OneReef has recently taken an exciting step forward with Palau’s Office of the President, when we were invited to visit Palau and bring partners from the U.S. as President Remengesau’s guests. President Remengesau has been a consistent world leader in ocean conservation at the United Nations, and was the recipient of the Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in National Stewardship (2016).
During his time in office, President Remengesau has consistently emphasized the importance of bridging gaps across communities, governments, scientists, and supporters – and OneReef’s Community Partnership model provides critical connections in support of Palau’s ocean policies.
With the President’s blessing, we were joined in Palau by scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Dr. Stuart Sandin and Dr. Jen Smith and researchers from their labs, who embarked on an exciting 3 week expedition to study reefs at the the Southwest Islands of Palau. These remote reefs are home to diverse corals, fish, and sharks. The Scripps data provides important data about the status of Palau’s reefs – and OneReef is working to interpret the data so we can show communities the positive impact of their management plans. Most significantly, we can use the information to manage reefs into the future.
During the trip, President Remengesau and key members of his pro-ocean leadership team attended a reception with OneReef, Scripps, and ocean science supporters. President Remengesau emphasized the need for growing international partnerships, and spoke about the value of translating traditional Palauan conservation values into a global impact.
Palau’s National Marine Sanctuary and Protected Areas Network are setting a global standard for marine conservation by protecting the country’s entire marine environment from foreign fishermen, and protecting 30% of the nearshore marine environment from human impacts. OneReef is excited to partner with communities and Palau’s Ministries to make sure the ocean is protected and these ambitious goals are accomplished. Together, we can truly create vibrant reefs and thriving communities!