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Project Implementation Review Workshop and the 2 nd Project Steering Committee Meeting Piloting Integrated Processes and Approaches to Facilitate National Reporting to Rio Conventions (FNR_Rio) Presented By The: Office of Environmental Response & Coordination (Office of the President of the Republic of Palau) Palau represented by Lulu Techur & Je. Rome Temengil Mauritius, Port-Louis January 26 -28, 2011
The institutional set up and staffing arrangements at the national level of the Government of the Republic of Palau! Office of the President Traditional Council of Chiefs Special Prosecutor’s Office of Environmental Response & Coordination Office of Budget and Grants Oversight President’s Cabinet (Eight Ministerial Offices led by a Minister) STATE --- FINANCE --- JUSTICE --- HEALTH --- EDUCATION --- COMMUNITY & CULTURAL AFFAIRS NATURAL RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT & TOURISM; and PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE, INDUSTRIES & COMMERCE
COUNTRY FACTS • • • The Republic of Palau is made up of about 350 islands in the far western Pacific Ocean. It stretches between 2 and 8 degrees north of the equator with the main island group lying between 6 and 8 degrees north latitude and 134° and 135° east longitude. The island is approximately 3, 220 kilometers south of Tokyo and 1, 600 kilometers east southeast of Manila. Palau has a total land mass of 487 square kilometers. The largest island is Babeldaob, with an area of 334 sq. km. The 2005 Census count place Palau’s population at 19, 907. Another Census was scheduled to take place in 2010 however due to the country’s diminishing funds it was reported that the Census will take place late in year 2011. Palau is part forests (upland jungles, swamps, limestone wooded area, atoll plants, and mangroves); part savanna & grasslands [Babeldaob, Ngerkebesang]; with freshwater habitats (rivers, streams, lakes, swamps, taro patches in Babeldaob); and brackish water habitats (wetlands, coastal lagoons also in Babeldaob, Peleliu, Angaur, Southwest Islands); Marine lakes [surrounded by some of the Rock Islands]; Near shore habitats (mudflats, sea grass beds, sandy beaches) [all islands]; and Coral reefs (barrier, patch and fringing) [all islands]. Kayangel State There at least 10, 000 species of living organisms in Palau : - The marine life consists of nearly 1, 500 species of reef fishes and over 300 scleractinian corals. - Approximately 1, 000 endemic organisms are found, the bulk of them from the terrestrial environment. Terrestrial endemics include about 200 endemic plants, of which 60 are orchids, 300 terrestrial gastropods, 500 insects, 16 birds, 12 amphibians and reptiles, two freshwater fishes, and two species of bat.
Introduction Established as an independent country on October 1, 1994, the Republic of Palau is approximately 550 miles from the Philippines, 813 miles from Guam, 450 miles from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea and 2500 miles from Japan. Palau is by far most western of the Caroline Islands cluster of the Southwest Pacific. The Republic of Palau is an island chain consisting of about 586 islands, twelve of which are inhabited. The total land area is 188 square miles and encompasses more than 560 square miles of lagoon areas. Babeldaob, the largest island in the Palau archipelago has an area of 332 square kilometers. It is believed that Babeldaob came to being about 70 million years ago, resulting from a series of Eocene volcanic activity and composed of basalt andesite. The world renowned “Rock Islands” are formed from limestones, situated to the south of Koror State. Babeldaob is also known as the second largest island in Micronesia, comprising of seventy percent of Palau’s total landmass. At its greatest width, Babeldaob reaches fifteen kilometers/nine miles across (APCC, 2001). It is where Mt. Ngerechelechuus can be seen 719 feet/ 275 meters above sea level establishing itself as the highest point in Palau. The Micronesian area (identified with the red border) is divided into three regions, namely the Republic of Palau (circled in blue), the Federated States of Micronesian (Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, & Kosrae) in the center, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (east). Palau has 12 nautical miles of territorial seas with 200 nautical miles of exclusive economic zone which encompasses 600, 900 square kilometers.
