During our last trip to Palau, OneReef was joined by Michael Sutton, a conservation lawyer who has extensive experience with designing public-private partnerships in California and elsewhere. We had a series of meetings with President Remengesau, Executive Director of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Keobel Sakuma, Executive Director of the Palau Legacy Project Jennifer Koskelin-Gibbons, and others who are playing key roles in the development of Palau’s ocean policy.
We shared our belief that communities are the best stewards of their resources – and that a global network of partners and government resources exists that can help provide them with the necessary science, technology, and capacity for effective local coral reef management.
We have helped build local enforcement capacity at sites like Helen Reef and Ngarchelong; we are working on sustainability planning for five sites within Palau’s Protected Areas Network; and we have been asked to contribute technologies, monitoring, and enforcement expertise even more broadly across Palau. At all of our sites, we work closely with public and government entities that play a critical role in developing, financing, and maintaining conservation programs.
Moving forward, we are excited about applying Mike Sutton’s expertise toward continually refining our approach to public-private partnerships in Palau and Micronesia – places with incredible, resilient reefs, where there is a growing movement of local and government stewardship. A properly negotiated public-private partnership ensures that conservation goals are met, contributed funds are used effectively, and communities have to deliver on specific commitments – all of which results in conservation that endures. To be part of this exciting partnership, please support our emerging work.