a scenery that ranges from white sandy beaches, abundance of marine life to dense jungle, Palau aspires to conserve its natural resources while promoting these very resources for economic gain. The national government of Palau recognises that natural resources have tremendous value. Healthy natural ecosystems can bring capital to the economy in terms of tourism, forest produces, fisheries, coastal protection, water retention, biodiversity and many others. A vision that is ingrained in the minds of Palauans, many of whom are naturally and culturally conservation minded and celebrate the beauty of nature everyday.
With a long history of community tenure and management of marine and terrestrial resources by local chiefs,IUCN is extremely honoured to welcome this island nation as a new State Member of our Union.

Palau has benefitted a lot in its association with IUCN. With the recommendation from IUCN to the World Heritage Committee, the official World Heritage body on nature, to inscribe the 100,200 ha marine site on UNESCO’s prestigious list of iconic places on earth, the Rock Island Southern Lagoon in Palau was inscribed on the World Heritage List, becoming the country’s first World Heritage Site.

In 2014,the IUCN Council admitted 3 Non-Government Organisations to the Union. They are Micronesian Shark Foundation (MSF), Palau Conservation Society (PCS) and Palau Protected Areas Network Fund (PANF).

In April this year, in realising that nature is important to their livelihood to sustaining life on earth, and with our dependance on natural resources, particularly on their ocean and their need to take ownership to conserving nature, Palau successfully celebrated Earth Day. Communities and all Palauans participated and the forefront of the celebrations were IUCN members, Palau Conservation Society, the Palau Protected Areas Network Fund and the Micronesian Shark Foundation.

Also represented in the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy Steering Committee is Faustina Rehuher-Mrugg who is currently the Regional Vice-Chair – Oceania.

In the way ahead for Palau, plans are underway for a workshop later in the year to strengthen capacity for integrating invasive species management into protected areas management planning. Project coordinators and partners engaged for planning tasks and participation include Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA), IUCN Species Survival Commission, Invasive Species Speacialist Group (ISSG), Pacific Invasive Initiative (PII), Bureau of Agriculture, Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment & Tourism of the Republic of Palau, Palau National Invasive Species Committee and the Palau Conservation Society.

Further developing renewable energy engagements that IUCN has started in Palau will be strengthened on this wonderful announcement.

Clarinda Ziegler, General Manager of Palau’s Protected Areas Network Fund, added, “With our dependency on natural resources particularly on our ocean, we need to take ownership of conserving nature to spearhead this process and it is wonderful to know that Palau has become a State member of IUCN. PANF is looking forward to working closely with the government in realising the visions of a just world that values and conserves nature”.

The Republic of Palau joins Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Samoa.

“With Palau currently having the largest grouping of members in one country after Australia and New Zealand, we look forward to working with the National Government and people of Palau in keeping their healthy natural ecosystems for their future generations. Palau has been a leader on conservation in the region and also globally. We welcome a new state member into the IUCN family”, says Taholo Kami, Director for IUCN’s Regionl Office for Oceania.

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:

Frank Koloi, Senior Communications Officer, IUCN Oceania Regional Office ph+6793319084, m+679 7772875, frank.koloi@iucn.org

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