Palau is comprised of 16 states from Kayangel to the north, and Ngerchelong, Ngaraard, Ngiwal, Melekeok (current capital), Ngchesar, Airai, Aimeliik, Ngatpang, Ngeremlengui, and Ngardmau located on the big island of Babeldaob to Koror (former capital) across the bridge to the south and Peleliu and Angaur farther south through the rock islands and Sonsorol and Hatohobei about a days boat ride far south. The Palau archipelago stretches 700 km from Ngeruangel atoll in the north to Helen’s atoll to the south. Globe picture courtesy of google earth map! Art-work design copyright © Je. Rome Temengil 2004 Overview of Palau Island:
Art-work design copyright © Je. Rome Temengil 2004 Former Capital Koror State Right after the World War II in the Pacific in the mid-40’s, Koror State remained the hub of population of the island due to its development by the German Administration to the Japanese Administration and of which the American Administration continued during what we call the Trust Territory years in that the United Nations mandated the United States of America to oversee the region known as Micronesia. The almost 20, 000 population, threefourth actually reside on this small island while the big island of Babeldaob is practically devoided of habitation except for the remaining ¼ of our people, but gradually building as many moving to their own villages.
THE REPUBLIC OF PALAU IS A DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH Headed by a President “Chief Executive” THE JUDICIARY BRANCH Headed by the Chief Justice “The Judiciary” THE MEDIA Of course, like all democratic system, the media as a private entity is considered publicly the fourth branch of the government… it is what one may call the government watch dog, and is protected by the Constitution! THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH (Two Houses – Law Making Body) The Senate (represent the people) Senate President b and the House of Delegates (represent each state) House Speaker
THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT IS THE 8 TH AND WAS INSTALLED TWO YEARS AGO Palau First Constitutional Government was installed in 1981 with government leaders elected to the Office of the President and the Congress every four years. There are no political parties and each candidate run for office on their own resources with their own campaign platforms so basically once elected each have their own agenda and may change the direction of the country. The Country’s beginning was mired in an ugly situation with the First President assassinated and the Third committing suicide in less than two years apart however we have made progress… slow but improvements still. The President is the head of the country with the Vice President, under Palau’s Constitution, the Vice President shall hold one of the Ministerial Cabinet. All cabinet members are appointed by the President but must be approved by the Senate except for the Vice President. The Congress is a bi-cameral institution with the Senate (currently with 14 members) representing the people elected by all citizens eligible to vote. House of Delegates (16 members) represents each of the sixteen states of the Republic of Palau elected by citizens of each states eligible to vote. The leaders of the Eight Constitutional Government of the Republic of Palau is President and Chief Executive Johnson Toribiong and Vice President Kerai Mariur (also Minister of Finance) with Senate President Mlib Tmetuchel and House Speaker Noah Idechong in the Congress. Chief Justice Arthur Ngiraklsong heads the Judiciary Branch.
OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE & COORDINATION (OERC) Executive Order No. 189 “Establishing the Office of Environmental Response & Coordination in 2001” Executive Order No. 189 established the Office of Environmental Response and Coordination to: ● Provide coordinated planning and staffing for the Nation's response to issues of global climate change, biodiversity, desertification, land degradation and other internationally identified and funded environmental initiatives; Develop ● in the Republic of Palau; grate ● planning; ● Republic and to assist environmental support agencies in the development of funding assistance for environmental programs in Palau; and scale of economies ● Permit international agencies. The Office of Environmental Response & Coordination is the Operational Focal Point for the three Conventions, namely the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (UNCBD), and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTIONS ► Palau ratified the CBD, UNCCD, and UNFCCC in 1999, five years after achieving independence on October 1994. Palau also ratified the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC in 1999 and the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety (CBD) in 2003. ► The Office of Environmental Response & Coordination (OERC) is the National Operational Focal Point for the UNCBD, UNCCD, and UNFCCC (and indeed, all Multilateral Environmental Agreements). The head of OERC is the National Environmental Planner. According to “Actions for Palau’s Future: Palau’s Medium-Term Development Strategy 20092014”, it was established in 2001 to coordinate