NOUMEA, New Caledonia—Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. has won the United Nation’s highest environmental accolade, a Champion of the Earth Award, for spearheading major conservation initiatives and building the Pacific nation’s economic resilience through green economy policies.
The Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Dr. Colin Tukuitonga, has welcomed the recognition by the UN Environment Program of Remengesau’s leadership on environmental issues in the Policy Leadership category.
“This is a well-deserved accolade for President Remengesau and I wish to extend my congratulations on behalf of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community,” Tukuitonga said.
“The President has led numerous conservation and broader environmental policies and initiatives which have implications beyond the Pacific region, for example by establishing the world’s first Nationwide Marine Sanctuary that protects more than 80 percent of Palau’s 600,000 square kilometer of exclusive economic zone.”
Remengesau was presented with his award by UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon and UNEP executive director Achim Steiner at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. yesterday, Nov. 19.
“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,” Remengesau said in a UNEP statement.
Highlights of SPC assistance in relation with environment and conservation to Palau include the introduction of an energy efficiency retrofitting loans scheme and formal training programs in such fields as fisheries development, aquaculture, disaster risk assessment and energy security.
For an overview of the development results Palau is achieving with SPC support see the 2014 Palau Country Programme report.
The Champions of the Earth is the UN flagship environmental prize that recognizes outstanding visionaries and leaders in the fields of policy, science, entrepreneurship, and civil society action.
For more about the 2014 winners visit: www.unep.org/champions. (SPC)