Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

President Nena Addresses the United Nations General Assembly 19th Special Session

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): June 24, 1997 - Speaking as the 12 Head of State in the afternoon of the opening day of the 19th Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Jacob Nena addressed the world community of Nations assembled at the United Nations in New York. From June 23rd to the 27th, the world is once again holding high level diplomacy on the subject of environment and development and sustainability generally. The 19th Special Session of the 51st General Assembly focuses attention on what has occurred since the World Summit at Rio in 1992, to take stock of successes that have occurred or failed to occur with respect to Rio's Agenda 21, according to a release from the FSM Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.

This being President Nena's first occasion at the United Nations as President of the FSM, he extended his congratulations to the Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan, and the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Razali Ismail, on their respective elections and pledged to them the support of the FSM Government.

In his short 7 minute remarks, the President expressed his elation at the work that has been undertaken by the UN Commission on Sustainable Development as it pertains to the Small Island Developing States throughout the world. The President also gave a general outline of sustainable efforts being under taken in the FSM since Rio in 1992.

The President was candid in expressing a sense of disappointment that the world community seems to be wandering off the course charted at Rio five years ago with respect to Agenda 21. Aptly, however, President Nena gave a strong message on behalf of the FSM and all other similarly situated Small Island Developing States for the UN and its agencies to rekindle the spirit of Rio and to move away from the North-South debate that seems to have limited the world's ability to push Agenda 21 forward. The President forcefully urged the world community to further intensify its attention to global cooperation and devotion to the principles of Agenda 21 and their implementation.

The President concluded with the following message to all UN members and Observers and participants of the Special Session: "The principles of sustainability are not strange to our Pacific Islands. We sustained ourselves for centuries on our islands without thinking much about the modern concept of the Environment, but it involved a basic respect for the life which supported us. As we take our place in modern society we must employ modern application, but fact remains that island peoples of today are often better positioned than most to understand the principles of sustainability. All of you, along with us, as occupants of the Planet, must listen to the quiet message that we, as stewards of some of the Earth's most vital resources, bring to this day. Help us, help all of us , including you yourselves, to see that the legacy of Rio is not lost."

The President and his party were hosted to a small dinner in the evening of June 22nd by Ambassador Moses and is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on the United Nations Secretary General, H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan this evening. The FSM Permanent Mission will also host a reception for the President in the evening of June 24th 1997 in which UN Members and Observers Missions in New York are expected to attend, at the UN Plaza Hotel on 44th & First Avenue. The President and his party will depart New York on the 27th (Friday) to various locations in the West before returning to the FSM, the release concluded.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356