Permanent Mission of the Federated States of Micronesia to the United Nations

President Urusemal addresses UN General Assembly

New York (FSM Permanent Mission to the UN): September 23, 2002 - President Joseph J. Urusemal is among the world leaders in New York for the 58th Session of the United Nation's General Assembly in New York.

The Assembly provides a forum for high-level discussions among world leaders on themes ranging from the continued fight against terrorism, climate change, multilateralism, poverty and hunger and reform.

As the fifth Speaker during the opening day of the General Assembly, President Urusemal told the Assembly that the challenges of the environment and sustainable development that occupied so much of our attention during the 1990's have not gone away.

Despite the immediacy of so many pressing demands today, the President said "these remain as challenges that the international community cannot afford to put on hold as they are part and parcel of the worldwide security challenge, especially over the long term.

"No part of our world is immune to the wide range of fundamental security threats," said the President.

Maintaining the unique vulnerability of island States to all the threats, President Urusemal said global threat assessments are most often not followed by a "realistic allocation of resources" as the region of the Pacific Islands has too long been overlooked.

On a point closer to home, President Urusemal called for immediate international action to combat climate change, "at a time when we speak of many wars, there is also a war against climate change - a war that mankind cannot afford to lose."

He told the Assembly that the frequency and intensity of storms in Pacific region as having increased tremendously over the years and for the FSM, "climate change is a reality." The President referred to recent typhoons that ravaged the FSM killing whole families, sweeping away community cemeteries, "these events in our states are unprecedented.

"Everything we are, and hope to achieve as a people," stressed the President "is under grave threat because of global climate change."

Having noted the realities of climate change crisis, the President said "the entire world also now possesses indisputable evidence that its steady progression can be laid at the doorstep of human activity - yet some of the worst polluters among the industrialized countries see it as their top priority to protect vested interest."

"They are purposely delaying the immediate action that is required to begin to turn the tide of destructive climate alteration."

The President lamented that although the Kyoto Protocol is a positive achievement, "it has been converted by some governments into a political target - a rallying cry fro the worst polluters."

He added that the Protocol represents a small first step that must be followed up by strong actions if the war on climate change is to be effective. He warned that the scornful attitude towards the Protocol shown by some countries will doom the entire Framework Convention if the current situation remains unchanged, and urged for an immediate effect of the Protocol.

Concluding his address, President Urusemal joined the world government leaders in a treaty signing event held on the fringes of the General Assembly. The FSM signed onto two multilateral treaties:

  1. Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, and

  2. Final Protocol to the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.

Accompanying the President at the General Assembly were Speaker Peter M. Christian of the FSM Congress, Chairman Isaac Figir of the Committee on External Affairs, Deputy Secretary Lorin S. Robert of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Masao Nakayama of the FSM Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Ambassador Jesse B. Marehalau of the FSM's Embassy to the United States.