FSM attends 14th Micronesian Chief Executives' Summit
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): January 7, 2011 - The Fourteenth Micronesian Chief Executives' Summit (MCES) was held in Koror, Republic of Palau, on December 15-17, 2010. President Mori attended the Summit, accompanied by Secretary Lorin Robert, Department of Foreign Affairs, and Secretary Marion Henry, Department of Resources and Development.
The following Chief Executives were present: President Toribiong of Palau, President Zedkaia of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, John Ehsa, Governor of Pohnpei, Wesley Simina, Governor of Chuuk, Sebastian Anefal, Governor of Yap, Benigno Fitial, Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Felix Camacho, Governor of the Territory of Guam. Also in attendance were Anthony Babauta, Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), as well as many of the region's international diplomats. Robert Weilbacher, Governor of Kosrae, was represented by Steven George, Director of the Kosrae Department of Resources and Economic Affairs.
This 14th Summit resulted in the adoption of regional programs of action in the focal areas of solid waste management, conservation through the Micronesia Challenge and related programs for environment protection, renewable energy, invasive species prevention, health and transportation issues, workforce investment, and the development of communications and tourism. The Summit also moved forward on efforts to develop the Micronesia Center for a Sustainable Future (MCSF), making use of an inception grant from the DOI.
The Micronesia Challenge (MC) Steering Committee reported to the Chief Executives that they have drafted a 5 Year Strategic Action Plan. The plan should be finalized by the end of January 2011. It was confirmed that Palau will host the MC Regional Office, and as the first step towards conservation measures, the Office of the Palau Automated Land and Resource Information System is coordinating marine data collection and analysis for the region.
The Chief Executives encouraged the MC Committee to engage in bi-lateral and multi-lateral high level discussions to leverage support for the MC and its policies for on-the-ground conservation.
The Micronesia Regional Invasive Species Council (RISC) Committee reported that cooperation through RISC has yielded significant progress in the advancement of invasive species awareness, prevention, and control in Micronesia.
The Committee informed the Chief Executives that a 2011 RISC Calendar, funded by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), has been finalized and is being distributed throughout the region. The Committee also advised that they supported the development of the Micronesia Biosecurity Plan (MBP) by providing local expertise to federal scientists who are completing risk and pathway analysis reports for the MBP. The final MBP will accurately portray priorities and needs within Micronesia for restricting the introduction and spread of invasive species throughout Micronesia.
The Chief Executives affirmed their support of RISC's initiatives, each committing to provide a permanent full-time invasive species coordinator, as well as identifying two RISC representatives from each jurisdiction to collaborate on the MBP and on invasive species issues.
The Regional Workforce Development Council (RWDC) and Pacific Workforce Investment Workgroup reported on their efforts to continue to nurture and support regional economic strategies. The Chief Executives approved all RWDC recommendations, including: extending training opportunities through the Procurement Technical Assistance Center in Guam, leveraging support from the Small Business Administration; promoting science, technology, engineering, agriculture/aquaculture and math talent development for K-12 and post-secondary education; and working with regional Chambers of Commerce to support regional e-commerce.
The Energy Committee reported that the Green Energy Micronesia initiative continues to serve
as the platform for regional response to the issue of climate change mitigation. In that context, jurisdictions continue active on-the-ground energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and research, with funding from the European Union, via EDF10 North REP, and from the US Government, via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Chief Executives directed the Committee to continue the tasks necessary to implement their projects.
Regarding solid waste management issues, the Chief Executives supported the Pacific Islands Regional Recycling Initiative Council plans to attend various international workshops and conferences to continue maximizing access to waste management information.
The Regional Tourism Committee reported on the activities of the PATA Micronesia Chapter, including a request for proposal for regional branding, their marketing outreach efforts in the military market via exhibits and booths at Travel Fairs, and the development of a marketing strategy for the luxury cruise market. The Chief Executives confirmed they would seek support from their jurisdictions to finance PATA's participation in travel shows, but also highlighted that they will seek a study regarding the economic impact of the tourism industry in the Micronesia region.
The Regional Health Committee gave a status report on the crisis of non-communicable diseases in the region. The Chief Executives recommended continuing to increase the knowledge and awareness of the NCD crisis in the region.
Regarding the Micronesia Center for a Sustainable Future, the Secretary General, President Mori, reported that an inception award of $494,000, funded by DOI, was presented by Babauta to the MCSF. Submissions are being made and reviewed for the use of the award. The recommendations by the MCSF Designated Representatives to place a strong focus on fundraising for MCSF, establish a physical location, and identify an Executive Director for the Center were all endorsed by the Chief Executives.
In connection with water and sanitation issues, the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the SPC (SOPAC) proposed a common process to facilitate the development of water policies for the region. The Chief Executives recommended that each of their jurisdictions form a National Water Task Force to handle the development of these policies with the assistance of SOPAC and SPC; as well as, coordinate a regional action plan.
Governor Fitial provided an update regarding the Region IX Federal Regional Council (FRC) meeting held in early December 2010, in San Francisco. The Chief Executives agreed to strengthen the region's partnership with FRC, especially in the areas of climate change and renewable energy, workforce development and training, and health and education.
Brief reports were also provided by the Transportation Committee and by the Communications Committee, these can be found in more detail on the following website: www.mcespalau.info.
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