H.E. President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, delivered the 2018 State of the Republic Address (SORA) before the 10th Olbiil Era Kelulau and the People of the Palau.

“As a nation, we find ourselves nearing the end of our second period of financing under the Compact of Free Association, even though the United States spending Bill committing to this 2nd financing commitment was signed into Law less than a month ago.  We also find that, due to our own development successes over the past two decades, the World Bank has changed our country income classification to that of a ‘High Income’ country, which will limit the availability of certain global development funding despite the fact that we are also classified as a small island developing state that is highly vulnerable to the mounting impacts of climate change.

Because of our unique situation, we must be prepared to address our fiscal challenges in the coming years.  First, we must focus our efforts on expanding our own revenue base to respond to our new development status and expanded funding requirements, including responsive social programs and services, and climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.

Second, we must begin to utilize more of our financial resources to leverage financing to help fully finance investments in economic sectors we have targeted for development.  We must do this within a clearly established regulatory framework.

Finally, we must continue to build our capacity to access and implement available financial and technical assistance from our multilateral and development partners.   In this effort we must focus on Public Private Partnerships to help lower the burden on the government and to expand available financing options.

This means that we must seriously expand our efforts to not only enhance our tourism industry, but also look to diversify our economic opportunities.  Within this context, we must make sure that we continue to work towards sustainable livelihoods, strengthen our food security, protect our family structure, and provide improved health and education to our people, all while continuing to preserve our cultural heritage.  These are basic but certainly complex responsibilities for a nation as small as ours.  Yet we must progress each and every one of these responsibilities to ensure a vibrant future for our children.

In order to accomplish these ambitious goals, we must continue, at the leadership level, to cooperate through a shared vision of our future.  This will require continued serious discussion, negotiation, inclusive community dialogue and, most importantly, compromise. ”

Click HERE to read the SORA in full.