Under a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the Environment Ministry, OneReef’s site-based model will be incorporated into Palau’s Protected Area Network (PAN) and finance plan. Moreover, OneReef is formally invited to contribute to the country’s emerging 5-year PAN management strategy. Chris LaFranchi and Liz Parissenti recently returned from meetings in Palau to begin that process, including a facilitated two‐day meeting led by the Environment Ministry and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
During meetings, the OneReef model was identified as a solution to several challenges: long-term finance, direct support for site managers, provision of new tech, and monitoring for expected benefits, e.g., more fish and high value, low volume tourism. As a next step, OneReef will work directly with the Environment Minister to explore sustainable conservation financing under an agreed Terms of Reference.
The Environment Minister offered to help us raise additional funds by participating in OneReef meetings and events in California.
So what’s the significance? First, we’ve set the stage for a robust public-‐private partnership, as depicted in our 20‐year finance model. Also, the PAN is directly connected to the Micronesia Challenge, which was created with heavy involvement by TNC and Conservation International. That means we’re making headway toward mainstream acceptance. Finally, Palau hugely influences other countries in the Pacific, so this may set the stage for broader adoption of the OneReef model.
We also met with President Remengesau to solidify our plans and discuss the emerging partnership.