Palau launches National Sustainable Land Management Policy

20 Apr 2012

(Koror, Palau) - The people of Palau have a sustainable land management (SLM) policy in place that guides sustainable development in Palau. The Palau SLM Policy was one of the key highlights at today’s 2012 Earth Day mini fair at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center.

Palau’s 2012 Earth Day theme is, “Sustainability: Be a Part of the Solution,” which focuses on sustainable land management, sustainable energy and sustainable water resources management.  This theme encourages each individual to take responsibility and have an active role in the management of Palau’s unique environment.

The Sustainable Land Management Policy of the Republic of Palau was endorsed by the President of Palau, His Excellency Johnson Toribiong earlier this week. The Policy seeks to set forth a united vision for the people of Palau for the wise use, management and protection of their key land resources. The Palau SLM Policy was developed through the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP)-supported Sustainable Land Management project, funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

The Policy underscores three priority recommendations that will strengthen Palau’s existing sustainable land management activities:

  1. Nation-wide coordination,
  2. Development Guidelines and
  3. Sustainable Financing.  The various recommendations outlined in the Policy were established through exhaustive consultations between government, non-government and private sector partners and stakeholders across Palau.

“UNDP congratulates Palau as being one of the first Pacific Island Countries to endorse its Sustainable Land Management Policy,” said the UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator, Knut Ostby.

“Palau is part of a group of eight Pacific Island Countries that implements Sustainable Land Management projects. The project seeks to enhance and develop the individual, institutional and systematic capacity for sustainable land management in countries,” said Mr Ostby.

The Palau SLM Policy was a key objective of the Palau SLM Project which officially commenced in 2009 at the national level by the Office of the Palau Automated Land and Resources Information System (PALARIS) under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce.

“The SLM Project has been instrumental in bringing state and national governments, non-government and private sector agencies and organizations together to establish appropriate development guidelines for Palau.  In the last three years, the SLM partnership has supported state, national, regional and international initiatives, primarily state master, land use and protected areas management planning,” said Madelsar Ngiraingas, the Palau SLM Project Coordinator.

“Our key accomplishments over the project life are the establishment of the SLM Policy for Palau, the strong partnership it has established between important stakeholders and support for the successful development of Airai, Melekeok and Ngardmau state master/land use plans.  We are confident that SLM will continue to be mainstreamed into state and national operations as the SLM Policy is further implemented.”

Ms Ngiraingas said the SLM Team has been actively involved in national policy-making efforts, including the Energy Policy (2010), the Water & Sanitation Policy (2012) and the impending Food Security Policy.

The 2012 Earth Day mini-fair in Palau was attended by many students and members of the general public. A special Breakfast Reception was held in the morning to mark the President Toribiong’s official endorsement of the SLM Policy, Water & Sanitation Policy and Energy Policy for the Republic of Palau.  These policies were developed by many of the same members of the Palau SLM Task Force, most of whom are key government and non-government agencies/organizations concerned with sustainable land/natural resources management.  In addition to the reception, numerous booths showcased the various activities and projects that these partner agencies/organizations have been engaged in with regards to environmental protection.

Earth Day will be celebrated on 22 April across the globe.