Ocean Elders announced today that President Tommy Esang Remengesau, Jr., the ninth President of the Republic of Palau, and an internationally recognized leader on marine protection has joined Ocean Elders. For many years, President Tommy has been at the forefront of elevating the importance of the ocean to achieving climate and development objectives, and he was the recipient of the Ocean Elders Leadership Award in 2014 for his efforts to create the Palau National Marine Sanctuary. President Tommy is now leading the historic effort by implementing this protected, no-take sanctuary, which covers 80% of Palau’s territorial waters with the remaining 20% reserved for domestic fishing and provides even greater protection for Palau’s environment while further enhancing Palau’s tourism revenues. The world’s sixth largest, fully protected marine area, the Palau National Marine Sanctuary is Palau’s defining contribution to preserving the world’s ocean resources. President Tommy was also named by TIME in 2007 as one of the heroes of the environment for initiatives such as the Micronesia Challenge and is the recipient of the inaugural Pacific Champion Award in 2013, an honor bestowed as part of the Pacific Islands Environmental Leadership Awards for his numerous achievements as a leader in nature conservation and environmental sustainability, the Champion of the Earth award in 2014 by UNEP for his visionary leadership in strengthening Palau’s economic resilience by spearheading national initiatives to protect its biodiversity, and the first Inspiring Conservation Award by Rare for his innovative and inspiring work to preserve Palau’s marine resources.