Palau Chiefs Offer Wisdom in ‘Bul’

We have reached a defining moment in history, one that will solidify the relationship between people and our planet for generations to come. With so much at stake, particularly for thousands of the world’s most vulnerable communities, leaders must be prepared to make decisions for the future, not for current political expediency.

Later this month, those of us at the highest levels of government will adopt the Post­ 2015 Development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It’s an important framework that builds on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which proved we can make historic gains by marshaling resources around a common cause and bringing stakeholders — governments, NGOs, the private sector and local communities — together. Even the most cynical among us must marvel at the millions that were educated, vaccinated and raised out of poverty as a result of those eight goals. The same should be true for the SDGs.

For Palau, and many of our neighbors in the Pacific, the Sustainable Development Goal on Oceans, Goal number 14, holds particular meaning. It recognizes the universal importance of a healthy, productive and resilient ocean. It challenges us to work together to make investments in sustainability. But to do so requires the right tools and the right partnerships to protect our environment, grow our economies, and enrich our people’s lives — and this is where we must all put our resources and energies to ensure that we leave our children and a world that they will be proud to live in and pass on to their own children.

In order to strategically invest our resources, the Ocean SDG contain two global targets that are inextricably linked: the need to create well-­connected systems of marine protected areas (MPAs) and a commitment to restoring healthy fish stocks.

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