Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Address by Vice President Redley Killion

before the

Plenary Session

8th Conference of the Parties to the
Convention on Biological Diversity
Curitiba, Brazil, 29 March 2006

Check Against Delivery

Madame President
Executive Director of the CBD, Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf,
Excellencies, Distinguished Ministers and Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen

The Federated States of Micronesia is most pleased to take part in this 8th Conference of the Parties here in Brazil - a country that rightly holds the distinction as the birthplace of the Convention on Biological Diversity. We came here to learn from you and to share with you our views and concerns.

Madame President, the professional manner by which you conducted the deliberations over the last several days has earned the admiration of my Delegation. Through you, my Government conveys its sincere appreciation to the Federal government of Brazil, including the State of Parana and the beautiful City of Curitiba, for the hospitality that has been kindly extended to us since our arrival. Thank you also for the excellent facilities and arrangements for our meetings.

My Delegation wishes to recognize and congratulate you, Dr Djoghlaf, upon your appointment to head the CBD Secretariat. We are confident that with your wealth of experience, tact, and commitment, you will lead the work of the CBD in the years ahead to commendable results.

The second Global Biodiversity Outlook is not sounding a false alarm; rather it is a clarion call for action. The clearest message of the second report is that the international community, at all levels, must urgently take bold and concerted action to abate, if not to avert, the unprecedented loss of the global biodiversity.

This is a challenge to all of us, and we must rise to that challenge, - or we run the serious risks of bequeathing to our children and our children's children an unworthy legacy and a world that they do not deserve, nor should they be expected to deserve. Beyond political commitments and legal responsibilities, we have moral obligations to our succeeding generations.

While meeting the targets set forth by the CBD is not an impossible mission, a point also noted in the second Outlook, we can be equally certain that there is little room for complacency. Again, the time to take appropriate action is now - and we commit no error to demand tangible results. The urgency of the matter was succinctly stated by my friend President Remengesau of Palau when he remarked last night that "the clock is ticking away" on us.

The alarming rate of loss of the biodiversity is a global problem that affects all and spares none. Yet it presents unique challenges to the small island developing states and other island communities like the Federated States of Micronesia. As far as I can tell, no one has seriously disputed the finding that the biodiversities and ecosystems of the SIDS and other island communities are among the most vulnerable.

It is for this reason that my country fully supports the adoption of the Program of Work on Island Biodiversity as it provides the framework to abate the accelerated loss of the biodiversity resources of the island communities. It is for the same reason that the Federated States of Micronesia joined the other Pacific island countries in endorsing the Pacific Islands Statement on Island Biodiversity which highlights our unique concerns and points us to a way forward to meeting the objectives of the CBD.

Madame President, yesterday evening I had the honor of joining President Remengesau and officials from the Marshall Islands, as well as many supporters and friends from the Pacific region and beyond, in formally launching the Micronesian Challenge. I thank you and the CBD Executive Secretary for gracing us with your presence yesterday evening and for your encouragement and support of the Micronesian Challenge. The Micronesian Challenge is a collaborative regional initiative that is aimed at poising the Micronesian island governments toward achieving the targets and objectives set forth in the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Millennium Development Agenda.

Our success in implementing the Micronesian Challenge largely depends on our access to appropriate financial and technical resources. Recognizing the role of the Global Environment Facility as the financing mechanism for the CBD as well, I reiterate my country's call on the GEF to further streamline its application process, including its resource allocation and eligibility criteria, to improve the access of the small island developing states to its assistance schemes. We have high expectations for the GEF to contribute to enhancing our capacities in managing and preserving our biodiversity resources.

Just as important is that our efforts in formulating regional frameworks or sub-regional arrangements and national legislations must go hand in hand with the creation of an enabling global environment. Management of the global commons including the conservation of our biodiversity cannot be left to chance - it is a risky proposition to base the important task of biodiversity conservation completely on voluntary adherence to non-binding agreements. In this regard, my government fully supports the strengthening of the CBD with the creation of an appropriate legally-binding regime.

Madame President, Distinguished Heads of Delegation and Delegates - it is fashionable to measure the success of a conference like this one by taking an inventory of the number of decisions made or agreements reached. Other outcomes aside, the real success of this Conference, in my view, is the collective renewal of commitment to the CBD and constructive recommendations for a way forward. My Delegation expresses its sincere appreciation to you, Madame President, Executive-Secretary Djoghlaf and the staff of the CBD Secretariat, the chairs of the various working groups, and all delegations for your hard work in the course of the past several days.

The members of my Delegation will go home from Curitiba with renewed confidence in our collective commitment to work ever harder toward ensuring the protection and sustainability of the bounties of Mother Nature, so that those who come after us will enjoy them just as well. We will do so by leaving with all of us the reminder that we have not the right to deny but the responsibility and obligation to ensure that succeeding generations will enjoy the harvests of the Earth just as we have in our own lifetime.

Thank you very much.