The Palau government is seeking funding from its bilateral partners to fully implement its Blue Prosperity Plan, reported President Surangel Whipps Jr.
On his trip to Washington DC early this month, Whipps met with U.S Assistant Secretary of State Monica Medina who shared U.S Secretary Antony Blinken’s letter expressing support, saying they will look at the Plan and see how they can assist. A request for bilateral support was sent earlier to U.S Secretary of State Blinken.
President Whipps also said that they were seeking financial support from partners, Japan and Taiwan on the Blue Prosperity Plan.
He said he extended the same request to Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi who was just in Palau recently and expects Minister Steven Victor of MAFE to follow up on the discussion during his visit to Japan this month.
The estimated cost of implementing the Plan is US$35 million. US$10.8 million has been pledged by philanthropists with about US$25 million still needed. The Palau government seeks to raise this difference from its bilateral partners.
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Environment, Steven Victor, said that the fundraising is part of the Plan implementation. Adding, he said certain aspects of the Plan will require amendments within the law (Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act) “to allow for engaging with the development of more robust domestic fisheries.”
“As it is now, as I’ve said before, …current constrain does not allow us to develop domestic fishery that is financially viable…therefore, that’s the biggest constrain in terms of getting financing to support the development of fishing where potential partners see that there is no future in fishery if we invest only in the 20 percent fishing zone,” expressed Minister Victor.
The government’s Blue Prosperity Plan pursues active use of Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone, including expanding commercial fishing activities beyond the existing 20% Domestic Fishing Zone, reducing the size of the no-take zone from 80 percent to 30 percent, and constructing infrastructure to support a domestic fishery.
The Plan states it will “build a comprehensive Blue Economy, benefiting and supported by the Palauan people.”
This story was written by Leilani Reklai, originally published at The Island Times on 24 May 2022, reposted via PACNEWS.