Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 03 July 2018

Summary: State Party Palau ratified the convention on 19 April 2016. It has participated in several meetings of the convention, but not since 2015. Palau voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention in December 2017. Palau reports that it has never produced or used cluster munitions and has no stockpile, including for research or training purposes.


The Republic of Palau signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008, ratified on 19 April 2016, and the convention entered into force for the country on 1 October 2016.

Palau has reported existing legislation under legal, administrative, and other measures to implement the convention, including its constitution, which, it reports, “prohibits use, production, and transshipment of cluster munitions.”[1] Palau also lists a June 2013 executive order formally establishing an advisory committee to manage the country’s clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO).[2]

Palau submitted its annual Article 7 transparency report in May 2018.[3] It provided an initial Article 7 transparency measures report the day after it ratified the convention, as well as a voluntary transparency report prior to ratification, in 2011.[4]

Palau joined the Oslo Process in February 2008 and played an active role in the Dublin negotiations.[5]

Palau participated in the convention’s Meeting of States Parties in 2010–2013 as well as First Review Conference in 2015.[6] It has hosted and attended several regional meetings to discuss a Pacific Islands Forum strategy to clear unexploded ordnance.[7] In February 2018, Palau attended the Pacific Conference on Conventional Weapons Treaties and adopted the conference’s “Auckland Declaration,” acknowledging “the clear moral and humanitarian rationale for joining” the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[8]

In December 2017, Palau voted in favor of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[9] It voted in favor of the previous UNGA resolutions promoting the convention in 2015 and 2016.

Palau has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2017.[10]

Palau has not elaborated its views on certain important issues related to interpretation and implementation of the convention, such as the prohibitions on transit, assistance during joint military operations with states not party that may use cluster munitions, foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions, and investment in production of cluster munitions, and on the retention of cluster munitions for training and development purposes.

Palau is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

Palau has reported that it has not produced cluster munitions and does possess a stockpile, including for training and research purposes. It has not used or transferred cluster munitions.

[2] Executive Order 335 of 2013. The group includes clearance NGO Cleared Ground Demining. Statement of Palau, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011.

[3] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, 22 May 2018. The report covers the two-year period of January 2016 to December 2017.

[4] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, 20 April 2016. The report covers calendar year 2015.

[5] For more details on Palau’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 140–141.

[6] At the Review Conference, Palaucommitted to promote the conventionat the “highest level” and “lobby the entire Pacific leadership” to join it. Statement on Universalization, by Amb. Caleb Otto, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, Dubrovnik,Croatia,9 September 2015.

[7] The Pacific Regional Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Workshop was jointly hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and ICBL-CMC member SafeGround (formerly the Australian Network to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions) with the support of AusAID.Draft Outcomes Statement, Pacific Regional ERW Workshop, 27–28 June 2013. Provided to the Monitor by Loral Thompson, National Coordinator, SafeGround, 30 March 2014.

[8] Auckland Declaration on Conventional Weapons Treaties,” Pacific Conference on Conventional Weapons Treaties, Auckland, New Zealand, 12–14 February 2018.

[9] “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 72/54, 4 December 2017.

[10] “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 72/191, 19 December 2017. Palau voted in favor of similar resolutions in 2013, 2014, and 2016.

Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 02 November 2011

Commitment to the Mine Ban Treaty

Mine Ban Treaty status

State Party

National implementation measures

Legislation introduced in Senate in August 2008

Transparency reporting



The Republic of Palau acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 18 November 2007, becoming a State Party on 1 May 2008.

Draft implementing legislation—the Anti-Personnel Mine Prohibition Act of 2008 (SB No. 7-270)—was introduced into the Senate on 20 August 2008 by Senator Caleb Otto.[1] After passing its first reading, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Affairs, where it is apparently still under consideration.

Palau submitted an initial Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report in 2008, and updated reports in December 2009 and 2011 (for 2010).

Palau participated in the Tenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Geneva in November–December 2010, where it expressed appreciation for the support it has received from the Mine Ban Treaty’s Implementation Support Unit.[2] Palau did not attend the intersessional Standing Committee meetings held in Geneva in June 2011.

