President Mori Attends the Asia-Pacific Water Forum
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): May 22, 2009 - On May 20, 2009, President Manny Mori, along with 9 other heads of state from Pacific Island nations, attended the Pacific Islands Leaders Roundtable Meeting on Water and Sanitation at the World Bank Tokyo Development Learning Center in Japan. This roundtable meeting was organized by the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) and the Japan Water Forum, and was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the World Bank. The meeting was chaired by the Hon. Mr. Yoshiro Mori, who is President of both the Asia Pacific Water Forum and the Japan Water Forum, and a former Prime Minister of Japan.
The meeting opened with remarks from Mr. Yoshiro Mori who told the crowd that there is a need for strong political leadership on issues of water and sanitation and that this roundtable is a platform for discussing national strategies on how the Pacific Islands are dealing with these issues. Mr. Mori wanted the leaders involved in this Forum to share strong determination to implement concrete actions to handle water issues 1.5 years after the first APWF that was held in Beppu, Oita, Japan in 2007.
The leaders then heard remarks from several guest speakers including Ms. Seiko Hashimoto, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs in Japan, Mr. Kazushige Taniguchi, Special Representative from the World Bank in Japan, and Mr. Kotaro Takemura, the Secretary General of the Japan Water Forum. Following these remarks, each Pacific Island Leader was given the opportunity to update the roundtable on issues of water and sanitation in their respective countries.
President Mori was seated at the head table and was the second leader to speak on water issues facing the FSM. In his brief remarks, he thanked the APWF for holding this roundtable meeting and commended Japan for "the lead role it has assumed in sensitizing the world community to the absolute importance of water as the source of life." President Mori particularly thanked the Hon. Yoshiro Mori for his personal efforts and involvement in addressing water issues and challenges, including the hosting of the inaugural Water Summit in 2007. President Mori was one of only a few Pacific leaders who attended the first Water Summit in 2007, and he talked about how he was able to learn important conservation techniques from elementary students in Beppu who highlighted ways to conserve water.
President Mori spoke about water and sanitation issues as priority areas in the FSM Strategic Development Plan and how, since 2007, the FSM National Government has been working with the four states to help communities to improve their small water systems and develop water certification programs that will certify laboratories and technicians in each state (State EPAs). The President told the roundtable that, "FSM is a country with widely dispersed tiny islands, with meager resources that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and water-related disasters" and that our "development aspirations have also been hampered by a lack of water and sanitation for structures as well as relevant human capability and technical know-how." He told Mori Sensei that FSM has been grateful for the continued assistance of our development partners and specifically acknowledged the generous support that FSM has received from Japan through bilateral and multilateral arrangements for project assistance in water and sanitation areas.
In the end, President Mori reaffirmed the FSM Government's full support of the Ministers for Water Security Initiative in the Asia-Pacific Region, an initiative that was developed during the first Water Summit meeting, and stated that continued assistance from our development partners is "vital in achieving the overall goal of managing the sustainable utilization of water."
All the Pacific Leaders had a chance to highlight their own challenges and efforts to improve their management of water and sanitation. Based on the serious, current situation of small island states in the Pacific, the participants resolved to accelerate their efforts initiated after the 1st APWF in order to achieve the targets of the Millennium Development Goals and the commitments made at the 1st APWS. These commitments were to:
In the closing remarks, H.E. Mr. Anote Tong, President of the Republic of Kiribati, who was the Vice Chair of the first APWF Summit, said that it is apparent that all Pacific Island nations are facing problems in managing water and there seems to be a genuine desire of all the leaders to attend to this issue. "It is through effective partnerships, like with the APWF, that they will be able to accomplish this."
Hon. Yoshiro Mori ended the meeting with a summary of the discussion, including a statement that requests continued support from the Government of Japan to all the Pacific Island Nations. This event was well timed in light of the PALM 5 Summit, which will held on May 22 through the 23rd. The summary of this event will be given to the Prime Minister of Japan and these initiatives will be discussed at the summit meeting.
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