Micronesian Regional Coastguard Proposed
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): March 23, 2009 - Since early 2008, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), a subsidiary of the Nippon Foundation of Japan, has been working towards creating a regional coast guard program in the Micronesia sub-region to assist in the strengthening of marine surveillance capacity in Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, and Marshall Islands. The Foundation has provided over $130 million to fund similar capacity strengthening in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore over the past 40 years. The Foundation has proposed to work with authorities in the three countries to identify and assist in areas of greatest need, particularly to build capacity in the sub-region.
At the last Micronesian Presidents' Summit Meeting in November of 2008, the Presidents offered their sincere appreciation to representatives of the Foundation for the offer to provide assistance to expand economic opportunities and to protect this critical fishing resource. The Chief Executives expressed their desire to collaborate with the Foundation on the best approach to expand and improve sub-regional surveillance capacity in the sub-region, through existing authorities and with other partners. As an outcome of the Summit, the Presidents agreed to support FSM's interest to host the Secretariat of the project to be based in the FSM.
On January 23, 2009, the Ambassador from Australia came to Palikir to meet with Hon. Secretary Lorin Robert of Foreign Affairs to participate in discussions on the proposed sub-regional coast guard. Australia had been requested by SPF to do a fact finding mission in Micronesia to help move this project forward.
On the basis of these developments, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation dispatched a team of experts in February 2009 to undertake a feasibility and fact-finding mission in Micronesia to identify the best approach to proceed with this regional coast guard project. The delegation visited relevant institutions and individuals in the three Micronesian countries in the course of a week-long-stay. Results from this mission will be used to develop a more focused strategy.
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