PALAU TO RECEIVE $3.9 MILLION ENERGY GRANT

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By Nazario Rodriguez Jr.

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Nov. 5) — The Government recently signed with the European Union (EU) a grant of 2.7 million Euros [US$3.9 million] that would fund renewable and sustainable alternative energy projects in Palau.

Minister of State Temmy Shmull signed the partnership agreement on behalf of President Remengesau during the 38th Pacific Islands Forum in mid October at the Capital town of Naku’alofa, Kingdom of Tonga.

The MOS said in a press release on Tuesday Oct. 30 that 85 percent of the grant would be used to establish a Technical Cooperation Facility where further research on European Development Fund (EDF) activities will be funded.

This funding cycle will run from 2008 to 2013.

MOS said that the agreement called "the Country Strategy Paper and National Indicative Program between Palau and the European Community is in line with Palau’s National Development Plan and consistent with the promotion of the economic and social development of the nation.

MOS also said that funding is allocated through the 10th EDF whose purpose is to maximize the contribution of appropriate, proven and cost effective renewable technologies.

"One of the greatest challenges facing Palau’s future development as a nation is the high cost of fossil fuels. This grant will help the Republic to reduce our reliance on foreign fuel by improving efficiency, encouraging energy conservation, invest is renewable technologies and implement sustainable energy strategies," said Shmull.

Shmull thanked the European Community’s EDF Program and the EU member states for their assistance.

MOS said that the EDF is the main funding mechanism for providing aid for development cooperation in the African, Asian and the Pacific Countries and funded by the EU member states and its management and financial oversight are conducted by an independent committee.

A large portion of the budget is dedicated to regional programs, focusing on the importance of economic integration as the basic framework for national and community development.

MOS said that the creation of incentive amounts for each country is an innovation in the 10th EDF.

The signing of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement in Cotonou in June 2000 brought the number of the Pacific ACP countries from eight to 14. These included the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, the Cook Islands and Niue.

As signatories to the Cotonou Agreement, these 14 PACP states are entitled to a number of trade and advantages in their EU relations.

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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