Thursday, October 23, 2014

Officials Attend Airport Ceremony Unveiling new welcome sign which Celebrates State Shark Protection

Governor Ehsa and Micronesia Leaders Call for Swift Passage of National Shark Sanctuary

On October 20, 2014, Pohnpei Governor John Ehsa, Chief of Staff Falcam on behalf of FSM President Emanuel Mori, and other state leaders attended a ceremony at Pohnpei International Airport unveiling a new welcome sign which celebrates the state’s shark protections.  With the passage of Chuuk’s law in May, all four states now fully protect sharks in their waters.  A draft bill is currently being reviewed by the FSM National Government which would create a shark sanctuary in FSM’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

In 2011 at the Micronesia Chief Executive Summit, the Presidents and Governors of Micronesia, committed to create the Micronesia Shark Sanctuary.  The administration and its NGO and private partners have been working with members of the FSM National Congress to have this draft legislation passed to fulfill its regional commitment and to secure the nations ocean resources for future generations.

“We are immensely proud of our shark protections here in Pohnpei State and this new sign will share with visitors and citizens alike that Pohnpei is committed to passing on our natural resources to our next generations,” said Governor Ehsa.  “We look forward to the day when sharks are protected throughout FSM’s EEZ.”

The sign features an iconic Pohnpei image—Sokehs Rock—as well as images of sharks found in our waters.  It reads, “Welcome to Pohnpei where sharks are protected.”

The unveiling comes on the heels of a recent resolution by Pohnpei’s traditional leaders who called on the Congress to pass legislation for the creation of a shark sanctuary in FSM’s national waters.  More than 8,000 Micronesian students have signed a petition in support of an FSM shark sanctuary.  The signers come from all four states of FSM, Palau, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Guam.

“I’m delighted to see Pohnpei taking the lead in this effort,” said Willy Kostka, Executive Director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust.  “Sharks are critical to the health of our oceans, and when FSM passes our national shark sanctuary we will have joined Palau, Guam, CNMI, and Marshall Islands to create the largest shark sanctuary in the world.”

Approximately 100 million sharks are killed each year and the latest science finds that nearly 30% of known shark species fully assessed by scientists are threatened with extinction.  Sharks are currently unprotected in FSM’s EEZ with the exception of oceanic whitetip sharks and silky sharks, which are protected by regional agreements under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

President Mori opens the 3rd FSM National Women's Conference in Pohnpei

On October 21, 2014 the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) President Manny Mori opened the 3rd FSM National Women’s Conference at the Pohnpei Island Central School Gymnasium by officially welcoming traditional, church, government leaders and attendees with good spirits. He provided an introductory behind the theme Maintaining our Culture to Inspire Change by building a strong sense of empowerment among the crowd of participants. The event that would initially ignite a tremendous opportunity to inspire women to maintain culture while embracing a modest change, the President expressed the importance of female roles in society while adding significance to cultural values.

Representatives from Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Yap, as well as special guests from Fiji and Palau are in attendance for the weeklong conference that will cover an array of issues and concerns, including the development and performance in the four respected states.

While it has been acknowledged that the ongoing struggle with the current status of women in developing countries should be altered, President Mori advocated for the female voice to strengthen each other’s capacities to succeed not only in the home, but also in careers outside traditional roles.

“Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.” President Mori echoed late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s words, in hopes of positively influencing women both socially and economically to benefit the nation.  The spirit of the FSM National Women’s Conference is to bring a sisterhood together that shares the same vision to empower, inspire and educate women on awareness and self-building activities.

The challenge President Mori left the audience with is the role of culture promoting “change” that is encouraged in this year’s theme and the diversity of voices needed in leadership roles that would inspire more women to rise to the top echelon. Recognized as the biggest challenge in society, women holding positions of influence is critical in fostering community development and strengthening creative sectors that would benefit the nation.

The 2014 FSM Women’s Conference is in progress.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

President Mori accepts Letter of Credence for Ambassador of the Russian Federation

In an official ceremony held on Monday October 20, 2014, President Emanuel Mori received and accepted the Letter of Credence for His Excellency Nikolay R. Kudashev, accrediting him as the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Federated States of Micronesia, with residence in Manila, Philippines. Following the presentation, the Ambassador paid a courtesy call on President Mori and discussions and exchanges of views were held centering on issues of importance and of common interests to both countries.

Acknowledging a previous meeting in Palau during the margins of the 2014 Forum Leaders meeting, President Mori welcomed the Ambassador to the FSM and thanked him for taking the time to visit to present his credential. The President affirmed to the Ambassador that his accreditation represents an opportunity for both countries to strengthen relations that was formalized in 1999. As a member of the United Nations, the President highlighted the FSM’s long-standing position to accord sentiments of mutual friendship to all members of global community. As inscribed in the Preamble of the FSM Constitution, the President reiterated that the FSM “extend to all nations what we seek from each: peace, friendship, cooperation, and love in our common humanity”. Russia’s permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was mentioned for which the President indicated the important role that Russia continues to plays towards the stability, peace and prosperity of the international community. Towards this end, the President expressed his commendation to the Ambassador for Russia’s responsible decision to join the US-led fights against terrorist group ISIS. The President acknowledged the rapid growth of Russia’s economy, and submits possible sector areas of cooperation in the field of energy (i.e. liquefied natural gas), health and education, culture and tourism development.  As a top priority for the FSM, the importance of climate change was affirmed by the President for which he requested Russia’s support of FSM’s proposed amendments for the Montreal Protocol. Other issues that were discussed by the President and the Ambassador were education and training opportunities, to which the Ambassador offered a fellowship program aimed to sponsor a small delegation to visit Russia for a 2-3 weeks familiarization tour. The Ambassador also submitted for consultation, a proposition for the establishment of a Russian honorary consul of representation in the FSM, which President Mori recognized as critical to the new effort to enhance the relations between the two countries, and proposed a need to also explore the establishment of an FSM honorary consul in the Russia Federation.

Present in the ceremony and courtesy call were Secretary Lorin S. Robert of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Secretary April dawn Skilling of the Department of Justice, President’s Chief of Staff Leo A Falcam Jr., and staffs. The Ambassador was accompanied by his spouse. 

FSM and US Holds 2014 Joints Committee Meeting (JCM)

On October 7, 2014, delegates from the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States of America congregated in Honolulu, Hawaii on the occasion of the 2014 Annual Joint Committee Meeting, hosted by the US and held at the Center for Excellence on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor.

As with previous such engagement, the meeting served as a platform for the two countries to continue joint discussions of issues of importance and of common interest to both countries, specifically as it relates to security and defense matters as described in Title III of the Compact of Free Association Treaty. Issues on maritime security, enlistment of FSM citizens into the US Armed Forces, current works of the FSM Transnational Crime Unit (TCU), implementation of projects under the HA-FSM and the Civic Construction Action Detail (CCAD) programs were highlighted in the meeting. Ongoing efforts to enhance the military presence in Guam were also reported.

Heading the FSM Delegation to the JCM meeting was the Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs Samson E. Pretrick. Secretary Francis Itimai of the Department of Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure, Secretary April Dawn Skilling of the Department of Justice, FSM Ambassador to Washington D.C. Asterio Takesy, Chief of Staff Leo A. Falcam, Jr., and Consul General Robert Ruecho were in attendance, along with supporting delegates.

The US Delegation was headed by Her Excellency Ambassador Doria Rosen accompanied by Rear Admiral Better Bolivar, Commander of the Joint Region Marianas, and supporting delegates.