In its Article 7 report covering the calendar year 2010, Palau said that it supports universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty in the Pacific region and participated in a Pacific Island Forum unexploded ordnance scoping mission to assess and recommend actions on unexploded war remnants.[3]

In its initial Article 7 report, Palau stated that it does not possess antipersonnel mine stockpiles, has never produced the weapon, and has no mined areas.[4] Palau has said on several occasions that it does not produce or stockpile antipersonnel mines.[5]

A United States (US) Department of State cable made public by Wikileaks in August 2011 provides US views on Palau’s interpretation of the Mine Ban Treaty.[6] According to the September 2009 cable from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Palau ratified the Mine Ban Treaty “after a long series of consultations with the United States” and after the government of Palau had reportedly “determined that the Ottawa Convention did not conflict with the Compact of Free Association because the GOP [government of Palau] would not be in control of any area in which the United States might use landmines in the defense of Palau under the terms of the Compact.” Also, according to the US, Palau “stated that it would not enact its implementing legislation extraterritorially and therefore it would not apply to Palauan citizens serving in the U.S. armed forces.”

Palau is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

In its Article 7 report for 2010, Palau for the first time listed areas where Japanese antipersonnel and antivehicle mines dating from World War II have been cleared.[7] It stated that “No known or suspected AP Landmines [antipersonnel mines] emplacements exist, although as mentioned above the AP Landmines are sometimes encountered in the cave systems and are remains of Japanese stockpiles from World War 2.”[8]


[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 1 May 2008 to 15 September 2008), Form A.

[2] Statement of Palau, Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 3 December 2010. Notes by Action on Armed Violence.

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period January 2010 to December 2010), Form J.

[4] Mine Ban Tretay Article 7 Report (for the period 1 May 2008 to 15 September 2008), Forms B, C, and E.

[5] See for example, statement of Palau, Eighth Meeting of States Parties, Mine Ban Treaty, Dead Sea, 18 November 2007; and statement of Palau, Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 23 April 2007.

[6] “Concerns on Marshall Islands Ratification of the Ottawa Convention,” US Department of State cable 09STATE91952 dated 3 September 2009, released by Wikileaks on 26 August 2011,

[7] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period January 2010 to December 2010), Form A.

[8] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period January 2010 to December 2010), Form I.

Mine Action

Last updated: 09 February 2018

Contaminated by: unexploded ordnance (UXO), and may have residual or suspected antipersonnel mine contamination.


Antipersonnel mines

In its Article 7 report for 2016, the Republic of Palau reported that it does not have any suspected or confirmed antipersonnel mine contamination, and stated that there have “never been validated mined areas that contain or are suspected to contain anti-personnel mines under the jurisdiction or control of Palau.”[1]

In previous years, Palau reported finding and destroying small numbers of antipersonnel mines: its Article 7 report for 2016 mentions a total of 41 type 93 HE Blast antipersonnel mines found and destroyed between 2009 and the end of 2016, all in the Umurbrogol mountains, Peleliu Island.[2] The report mentions that all these mines were stockpiled, while reports from previous years listed them as discovered in areas that contain mines or areas suspected to contain mines.[3]

Twenty-three JE-type sea mines that “can be activated by human contact” were reported to have been located in tidal mangroves in Airai state in 2012, and subsequently destroyed.[4]

In August 2017, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) reported finding no evidence of antipersonnel mine contamination during non-technical survey operations started in September 2016 and covering all states except Peleliu and Ngiwal.[5] In November 2017, Cleared Ground Demining (CGD) stated that nationwide survey conducted in 2013–2015 had found antipersonnel mines in the Umurbrogol mountains only.[6]

In its UXO Action Plan 2017–2019, Palau stated that “A total of 43 antipersonnel landmines have been cleared” since 2009, and that “it has ‘cleared all known mined areas’ in compliance with the APMBC [Mine Ban Treaty].”

