Palau becomes first country in the world to ask visitors to sign declaration in passports to protect environment and culture for next generation. [restrict]
Koror, 15 November 2017: Next month the Republic of Palau will officially launch Palau Pledge, a world-first eco-initiative that asks all our inbound visitors to make a compulsory promise, directly to the children of Palau, to preserve their home before they can enter the country.
Palau will be the first country to update its immigration policy and landing procedures to
implement such legislation, aimed at preserving our culture and the beauty of our natural environment for future generations.
Based the tradition of BUL and written with the help of Palau’s children, the Palau Pledge will be stamped and signed in the passports of every visitor. The initiative puts an onus on ‘responsible, sustainable tourism’ from the growing number of tourists who have visited our island-home in recent years.
The Palau Pledge is a direct outcome of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary which has provided a platform to help build Palau’s sustainable tourism industry and secure the country’s economic future.
Palau has less than 20,000 people but can see up to 160,000 visitors each year. The Pledge was deemed necessary after careless behavior from visitors started to erode Palau’s pristine environment and have a negative impact on culture. With limited enforcement resources the Palau Pledge provides another tool to help Palau protect itself from the destructive effects of this behavior.
By communicating Palau’s laws and conservation culture in a powerful, informative way to our visitors, the Palau Pledge will make them more mindful of how they interact with the environment – easing the burden on enforcement resources and lessening the stress to our tourist sites.
The Palau Pledge has been produced in collaboration with Palau Visitors’ Authority; Palau Conservation Society; Office of the President; the First Lady, Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism; Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce; Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs,
Minstry of State, Host/Havas and the children of Palau. The Pledge has been given the blessing of the Council of Chiefs and was also presented to Mechesil Belau who gave the project their support.
Tommy E. Remengesau Jr, President of Palau, and long-time advocate for conservation and sustainability believes everybody holds responsibility for enacting change. “It is our responsibility to show our guests how to respect Palau, just as it is their duty to uphold the signed pledge when visiting,” said President Remengesau. “We rely on our environment to survive and if our beautiful country is lost to environmental degradation, we will be the last generation to enjoy both its beauty and life-sustaining biodiversity.
We hope that the Palau Pledge raises awareness of the responsibility that this generation has to the next.”
The Palau Pledge is further brought to life with an imaginative in-flight video that features the children of Palau explaining the impact that visitors can have on their home. Signage and information packs will also be placed around Palau’s airport terminal and throughout the country to remind visitors about the conditions of the Pledge once they arrive.
The Ministry of Education is also integrating the Palau Pledge messages and philosophy into the children’s education to help children understand the essential role they play in protecting their country’s future. This approach will builds the success of previous camapigns such as PCS’ “Uel a Sechelid”to communate messages to the whole community.
Speaking about new initiative Minister Soalablai said,“The Palau Pledge has given the children of Palau a unique learning opportunity and positive outlook of their country: to help create a global campaign that empowers them to understand and take ownership over their future with the science to back it up. It is proof that our Palau National Marine Sanctuary is working because it has provided a platform and funding (via the Pledge campaign) to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in our schools.
The Pledge has direct ties to our community and culture connecting real-world applications with academic aspirations. We are excited for the many service learning opportunities that the Pledge will expose the children to – from gaining an understanding of immigration processes, to marine biology, environmental law enforcement,marketing and advertising, through to creating sustainable tourism businesses.”
Palauans and local businesses, including tour operators, will also be encouraged to take the Pledge to commit to upholding Palau’s conservation laws, helping visitors understand them and conserving the environment for the next generation. [/restrict]