Presidents Come Together as One United Voice at 10th Micronesian Presidents' Summit
Koror, Palau (FSM Information Services): August 2, 2010 - President Mori of the Federated State of Micronesia, President Jurelang Zedkaia of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and President Toribiong of the Republic of Palau, held their 10th Micronesian Presidents' Summit (MPS) in Palau on July 30, 2010, with representatives from Nauru, to discuss vital issues affecting the four nations and the Pacific Region as a whole. Toribiong welcomed the Presidents and expressed his hope that as a result of the MPS, the future will be more secure, peaceful and prosperous for the entire region.
"Our countries cannot take actions in isolation; if we do, we will only be halfway effective," said Mori in his opening remarks. "We need to work together diligently as a group to influence and resolve the urgent challenges which we face. Together we can build economies of scale, we can share information, we can provide for our countries. Multilateral cooperation can allow us to expand potential markets, grow our exports and create new jobs. That is what our people deserve and I hope this summit will help generate a healthy debate to tackle these challenges."
"The size of our individual countries limits how we can be heard," agreed Dr. Kieren Keke, Nauru Foreign Minister, representing President Marcus Stephen of the Republic of Nauru. "Sub-regional groupings raises the profile of our individual voices; there is much to be gained from cooperating on a sub-regional basis," he said.
Toribiong concurred, and said "that even though we represent small island developing states in Micronesia, we represent a region which is geographically larger than the continental U.S., and working together we have a much better chance of success."
Specifically, the Presidents agreed that each of their countries would mobilize resources and take action to support the Pacific Island Health Officers Association's (PIHOA) resolution declaring a regional state of emergency that was adopted by the participants during the 13th Micronesian Chief Executives Summit in late June.
The Presidents reaffirmed both the actions taken and the recommendations made by the Trade Ministers at the 3rd Micronesian Trade Committee (MTC) Meeting held in late June 2010, in Saipan, including the establishment of the MTC permanent Secretariat in Pohnpei, FSM. They also backed the MTC's decision to create a Trade and Investment Office under the MTC Secretariat to assist Freely Associated States (FAS) to promote and market their products and services. In conjunction with this, the Presidents directed the MTC to further discuss Compact Trade issues with the US.
Regarding fisheries, the Presidents acknowledged the establishment of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) headquarters in Majuro, RMI, and noted numerous PNA initiatives, which they are eager to see implemented in the coming year. Closing off additional high seas areas in the region, mandatory employment requirements by PNA nationals on fishing vessels operating in PNA waters, PNA observer programs, refueling and unloading catches in PNA ports and joint marketing, are just some of the key planned initiatives. The Presidents also called on the PNA to set up measures which would better protect the whale shark population from becoming incidental purse seiner catch.
The Presidents discussed the medical crisis faced by FAS citizens residing in the US. They agreed to direct their respective Missions in Washington, D.C., to work together to address the issue and aim to ensure reinstatement of Medicaid eligibility for these citizens.
Climate Change adaption and mitigation was another major topic on the agenda. On the domestic front, the topic was tackled via the Green Energy Micronesia (GEM) initiative, originally introduced by RMI at the 11th Micronesian Chief Executives Summit and at the 9th Micronesia Presidents' Summit, both in July 2009. GEM was fully endorsed by the MPS Presidents, with a launch scheduled to take place on the margins of the 41st Pacific Forum Leaders' Meeting in Vanuatu this month. GEM proposes that in the next 10 years, the Pacific Island Countries achieve: 20% improvement in energy efficiency by suppliers, meaning improved efficiency in areas such as transportation and electric power generation; 30% improvement in efficiency of energy use by end-users; and 20% electricity generation through renewable energy, most likely solar.
Jurelang Zedkaia stated that "with regard to the GEM Initiative, I am pleased to advise that arrangements are being finalized in Port Vila, including the invitations to all Forum members' delegations and the relevant development partners in the area of sustainable energy and related sectors."
Mori reiterated the crucial need for the Presidents to "sing the same song," and called upon them to refer to the MPS commitments in their speeches at the Pacific Forum Leaders' meeting in Vanuatu. "We need to come together as one united voice when we negotiate agreements with Pacific Rim partners for trade and development, and when we attend International conferences," counseled Mori.
In parting Mori took the opportunity to express his "sincere gratefulness to the people of Palau for being the caring hosts to the young students from FSM studying at the Palau Community College." The signing ceremony of the 10th MPS Communique took place on July 31, 2010, at 6:30PM, at the Sea Passion Hotel in Koror, Palau.
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