The Republic of Palau in the Western Pacific has launched a new initiative in a bid to preserve its precious environment.
Called the Palau Pledge, the initiative – which is the first of its kind in the world – requires all inbound visitors to make a compulsory promise directly to the children of Palau to protect their home before entering the country.
Palau is an archipelago of over 500 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a population of 20,000, making it the thirteenth smallest nation in the world. Despite this, more than 160,000 travellers visit Palau each year. Careless behaviour by tourists spurred the Palau Legacy Project and Australian agency Host/Havas to create the pledge.
The project highlights the need for eco-tourism, where sustainability is privileged and the local environment given priority. President of Palau, Tommy E. Remengesau Jr, is hoping the archipelago’s move will inspire other countries to follow suit.
“While Palau may be a small-island nation, we are a large ocean-state and conservation is at the heart of our culture. 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,” he said, “This is not only true of Palau. Human impact on our earth’s environment is one of the biggest challenges facing our world today. As a small country we feel the impact of these actions acutely. We hope that the Palau Pledge raises global awareness of the responsibility that this generation has to the next.”
Longtime humanitarian and conservationist Leonardo Dicaprio is advocating for the support of the Palau Pledge. The Oscar-winning actor posted a video on social media visiting the archipelago, with the caption: “Proud to support the Palau Pledge, a new conservation initiative for visitors to this beautiful island. Written with the help of Palau’s children, every visitor must pledge to heal and secure the natural environment for future generations.”
Dicaprio is a passionate supporter of tackling climate change. Earlier this year he donated $20million to support wildlife protection, climate change and marine conservation, and in October he went meat-free for the environment.
You can back the Palau Pledge by visiting palaupledge.com