Unexploded ordnance

Palau is contaminated by UXO and abandoned unexploded ordnance (AXO) on many of its 200 islands, which were left over from World War II[7] when it was the scene of a number of land and naval battles between Japanese and American forces. An estimated total of 2,800 tons (2.8 million kilograms) of ordnance was dropped or fired on Palau.[8] Much of this ordnance failed to detonate or was abandoned after the war, and as a result, an unknown amount of UXO remains on the land and in the sea, including in sunken ships.[9]

After decades of exposure to the elements including sea air, much of the ordnance is deteriorating and leaking into the ground and sea.[10] In February 2017, defensive maps detailing aircraft bombs, depth charges, and sea mines, were provided to the Palau authorities by the Japanese military via a Japanese demining NGO, the Japan Mine Action Service (JMAS).[11]

On Peleliu Island, local inhabitants have been reported to be exposed to explosive remnants of war (ERW) while hunting, fishing, collecting shellfish, and engaging in agricultural activities on taro fields and banana plantations, as well in traditional food-gathering areas where the population collect land crabs and hunt fruit bats for food.[12]

Program Management

Under the authority of Executive Order No. 335 of 14 May 2013, issued by the Office of the President, an UXO Advisory Committee was established.[13] The committee has reportedly met a number of times, with an informal working group established in 2010 also having met prior to the establishment of the committee.[14]

Three capacity-building workshops facilitated by NPA were held in 2015–2016 with government officials from the UXO Advisory Committee, CGD, and JMAS. The aim of the workshops was to support Palau’s development of a national UXO policy, a national UXO action plan, and draft national UXO standards.[15]

Executive Order No. 392 of 1 March 2017, issued by the Office of the President, declared that the UXO Policy and UXO Action Plan 2017–2019 were adopted. It authorized the establishment of a national coordination system and a unified database mechanism.[16]

Strategic planning

The UXO Advisory Committee has overseen the development of the UXO Policy and UXO Action Plan 2017–2019.[17]

The UXO policy outlines national coordination measures and assigns responsibilities to the relevant ministries. It also formally documents the role of the UXO Advisory Committee, which is composed of government ministries, states, agencies, and other governmental organizations. The Director of the Bureau of Domestic Affairs within the Ministry of State acts as the secretariat.[18]

An UXO Technical Working Group, chaired by the National Safety Office and consisting of representatives at working level from each ministry,[19] Palau’s states, and other concerned organizations, has been established by the UXO Advisory Committee. The UXO Technical Working Group assists the committee with its work, particularly on the technical aspects of UXO destruction.[20] Clearance organizations are not part of the UXO Technical Working Group.[21]


The UXO Advisory Committee is tasked to determine rules and regulations for the quality and standard of work performed by agencies like the National Safety Office (in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce), the police, international organizations, NGOs, and foreign militaries. These rules and regulations, known as “Palau UXO Standards,” are based on the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) and have been drafted with the support of NPA.[22]

An initial workshop in August 2015, to which CGD, JMAS, and NPA contributed, identified a list of 21 UXO standards needed in Palau. This included adopting certain IMAS in full, tailoring others to the situation in Palau, and developing some standards for situations unique to Palau.[23] In July 2017, the standards were streamlined to concentrate more on permissions and legalities for the removal of ERW rather than the technical aspects of clearance.[24] As of December 2017, the draft standards had yet to be distributed to all operators for comment.[25]

Information management

Previously, no centralized database contained historical information/data on, for example, the location and clearance of UXO, which could be retrieved for planning and prioritization purposes.[26] However, with the support of NPA, the National Safety Office established a national UXO database in January 2017[27] to coordinate survey and clearance of UXO and mine contamination.

With the adoption of the UXO Policy and UXO Action Plan 2017–2019, the Palau authorities now have a mandate to collect historical data from operators conducting clearance in Palau, and verify and qualify data for reporting to Palau leadership, local communities, and the international community.[28]

The National Safety Office now receives both historical and current data on contamination, survey, and clearance to populate the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database.[29] All items found to-date have been reported by operators, and entered into the UXO database, with the exception of historical data on UXO from CGD for the period 2009­2016, which was still being processed as of December 2017.[30] In addition, as of July 2017, the United States corps of engineers had yet to provide details of the location and type of explosive ordnance cleared during various explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) missions and construction work in Palau.[31]


