FSMIS (October 18, 2013): On October 16, a joint event was held in Pohnpei State, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) bringing together several participants in celebration of the World Food Day (WFD) and the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR).
The gathering kicked off with a formal ceremony lining up notable speakers in both English and Pohnpeian, reflecting the multi-national characteristic of the crowd at the symbolic and historic location – the Spanish Wall in Kolonia. The team of speakers featured Pohnpei State Lt. Governor Marcello Petersen, the Director of the FSM Office of Environment and Emergency Management, Mr. Andrew Yatilman, the Iso Nahniken of Nett, Iso Salvador Iriarte and two brilliant secondary school young girls: Shellany Saimon and Amabella Keiko. A statement by FSM President Manny Mori was presented by Director Yatilman on his behalf.
In his remark, Mr. Yatilman commented on the significance of the annual event.
“This year in the FSM, World Food Day and the International Day for Disaster Reduction have once again come together. The links should be clearly highlighted. Agriculture depends heavily on natural resources. It can cause environmental harm, but it can also provide environmental benefits.”
He also said that the FSM is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and an ample food supply. However, he cautioned against losing sight of the “careful balance” that must be maintained in order to protect natural ecosystems while “facilitating sustainable economic growth”.
Among the various activities for the day was an essay contest for high school students. The top best essays in both Pohnpeian and English were delivered by the student authors themselves. Ms. Shellany Saimon from the Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School wrote in English while Ms. Amabella Keiko from Madolenihmw High School spoke in her native language.
The students researched and shared their perspectives on the topics “sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition”, and “living with disability and disasters”, showing how they relate and their significance in improving lives in Micronesia.
The Iso Nahniken gave the key message for the day in his traditional role, addressing mainly the Pohnpeian participants.
There was also a “food trade fair” portion of the festivity where farmers and food producers displayed an assortment of locally grown crops and the many ways to prepare and preserve them for sustainable use and production.
President Mori’s statement refers to the event in the following.
“With help from our international partners, in 2014 the FSM will develop a Joint National Action Plan or J-NAP for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation… Through this process we hope to be responsive to the needs of vulnerable people and communities as well as streamline and better coordinate our efforts for a resilient FSM… The focus going forward must be to increase resilience at the community level, and I am heartened to see such programs being implemented by our NGOs and inter-governmental partners coordinated through the Joint Risk Management Network that put today’s event together.”
This 2013 celebration topped last year’s event in terms of the turnout as well as the volume and variety of showcased products.
Planners and supporter of the event included: College of Micronesia-FSM, Conservation Society of Pohnpei, Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Land & Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Agency, FSM Resource & Development, German Technical Cooperation, International Organization for Migration, Island Food Community of Pohnpei, Micronesia Red Cross Society, National Oceanic Resource Management Authority, Office of Economic Affairs Agriculture, FSM Office of Environment and Emergency Management, Pohnpei Consumer Organization, Pohnpei Farmers’ Association, Pohnpei State Government, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Australian Embassy and others.