Last updated in October 2014
Relations between Palau and Germany are good and amicable. Bilateral relations date back to the period of German colonial administration between 1899 and 1914 which, however, has left barely any mark, apart from some architectural vestiges of phosphate plants on Angaur Island and the name of a waterway (German Channel). In October 2005, the Palau National Museum opened a small department devoted to Germany.
Diplomatic relations were established on 11 November 1997. The German Ambassador in Manila/Philippines is also accredited to Palau. Germany is also represented in Palau by an Honorary Consul.
Palau also receives support through German development cooperation and humanitarian clearance of unexploded ordnance left over from the Second World War. Island states like Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia are particularly threatened by the effects of climate change. In 2006, the three countries’ presidents and the heads of government of the Micronesian U.S. territories signed the Micronesia Challenge with the aim of protecting 30 per cent of near-shore marine resources and 20 per cent of terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020. As part of its International Climate Initiative, the Federal Government is supporting these efforts through development cooperation projects.
Bilateral trade relations are very modest. In 2013, German imports from Palau were worth EUR 116,000 and German exports to Palau approximately EUR 40,000. However, Germans make up a relatively large portion of the tourists visiting Palau, many of whom are attracted by the wide range of diving opportunities available there.
In terms of development policy, Germany is involved on a modest scale through Technical Cooperation microprojects. It does, however, provide substantial support for European Union development projects in Palau through its contributions to the EU. The Federal Foreign Office supports the disposal of mines and munitions left over from the Second World War, which are still being discovered on the Palauan archipelago, through the Australian NGO Cleared Ground Demining.
The so-called “Krämer” volumes from the German South Seas Expedition (1907-1910) undertaken by the German navy physician, anthropologist and ethnographer August Krämer (1864-1941) continue to be of topical relevance: the records contained in the five volumes are still recognised today by Palau’s courts as the only authentic source in tribal disputes or disputes over property. In the absence of official national or other written records, the “Krämer” records constitute the codified memory of Palauan culture and identity, which are under threat from the modern way of life. Over the period 2010-2012, the German Embassy provided a total of EUR 48,800 under the Federal Foreign Office’s Cultural Preservation Programme to fund the translation of the records into English. In May 2014, the German Ambassador officially presented the translation to Palau’s President and other political and cultural dignitaries.
In 2013, the German Embassy in Manila once again participated in the EU Film Festival in Koror, which was held for the fifth time in October 2013, by submitting a German film.