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Future Policy Award 2012 Goes to Palau

Ocean News

The Philippines’ innovative ocean protection policies, the Tubbataha Reef Natural Park Act 2010, was proclaimed as one of the three winners of the 2012 Future Policy Awards which was announced Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The Micronesian Republic of Palau was proclaimed as the winner while the Philippines and Namibia bagged the silver awards for their marine policies.

Tubbataha, a marine sanctuary containing a reef of enormous size that is located in the Sulu Sea in Palawan, was lauded as a model of coral reef conservation.

The Philippine’s award-winning Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Act ensures the effective management of the Tubbataha reefs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and hotspot of coral reef biodiversity, by strengthening the legislative mandate of its managing bodies.

According to the World Future Council, an international policy research organization that provides decision-makers with effective policy solutions, the management of the Natural Park by the municipal authorities and NGOs has been lauded because of the excellent condition of the reefs, particularly when compared with neighboring sites.

In addition, Tubbataha has demonstrated that with carefully planned management, local communities need not bear the burden of closed protected areas, but can be their primary beneficiaries; as a nursery site for fish, the reef supports local artisanal fisheries. The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Act has been hailed as a model of coral reef conservation and already similar legislation has been enacted in the neighboring Apo Reef.

“With the Future Policy Award we want to cast a spotlight on policies that lead by example. The aim of the World Future Council is to raise awareness for exemplary policies and speed up policy action towards just, sustainable and peaceful societies,” Alexandra Wandel, Director of the World Future Council, said in a statement.

The awarding ceremony will be conducted on October 16 during the Biological Diversity Convention in Hyderabad, India.

The Republic of Palau won the Future Policy Award for two outstanding policies, the Shark Haven Act of 2009 which protects over a hundred species of deep water and reef sharks in Palau’s waters and the Protected Areas Network (PAN) Act that was initiated in 2003 which has a goal of protecting 30 percent of the near-shore marine environment and 20 percent of the terrestrial environment by 2020.

The second Silver Award went to Namibia’s Marine Resources Act (2000) for instituting an ecologically and economically viable fishing industry.

The Philippines and 21 other countries with 30 policies had been nominated for the award.

Photo: Jenny Huang, Blue Corner Palau

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