Palau President wins UNEP Champions of the Earth Award

Caption: President of Palau-Remengesau-small.Photo:SUPPLIED.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme congratulates the President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau Jnr, who was awarded a 2014 UNEP Champion of the Earth Award.

These awards were given to the innovators and policymakers whose service to the environment is saving lives, improving livelihoods and bettering environmental governance and conservation.

President Remengesau was recognised for demonstrating Policy Leadership for strengthening the economic and environmental resilience of Palau by spearheading national policies to protect biodiversity.

“I am honored 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,” said President Remengesau.

“As a fisherman, I have seen first-hand the devastating impacts of overfishing, climate change and pollution on our oceans. As the leader of an island country, I know we have the solutions to tackle these issues. We need to stand together to take action now to protect our oceans and our Mother Earth for our generation and future children.”

Under the leadership of President Remengesau, Palau is showing the way to protect its invaluable natural resources while balancing the needs and traditions of its people. Earlier this year the President announced the world’s first Nation-wide Marine Sanctuary that fully protects over 80 per cent of Palau’s 600,000 sq km of Exclusive Economic Zone.

The Sanctuary bans industrial and foreign fishing as well as exports, while establishing a local fishing zone for domestic use. This is a bold step to reverse degradation of the ocean and stands to ignite further global action on oceans.

SPREP works across the Pacific islands region to help achieve the vision of a Pacific environment sustaining our livelihoods and natural heritage in harmony with our cultures.

“It is an honour for us in the Pacific that one of our very own island members has been recognised on such a global scale for their dedication and hard work towards conserving our Pacific environment,” said Mr. David Sheppard, Director-General of SPREP.

“The actions led by the President of Palau have created milestones of achievements for the rest of the world to follow. Successfully implementing the Micronesia Challenge through a national financing mechanism ? the Green Fee is one significant accomplishment, along with declaring the world’s first Shark Sanctuary and now a national marine sanctuary. This award is well deserved and our heartfelt congratulations go out to President Remengesau and the people of Palau. This is an honour.”

Eight laureates were announced under the different categories of; Policy Leadership – along with President Remengesau Jnr this was also awarded to the sixth President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono; Entrepreneurial Vision which was awarded to the U.S Green Building Council; Science and Innovation won by Sir Robert Watson, eminent environmental scientist; Inspiration and Action was awarded to Boyan Slat the founder of the Ocean Clean-up Initiative and Fatima Jibrell the founder of Adeso and; the Lifetime Leadership category which was won by Sylvia Earle, ocean explorer and conversationalist as well as Mario Molina, Nobel Laureate and Renowned ozone scientist.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) would like to congratulate and acknowledge all of the 2014 Champions of the Earth Awardees for their contribution in protecting our Environment.

UNEP/SPREP