and implement the UNFCCC, UNCBD, and UNCCD, and to develop a broad and coordinated planning approach to issues of environmental response. ► The OERC office is located in the capital of Melekeok State on the big island of Babeldaob, directly under the Office of the President, which is located also in the capital in Melekeok, however within the former capital of Koror State, it shares an office space with the Compact Review Advisory Group (CRAG) in the former Congressional building. Sebastian Marino ► National Environmental Planner (OERC) P. O. Box 6051 Ngerulmud Capital, Melekeok State Republic of Palau 96940 Tel: (680) 767 -8681 • Fax: (680) 767 -8638 E-Mail: meiho [email protected] com Reagan Belechl Chief Financial Officer (CRAG & OERC) P. O. Box 6051 Ngerulmud Capital, Melekeok State Republic of Palau 96940 Tel: (680) 767 -8681 • Fax: (680) 767 -8638 E-Mail: [email protected] com Lulu Techur Senior Administrative Officer (CRAG & OERC) P. O. Box 6051 Ngerulmud Capital, Melekeok State Republic of Palau 96940 Tel: (680) 767 -8681 • Fax: (680) 7678638 Currently, the person acting as the National Focal Point is the National Environmental Planner. There are currently only five personnel of OERC and all are shared by other government entities in running various operations. Personnel working within OERC are appointed by the President and so are not protected under the Civil Service Act thus work under the discretion of the President of Palau through his appointed Special Assistants. Jordan Malsol Administrative Assistant (CRAG & OERC) P. O. Box 6051 Ngerulmud Capital, Melekeok State Republic of Palau 96940 Tel: (680) 767 -8681 • Fax: (680) 767 -8638 • E-Mail: [email protected] com Je. Rome Temengil Climate Change Coordinator & Interim PACC Coordinator P. O. Box 6051 Ngerulmud Capital, Melekeok State Republic of Palau 96940 Tel: (680) 767 -8681 • Fax: (680) 767 -8638 • E-Mail: [email protected] com
FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS - CHALLENGES - NEEDS Unlike other government agencies provided an annual budget, there are no allocations of funds for the operation of OERC provided on a yearly basis under the Fiscal Year appropriations. Personnel under OERC are compensated mainly through grants funding. OERC is the institution responsible for reporting but is not responsible for implementation of project of which that tasks falls under one of the President’s Cabinet, namely the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment & Tourism. However, according to our draft report by our National Consultant, there is an immediate disconnection between the individuals with the information necessary for completing reports and the office preparing the reports. Furthermore, the report points out that the chain of command does not lead to easy sharing of information: information from OERC and from various government offices only converges at the President’s Office, by which time convention reporting is only a minor priority. As gaps in the draft 4 th National Report to the UNCBD show, OERC simply did not know about available and existing information and/or data. Conversely, implementing agencies do not know about convention obligations (both outcome and reporting obligations), and thus the collection of necessary information is not streamlined into their activities.
continue FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS - CHALLENGES - NEEDS OERC was established by the former Administration who held the office for Eight Years and so operation created than run smoothly (with slight ups & downs) with staffs building their capacities in this regard. However as mentioned earlier, personnel under OERC are appointed therefore they work under the discretion of the Head of State supervised by his Special Advisors and/or Special Assistants. An issue that must not be ignored is the political interference in the work and this issue touches on many of the countries… in Palau’s case… we have to satisfy the elected politicians who many of them places personal issues above the overall needs of the many. Once the 8 th Government took over, the OERC system broke down with information and data gone missing when the office’s former head placed in an unfortunate circumstances thus those who worked under her slowly vanished and moved to other greener pastures. Current personnel of OERC are less adept at the work required and have been building their knowledge and capacity for more than a year now and slowly but surely trying to piece together the puzzle in order to meet Palau’s obligation as a signatory to conventions. With Palau Conservation Society (PCS) assisting OERC in this regard the challenges and needs we face today that have been identified can be worked out for the benefit of all.
Islands are the victims of irresponsible actions by others… however if we sit and do nothing than we are no better than those we are pointing fingers at… so here is Palau’s solution… not much, … but… the cultural of corals can be of help… The End! …at least Palau seeks to utilize what is available at the moment in an effort to do its part in the fight against the phenomenon known as the Climate Change not only for our benefit but the world at large as well!