Friday, July 19, 2013

Micronesian Presidents endorse Ernguul Communiqué, recommit region-wide cooperation

from left: FSM President Manny Mori, Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr., RMI President Christopher Loeak

FSMIS (July 19, 2013): The Presidents from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Republic of Palau (Palau) concluded their annual Micronesian Presidents Summit held in Koror, Palau on July 12, culminating in the signing of the Ernguul Communiqué and other accompanying documents. Ernguul is the old name for Koror.

FSM President Manny Mori, RMI President Christopher Loeak and Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. discussed a range of issues such as compact-impact, marine surveillance, telecommunications, the Micronesian Challenge, biosecurity, and aviation issues.

The Presidents also exchanged views in preparation for the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum in Majuro in September and the 68th United National General Assembly in New York. The Presidents acknowledged challenges faced and progress made with regards the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) for all member States with completion deadline of 2015. However, they agreed to look beyond 2015 and call on the global community “to build on the current MDGs, moving beyond meeting basic human needs in order to promote dynamic , inclusive and sustainable development”, along with the incorporation of ocean conservation indicators.

Reflecting the region’s vast “oceanscape”, intertwining in-country and region-wide concerns pertaining to the Micronesian Challenge, the Protected Area Network, Marine Surveillance, and Climate Change dominated the Presidents’ interactions. Given their dominance, the Presidents affirmed the need to maintain high alert in these named vital areas.  In this regard, the Presidents saw the need to appeal further to the United Nations to use its various mechanisms to ensure that the three country’s ocean conservation and protection programs are “mainstreamed into the core policies and programs of the UN”.
Endorsing the Ernguul Communique at Palau Pacific Resort
Additionally, this year’s Summit also provided the opportunity for the Presidents to collaboratively address new matters. For instance, two issues in direct relation to the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were raised, namely, the FAA Airport Improvement Project (AIP) discretionary funds eligibility and the recent FAA unilateral decision to transfer the Western Pacific Region from the jurisdiction of the FAA Los Angeles office to its International Affairs Office in Tokyo. On the former, the Presidents sent a joint letter to the US Government seeking support for the extension of AIP eligibility beyond 2015 to maintain overall aviation security and contribute to other industries and transport services that rely on efficient air transportation system. With regards the latter, they directed their transportation officials to further seek clarification from FAA on possible changes in level of assistance to Micronesia as a result of the shift in terms of responsible office from Los Angeles to its Tokyo-based International Affairs Office. 

Another new item presented was a FSM proposal for RMI and Palau to consider a regional airline  with an envisioned required capitalization of around $6 million to create air links between the three countries and open up a market source mainly through the Asia-Pacific region. The Presidents noted the interest and acknowledged that auxiliary infrastructures and services would have to be concurrently addressed to ensure the sustainability of such complex endeavor. Key personnel, mainly from the FSM and the RMI, have been pursuing this interest with expert assistance from Asia-Pacific partners.  

FSM and Palau maintained their long-standing intent to mutually pursue improvement in their telecommunication infrastructures through responsible government agencies, the FSM Telecommunications Corporation, the Palau National Communications Corporation, and the Caroline Cable Corporation (CCC) through fiber optic connectivity for the longer term and other new technologies that might lift current situations in the immediate term. The two countries remained in contact with the World Bank for specific requirements and conditions in exchange with technical and probable financing support on the fiber optic options.

Other than the letter to the US Government on FAA matters, the Presidents also sent joint letters to the US Department of the Interior requesting support for an FAS Survey of Migrants; the Conservation International, expressing appreciation for support to the Micronesian Challenge and requesting completion of matching commitment to the Marshall Islands; the US Department of Defense regarding invasive species management priorities and continued involvement in the Micronesia Regional Invasive Species Council (RISC); and the US Department of Homeland Security and the Commission on Customs and Border Protection regarding the Customs Academy.

Issues concerning the US rating system on human trafficking for all countries were expressed. In the end, the Presidents recommended government support for advocacy and awareness campaigns on human trafficking by NGOs in their countries.

Finally, the FSM and the RMI expressed support toward having the proposed Compact between Palau and the United States, which has been before the US Congress for over five years, be expedited as necessary to bring conclusion to the process.

For further information, call the FSM Public Information Office at 320-2548 or email

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