The usually quiet streets of Kosrae Island (population 6,600) were inundated last week by more than 90 participants of the 4th FSM Environment Conference. The Conference is held every two years to bring together State and National officials from the Federated States of Micronesia, national, regional and international partners in environment and resource management to review work and identify “Targeted Interventions to Maximize Environmental Benefits”, which is the theme for the Conference.
In opening the biannual Conference, both the Honorable Governor Lyndon Jackson of Kosrae State and Mr. Andrew Yatilman, Director of the FSM Office of Environment and Emergency Management (OEEM) confirmed and reiterated that “people and community are the key cornerstone to the success of environmental and resource management”; “that the underlying aim of our work must always be to ensure benefits reach our people, especially our most vulnerable people that rely heavily on the environment that we aspire to protect”.
The focus on people and communities set the scene for the intense two-day Conference which tackled the daunting task of getting differing views and priorities of the four FSM States into a set of targeted environment interventions worthy of adoption by the Conference as one nation. The final set of interventions addressed such areas as climate change and sea level rise, waste management, natural resource management, genetic resources access and benefit sharing, marine and terrestrial protected areas, water quality, amongst others – all critical issues to communities throughout the highly vulnerable islands within the nation.
As the Conference concluded, Director Yatilman challenged participants to view the outcomes of this Conference as a baseline -- a starting point from where progress can be measured in two years at the next Environment Conference; for the nation to realize concrete outputs as a result of targeted actions set at the Conference.
“It was a challenge to discuss the wide range of environment issues facing our States, much less reach consensus on such issues” says Kosrae Island Resource Management Authority Director Robert Jackson, the chairperson of the Conference. A final outcome document was adopted and will guide focused work of environment managers and partners over the next five years.
For inquiry, contact Mrs. Cindy Ehmes at the OEEM, email firstname.lastname@example.org.