President of Palau wins global environmental honour

Noumea ? The President of Palau, H.E. Tommy Remengesau Jr, has won the United Nation’s highest environmental accolade, a Champion of the Earth Award, for spearheading major conservation initiatives and building the Pacific nation?s economic resilience through green economy policies.

The Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Dr Colin Tukuitonga, has welcomed the recognition by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) of President Remengesau?s leadership on environmental issues in the Policy Leadership category.

?This is a well-deserved accolade for President Remengesau and I wish to extend my congratulations on behalf of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community,? Dr Tukuitonga said.

?The President has led numerous conservation and broader environmental policies and initiatives which have implications beyond the Pacific region, for example by establishing the world?s first Nationwide Marine Sanctuary that protects more than 80 per cent of Palau?s 600,000 sq km of Exclusive Economic Zone.?

President Remengesau will be presented with his award by the UN Secretary-General, Ban-Ki-moon, and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, at a ceremony in Washington D.C. today (19 November).

?I am honoured to receive this award on behalf of the traditional leaders, the people of Palau, and the islanders around the world, who are the stewards for the protection of our vast oceans and natural wealth,” President Remengesau said in a UNEP statement.

Highlights of SPC assistance in relation with environment and conservation to Palau include the introduction of an energy efficiency retrofitting loans scheme and formal training programmes in such fields as fisheries development, aquaculture, disaster risk assessment and energy security.

For an overview of the development results Palau is achieving with SPC support see the 2014 Palau Country Programme report.

The Champions of the Earth is the UN flagship environmental prize which recognizes outstanding visionaries and leaders in the fields of policy, science, entrepreneurship, and civil society action.

For more about the 2014 winners visit: www.unep.org/champions.