2 May 2006

Palau says it's considering setting up a 12 million US dollar endowment fund

11:25 am on 2 May 2006

Palau says its considering setting up a 12 million US dollar endowment fund to generate revenue to support the goals of the Micronesia Challenge.

The challenge was first issued by Palau's president to other regional countries last year and aims to get at least 30 percent of natural marine and 20 percent of forest resources under effective marine conservation by the year 2020.

Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia have all signed up.

Larry Goddard, the senior legal counsel to Palau's President, says a recent survey of tourists to Palau asked how much they would pay for eco tourism.

"So what we are going to attempt to do working with congress and congress working with us is to identify a final amount to include in the users fee so that we can use this amount of money to hopefully get 1 million US dollars a year to augment funding coming out of the endowment fund so that Palau can be the first country in the world that had a self sustaining protected area network funding mechanism."

Larry Goddard says 18 million US dollars is being sought by international donors, to help countries further the aims of the Micronesia challenge.