CGD has been operating in Palau since September 2009, and has conducted UXO non-technical survey, technical survey, clearance, as well as spot tasks in all states of Palau, both on land and at sea. Further to the arrival of JMAS in 2012, it concentrated its activities on land and provided JMAS and the National Safety Office with its underwater survey data.[32]

In 2012, JMAS began working in Palau, with a focus on underwater UXO clearance. JMAS’s activities to date have included monitoring of the “Helmet Wreck” off Malakal, Koror, and other wreck sites, and undertaking underwater surveys.[33] JMAS planned to deploy two EOD teams for UXO survey in 2017, each of which will conduct a 10-day survey each month, using GPS and aqua-sonar equipment, magnetic anomaly detectors, underwater remote-controlled cameras, underwater scooters, still and video cameras, and protective diving suits.[34] As of September 2017, JMAS had received survey and clearance authorizations from Korkor state, and was awaiting authorization to extend its operations to Ngatpang and Ngeremlengui states. It had, however, conducted a survey of the port of Ngeremlengui.[35]

Since 2015, NPA has been assisting Palau to strengthen national capacity to manage and coordinate the UXO sector, and to help undertake surveys and UXO clearance. NPA reported that from April 2017 it had begun working under the National Safety Office, as the “ERW/UXO team.”[36]

In addition, NPA began non-technical survey on 15 September 2016. In January 2017, NPA began clearance of spot tasks, followed by clearance of hazardous areas in March. As of August 2017, personnel had also been assigned permanently to provide EOD cover to Palau’s water and sewer improvement projects.[37] NPA also conducted EOD level 1 training for the Koror State Rangers and the police department, and conducted joint clearance operations with the Koror State Rangers in 2017. In addition, the National Safety Office ERW/UXO team will conduct risk assessments for all planned infrastructure work.[38]

Land Release

CGD conducted non-technical survey and technical survey in all states of Palau from 2013 to 2015. It has reported the removal of over 55,000 items of UXO and AXO, weighing 139 tons, through clearance activities in all states since 2009. Of this, 47 tons were located underwater. Prioritization of clearance was agreed with state authorities, and has included locations such as households, tourism sites, conservation areas, and public infrastructure.[39]

Palau, in conjunction with international partners including NPA, CGD, and JMAS, is planning, coordinating, and implementing a nationwide non-technical survey, referred to in the UXO Action Plan 2017–2019 as a “general UXO survey,” to confirm the UXO-affected areas of the country. NPA is conducting the non-technical survey, which “will gather documentary information from a variety of sources, such as previous surveys, NGO progress reports, other ministries, states, police, construction agencies, dive operators and historical records. All data collected during the general survey is to be stored in IMSMA.”[40] In addition, all information from NPA is backed up and delivered to the Palau Automated Land and Resource Information System (PALRIS), in the Office of Planning and Statistics, under the Ministry of Finance.[41]

NPA started non-technical survey on 18 September 2016, in the state of Koror. As of August 2017, NPA had completed non-technical survey of all states, except for Peleliu and Ngiwal, where CGD is working. No evidence of antipersonnel mine contamination has been found in non-technical survey operations to date.[42]

JMAS did not encounter any antipersonnel mines or sea mines in 2016, but it did discover 10 items of ERW in the shallow waters off Koror state. In addition, JMAS found three ammunition boxes and four depth charges at Chuyo Maru, as well as four ammunition boxes, one machine gun shell container, one cartridge container, and one “unknown” container in Urakami Maru.[43]

Article 5 Compliance

Palau does not report having areas suspected or confirmed to be contaminated with antipersonnel mines.


The Monitor acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review (, which has conducted the mine action research in 2017, including on survey and clearance, and shared all its resulting landmine and cluster munition reports with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.

[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2011); and Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2012).

[4] Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2012); email from Cassandra McKeown, Finance Director, Cleared Ground Demining (CGD), 29 November 2017.

[5] Email from Luke Atkinson, Programme Manager, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), 30 August 2017.

[6] Email from Cassandra McKeown, CGD, 29 November 2017.

[7] Statement of Palau, Mine Ban Treaty Sixth Meeting of States Parties, Zagreb, 29 November 2005.

