Moving towards participatory decision-making in the governance of climate change in Palau
With support from the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Islands (GCCA: PSIS) Project, implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) between 2012 and 2015, Palau developed the Palau Climate Change Policy for Climate and Disaster Resilient Low Emissions Development.
Other partners, including the United States Agency for International Development and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, also provided support for the development of the policy. This policy includes an Action Plan with prioritised, costed interventions for a five year period, 2015 – 2020. The policy was endorsed by the Government of Palau on 24th November 2015.
An Office of Climate Change was established under the Office of the Minister of Finance, and specifically the Bureau of Budget and Planning, to lead implementation of the policy and plan.
The Office of Climate Change conducted an indicative review of the plan in 2018, which showed there had been fairly good uptake and implementation of the plan, while noting that monitoring and evaluation of the plan was lacking.
Following this review, the Office of Climate Change embarked on a new initiative to re-energise all the parties involved in preparation of the policy and the action plan and established a National Climate Change Coordination Committee (NC4) to coordinate implementation of the Action Plan. The NC4 is supported by a working group.
Following an extensive period of preparation in 2017 and 2018, The European Union in partnership with regional organisations and the countries, developed a new Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) Scaling up Pacific Adaptation (SUPA) project.
The GCCA+ SUPA project seeks to scale up Pacific climate change adaptation measures in specific sectors supported by knowledge management and capacity building. It is being implemented between 2019 and 2023 by SPC in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and The University of the South Pacific (USP).
With the start of the GCCA+ SUPA project in January 2019, the Office of Climate Change embarked on a consultative process with the different government agencies involved in the preparation of the Policy and the Plan and now forming the NC4. The purpose of this consultative process was to select the sector and activities for GCCA+ SUPA. This was in contrast to the more usual top-down decision making approach that had often been used in the past.
The outcome of this consultative and participatory process has been to design linked activities that scale up Pacific adaptation measures. The activities are to be led by the Ministry of Health, with support from the Palau Community College, Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism; Environmental Quality Protection Board; Ministry of State; and the Ministry of Education.