Press Releases
Mar 8, 2018 - Palau youth join 97th Peace Boat voyage to promote Palau Pledge
Tokyo, 8 March - Four youth leaders from Palau have joined Peace Boat's 97th voyage to raise awareness of the Palau Pledge: a world-first eco-initiative that asks all inbound visitors to Palau to make a promise, directly to its children, to protect their home during their stay to help preserve Palau's fragile environment and culture for the next generation. Palau is the first country in the world to ask visitors to sign such a declaration, which is stamped into visitors' passports on arrival in Palau.

Ms. Nikki Uehara (23), Ms. Cyandal "C.Y." Williams (24), Mr. Bill Jasmer Tony Ngirarsaol (23) and Mr. Isechal Ngitong (23), will form part of the Peace Boat's Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassador Program, and will join other participants from Japan, and other countries for the one-week voyage. While onboard, the group from Palau will highlight their country's world-leading environmental initiatives including the importance of the Palau Pledge and the Palau National Marine Sanctuary - the largest percentage of fully-protected maritime territory in the world.

The Palauan group has been specially selected by the Palau Pledge team in conjunction with advisors from the Palau government and private sector. Crucially, each participant is currently training for a career in an industry directly impacted by the Palau Pledge such as: tourism, biodiversity, conservation and law enforcement. The group will present why the Palau Pledge and other conservation initiatives are vital to Palau's survival, and how Palau is feeling the effects of climate change and ocean pollution, first-hand.

"Peace Boat enthusiastically welcomes the participants from Palau. We are excited to highlight the Palau Pledge as an exceptional, practical initiative to safeguard the natural environment and culture of Palau for future generations. We believe it is important to help other participants understand how decisions they make effect small island nations like Palau and hearing from young Palauans who will soon be on the front line of industries leading the Palau Pledge, will be a thought-provoking experience for the other passengers. Learning about global issues directly from local people is at the core of Peach Boat's educational and awareness programs and we are happy to have this group of brilliant young people from Palau onboard to share their love for their home with our participants", said Yoshioka Tatsuya, Peace Boat's Director.

According to Palau participant, Bill Tony Ngirarsaol, "we all feel honored to have been selected for this incredible opportunity. The Palau Pledge is a modern-day interpretation of our ancient cultural wisdom on environmental stewardship and we hope to educate and inspire other Peace Boat participants to create similar initiatives in their own country. We are the next generation of Palauans and we want our children to be able to live in a healthy environment - one that can sustain and nourish them. But it's not just people in Palau that are responsible for ensuring this happens, Palau is on the frontline of global issues like climate change and pollution and decisions made by larger countries directly affect our home and our people. We need other countries to understand this and take action if we are to protect Palau, and the rest of our precious planet, for future generations."

After sailing for six days, Peace Boat will arrive in Koror, the most populated city of the country, on 15 March. This also happens to be Youth Day in Palau. Upon arrival, a public event will take place to show Peace Boat's support of the Palau Pledge. This event will bring experts and stakeholders together with government representatives and political leaders and youth. It will highlight key issues of the Palau Pledge as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their relevance to all. Peace Boat's vessel sails with the Global Goals Logo of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) painted on the side of the hull to raise awareness of the goals.

The Palau Pledge

The Palau Pledge is a new educational initiative that took effect last December. The country has become the first country in the world to update its immigration policy and landing procedures to implement such legislation, aimed at preserving its vibrant culture and the beauty of its natural environment for future generations. Written with the help of Palau's children, the Palau Pledge will be stamped and signed in the passports of every visitor. The initiative puts an onus on responsible, sustainable tourism' from the growing number of tourists who have visited the island in recent years. The Pledge was deemed necessary after the negative impact of visitors started to erode Palau's pristine environment and have a negative impact on its culture.

Peace Boat and Palau

Peace Boat first visited Palau on its 4th Voyage in 1986, and has returned several times. The 97th Voyage will be the first return to Palau since 2008, and Koror, Palau will be the first port of the voyage. Through Peace Boat's programmes onboard and in port, participants will have the opportunity to learn about the environment, culture and history of the country. These include visits to the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), lagoons, and rock islands, and walking in the beautiful landscape. Participants visiting the Etpison Museum will learn about cultural heritage and a study programme for peace education will visit Peleliu Island.

Peace Boat's 97th Voyage

Peace Boat's 97th Voyage departed from Yokohama, Japan on 8 March and will return on 23 April, 2018. This voyage will take participants through the Western Pacific Ocean, to eight nations in Southeast Asia and on to China, before returning to Japan. The voyage will explore Asia's colonial past and its legacy, as well as its efforts to build more sustainable communities based on the respect for human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals.