Palau has long been recognized for its beauty and environmental diversity. Leading the challenge to protect Palau’s bounty President Tommy Remengesau has been an outspoken advocate for good governance and environmental stewardship. More recently, Palau, in free association with the US, made the news in seeking greater defense investment by the US . In a recent letter to US Secretary of the Navy Ken Braithwaite Remengesau wrote “Some of Palau’s chief infrastructure needs, including port facilities, secondary airfields, law enforcement training grounds and maritime enforcement and surveillance facilities, are also opportunities to strengthen US military readiness.”
At 6PM (EST) January 11, 2021 President Remengesau will deliver the Peter Tali Coleman Lecture on Pacific Public Policy, hosted this year by the Center for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies at Georgetown University and the Center for Pacific Island Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
President Tommy Esang Remengesau, Jr., the ninth President of the Republic of Palau, is the first Palauan to be elected President four times. He was first elected President in 2000 and was re-elected in 2004. Constitutionally limited to two consecutive presidential terms, Remengesau was elected in 2008 as Senator in the Palau National Congress (Olbiil Era Kelulau), where he served until his election as President again in 2012 followed by re-election to his fourth and present term in 2016.
In 2013, President Remengesau, received the inaugural Pacific Champion Award, an honor bestowed as part of the Pacific Islands Environmental Leadership Awards for his numerous achievements as a leader in nature conservation and environmental sustainability. In 2014, the United Nations Environmental Programme, awarded Remengesau with its top accolade – The Champion of the Earth award for his visionary leadership in strengthening Palau’s economic resilience by spearheading national initiatives to protect its biodiversity. In 2007, TIME magazine named him one of the heroes of the environment for initiatives such as the Micronesia Challenge. President Remengesau is now leading the historic effort of implementing the Palau National Marine Sanctuary. This protected, no-take sanctuary, established October 28, 2015 and covering 80% of Palau’s territorial waters with the remaining 20% reserved for domestic fishing, provides even greater protection for Palau’s environment while further enhancing Palau’s tourism revenues. The world’s sixth largest, fully protected marine area, the Palau National Marine Sanctuary is Palau’s defining contribution to preserving the world’s ocean resources. This novel initiative won him the prestigious International Game Fish Association’s Conservation Award in 2014 and the 2016 Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in National Stewardship.
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