During their visit to the Far East, TSH the Sovereign Prince and Princess Charlene were received for an official visit on Monday 11 March to the Republic of Palau.
This island state of Micronesia has been independent since 1981 and a UN member since 1994. It has built its economic development on sustainable tourism, which respects the marine and terrestrial environment. In the context of this visit, the Sovereign Prince and Princess Charlene were received for an official audience by President Tommy Esang Remengesau. HSH Princess Charlene also spoke with the First Lady.
HSH the Prince then gave a speech before both Chambers of the National Congress. On this occasion, he highlighted the similarity of views between the Principality and Palau on the Planet's major environmental problems, in particular the consequences of global warming and the preservation of biodiversity.
The Prince and Princess then met students of the Melekeok School who are participating in an awareness campaign on the protection of the dugong, a marine mammal on the verge of extinction. This project results from a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme' (UNEP) and the Principality of Monaco.
Finally, their Highnesses visited the Palau International Coral Reef Center, which is conducting scientific research on the impact of climate change on corals.
A working meeting followed around the Minister of Palau in charge of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism, Harry R. Fritz, HE Bernard Fautrier, Minister plenipotentiary, Vice President, Director of the Prince Albert II Foundation, and Robert Calcagno, Director General of the Oceanographic Museum, as well as the managers of the Marine Protected Area Network and the Palau International Coral Reef Center. This meeting led to examine cooperation with Palau from an environmental standpoint and sign a partnership in support of conservation of the Helen Reef Protected Area.
During the official dinner, the President announced his intention to place the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Palau 'off-limits to commercial fishing.'