FSM President Jacob Nena at the 53rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
NEW YORK, 25 September 1998: Representatives from the 185 member states of the United Nations witnessed President Jacob Nena as he addressed the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 24 September 1998 during its 53rd session. President Nena continued the general debate that began three days earlier as he opened the fourth day as its first speaker of the morning.
In keeping with traditions of the South Pacific Forum, the supreme body comprising of 16 independent Pacific states, President Nena delivered a statement of regional perspectives and concerns on wide ranging issues, as he addressed the world body as the current chair of the South Pacific Forum. President Nena inherited the chairmanship of the Forum for 1998-1999 when the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) hosted the 29th South Pacific Forum meeting in the FSM last August.
As the 1998 Forum chair, President Nena, guided by the 1998 Forum Communique, advanced in his statement numerous issues needing international advocacy which include Climate Change, the environment as well as the importance the Pacific region attaches to the upcoming 1999 United Nations Special Session on Small Island Developing States.
In his statement on climate change the President spoke of the Forum's recognition of the legally binding commitments agreed to in the Kyoto Protocol "as a significant first step forward on the path of ensuring effective global action to combat climate change". "The Forum", the President said, "encouraged all countries to sign the Kyoto Protocol and to work toward its earliest possible ratification." And in referencing the upcoming Fourth Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention in Buenos Aires, Argentina, President Nena seized the opportunity to stress the Forum's call for "... substantial progress in establishing the rules for international implementation mechanism, particularly emission trading, the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation to ensure that these mechanisms assist the effectiveness of greenhouse gas reduction efforts."
On the issue of the upcoming 1999 United Nations Special Session on Small Island Developing States, the President reaffirmed the Forum's previous endorsement of the Barbados Plan of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. While the Plan of Action is a comprehensive framework with potential for the region and implementation efforts are underway, the President also noted that much more remain unaddressed.
President Nena also took the opportunity to voice another continuing concern to the Forum countries which regards the environment, particularly, as it relates to shipment of radioactive waste within the Forum economic zones. In his address before the Assembly, Nena expressed the region's strenuous and continuing protests to the actions of industrialized powers. The Forum, he said, "...continue to seek a strong regime of prior notification to and consultation with, coastal states on planned shipments of hazardous wastes, the development of a regime for compensating the region for actual economic losses caused to tourism, fisheries and other affected industries as a result of an accident involving a shipment of radioactive materials, whether or not there is any actual environmental damage caused."
In addressing the FSM's own concerns, President Nena reiterated the very ongoing process of reforms in the FSM, which he said requires, now more that ever, the continued support of donor partners and international institutions. While also recognizing the overwhelming responsibility of the United Nations with the increasing problems facing the global community, he expressed fear that the traditional role of the Organization in assisting less advanced countries with their development could be marginalized. The President reminded the world body of its historical role in fostering the advancement of the developing world.
Turning to the FSM's predominant resource and the planet's prevalent, yet least understood physical mechanism, the ocean, President Nena spoke of the ocean-generated disaster of El-Nino and expressed gratitude to donor nations who responded to the plight of the Pacific island peoples suffering from this climatic phenomenon.
A delegation from the FSM comprising of FSM Foreign Affairs Secretary Epel K. Ilon; Chuuk Governor Dr. Ansito Water; Chuuk Senate Vice President Isiro Choram; Chuuk State Senator Wiseman Moses; Chuuk Director of Budget Nick Andon; and Special Assistant to the President Josaiah Waguk as well as the FSM Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Masao Nakayama witnessed the occasion. The FSM New York and Washington-based diplomats were also on hand for the occassion.
A full text of the President's statement at the 53rd UNGA is available at the FSM Permanent Mission's Website at: http://www.fsmgov.org. A video coverage is also available for on-demand playback for convenience from the UN Website at http://www.un.org/ga/53/session.