Palau National Marine Sanctuary clarifies question on funding

  16 Sep 2016

Koror, Palau – In recent weeks, the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS)office has noticed increasing misinformation permeating local and social media. More specifically, we have recently been inundated with questions regarding a purported $1,000,000 donation from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. [restrict]

The confusion may stem from the timing of Mr. DiCaprio’s visit to Palau in March 2016– roughly the same time the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation made a $1,000,000 to the Seychelles, a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) in the Indian Ocean. “Known as a ‘debt for oceans conservation swap,’ the project focuses on providing the Seychelles with a $21.4 million loan at low interest to help protect its surrounding waters as well as to create one of the largest marine sanctuaries in the West Indian Ocean.1”

Mr. DiCaprio and his crew were in Palau during that time to film part of their upcoming documentary about climate change. During said time, he and his staff did meet with various officials including President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.– however no donation was given during said meetings.

The Palau National Marine Sanctuary office, however, did submit a grant proposal in the hopes of receiving support from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. As with any grant proposal, the review process is lengthy and PNMS has yet to learn of our proposal’s status.

In accordance with the Open Government Act , the PNMS office will release an official statement regarding our proposal’s status once one is made available. (Press release) [/restrict]