[8] United States military statistics included in the document provided to Landmine Monitor by email from Cassandra McKeown, CGD, 19 May 2010.

[9] Government of Palau, “UXO Action Plan 2017–2019,” 1 March 2017, p. 6; and “UXO Policy,” 1 March 2017.

[10] Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, “WWII Unexploded Ordnance: A Study of UXO in Four Pacific Island Countries,” August 2011.

[11] Emails from Luke Atkinson, NPA, 11 and 12 July 2017.

[12] Emails from Cassandra McKeown, CGD, stating 2009–2010 community survey findings, 19 May 2010, and 18 July 2011.

[13] Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016).

[14] Government of Palau, “UXO Policy,” 1 March 2017.

[15] NPA, “Humanitarian Disarmament in Palau,” undated; email from Balkuu Kumangai, National Safety Officer, National Safety Office, Bureau of Public Works, Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce, 3 April 2017; and Government of Palau, “UXO Action Plan 2017–2019,” 1 March 2017, p. 3.

[16] Executive Order No. 392, Office of the President, Republic of Palau, 1 March 2017.

[17] Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form A.

[18] Email from Balkuu Kumangai, Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce, 3 April 2017.

[19] Government of Palau, “UXO Policy,” 1 March 2017; and email from Eunice Akiwo, Ministry of State, 21 April 2017.

[20] Government of Palau, “UXO Policy,” 1 March 2017.

[21] Interview with Steve Ballinger, CGD, 21 December 2017.

[22] Government of Palau, “UXO Policy,” and “UXO Action Plan 2017–2019,” 1 March 2017; and Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016).

[23] Government of Palau, “UXO Action Plan 2017–2019,” 1 March 2017, p. 14.

[24] Email from Luke Atkinson, NPA, 30 August 2017.

[25] Interview with Steve Ballinger, CGD, 21 December 2017.

[26] Government of Palau, “UXO Action Plan 2017–2019,” 1 March 2017.

[27] Email from Eunice Akiwo, Ministry of State, 21 April 2017.

[28] Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form A.

[29] Government of Palau, “UXO Action Plan 2017–2019,” 1 March 2017; and email from Balkuu Kumangai, Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce, 3 April 2017.

[30] Interview with Steve Ballinger, CGD, 21 December 2017.

[31] Email from Luke Atkinson, NPA, 12 July 2017; and interview with Steve Ballinger, CGD, 21 December 2017.

[32] Email from Cassandra McKeown, CGD, 29 November 2017.

[33]Team From Japan Removes Depth Charges From Palau Wreck,” Pacific Islands Report, 22 December 2015; Government of Palau, “UXO Action Plan 2017–2019,” 1 March 2017, p. 6.; and email from Yasuo Terada, JMAS, 17 March 2017.

[34] Email from Yasuo Terada, JMAS, 17 March 2017.

[35] Ibid.; and interview with Steve Ballinger, 21 December 2017.

[36] Emails from Luke Atkinson, NPA, 21 March and 11 July 2017.

[37] Ibid., 30 August 2017.

[38] Ibid., 21 March 2017.

[39] Email from Cassandra McKeown, CGD, 29 November 2017.

[40] Government of Palau, “UXO Action Plan 2017–2019,” 1 March 2017.

[41] Email from Luke Atkinson, NPA, 30 August 2017.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Email from Yasuo Terada, JMAS, 17 March 2017.

Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 19 November 2018

The Republic of Palau has a problem of unexploded ordnance dating from World War II. Many of the remnants are either unexploded or partially exploded. They are present both on land and underwater, thus posing a serious threat to the population, tourists, and the environment. 

In 2017, three donors contributed more than $1 million combined to address the threat of UXO.[1]


International contributions: 2017[2]



Amount (national currency)




















Between 2013 and 2017, international assistance toward mine action activities in Palau totaled approximately $8 million.


Summary of international contributions: 2013–2017[3]


















[1] Belgium, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 30 April 2018; Japan, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 30 April 2018; and email from Leah Murphy, Desk Officer, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Section, Ireland Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 25 September 2018.

[2] Average exchange rate for 2017: €1=US$1.1301; ¥112.1=US$1. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 11 January 2018.

[3] See previous Monitor reports.