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Final payment on $3 million endowment for fund

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Dec. 19, 2011) – The Nature Conservancy has provided a $1 million check to Palau President Johnson Toribiong to support the Micronesia Challenge.

Micronesia Challenge is an effort by the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam to conserve 30 percent of near-shore marine and 20 percent of terrestrial resources across the region by 2020.

The check fulfills a $3 million commitment made by the Nature Conservancy toward an endowment to support the Micronesia Challenge.

"We're so inspired by the leadership of Palau's conservation community, which is building the practical framework for lasting investments in conservation that recognize the critical connection between a sustainable environment and a healthy society," Russell Leiman, Asia-Pacific managing director for The Nature Conservancy, said in a press release issued by the Nature Conservancy.

Through legislation passed in 2009, Palau established the Green Fee program, which uses fees collected from departing visitors to provide support for the maintenance of sites in a network of protected areas. Palau also established the first-ever shark sanctuary to protect sharks in the nation's 240,000-square-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

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