Foreign investment, tourism, agriculture and fishing all play an essential part in supporting the economy of Palau. These areas ensure that the employment and well-being of the Palauan people are maintained so that poverty and hunger decrease significantly. These economic drivers also play an important role in sustainability in Palau.
Marine life is vital to the island nation of Palau. It is its very heartbeat. The Palauan government has organizations in place, such as The Palau National Marine Sanctuary, established in 2015, which covers an expanse of 500,000 square kilometers of protected ocean area that prohibits actions such as fishing and any other commercial business.
To thrive, Palauans also need to use their abundant resources. If overfishing and industrialism take over, it could be detrimental to the island nation, increasing hunger due to the depletion of resources. A few answers to this challenge are:
- Palau collaborates with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which partners with The Pacific Community (PC) “to improve sustainable fisheries in Palau…” and collaborates with the organization OurFishOurFuture, established in 2021, which “addresses the social and ecological drivers of IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing) that are degrading coastal fisheries and biodiversity, as well as negatively impacting local livelihoods, food stability and maritime security.”
- Generations of skilled fishermen practice “the local custom of bul,” which “temporarily closes certain areas to fishing in order to allow marine life to recover.” This is a necessary and crucial step to protecting Palau’s valuable resources and protecting its biodiversity for the future.
- Businesses such as fish farms, where responsible fishing is encouraged.
- Palau has partnered with the FAO to reduce hunger in Palau and promote sustainable farming.
- Producing and trading certain crops, such as marijuana, which grows abundantly on the island.
The Promise to Move Forward Together
Palauans have a strong sense of identity and belonging and deep respect for the well-being of their island nation. The government of Palau now mandates that every single tourist who visits the beautiful archipelago have the Palau Pledge stamped proudly on their passports — a promise to take care of the island on their visit. It says, “Children of Palau, I take this pledge, as your guest, to preserve and protect your beautiful and unique island home. I vow to tread lightly, act kindly and explore mindfully. I shall not take what is not given. I shall not harm what does not harm me. The only footprints I shall leave are those that will wash away.”
– Matha Mathieu