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Regional News

Chuuk hosts 24th Micronesian Islands Forum

(Office of the CNMI Governor) — Every year, the chief executives of Micronesia meet to discuss and establish regional cooperation on a variety of issues that are of mutual concern to the region. Known as the Micronesian Islands Forum or MIF, this annual summit brings together the six governors and three presidents of Micronesia, as well as policy representatives from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Territory of Guam, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and its members states of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap.

Last year, the CNMI hosted the 23rd Micronesian Islands Forum on Saipan from April 25 to 27, 2018 at the Fiesta Resort and Spa.

This past week, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, the 2018-2019 chairman of the Micronesian Islands Forum, joined the other Micronesian chief executives to convene the 24th Micronesian Islands Forum in Chuuk, led by new chairman, Gov. Johnson S. Elimo of Chuuk State. This year’s theme is “Sowing the Seeds of Prosperity for a Sustainable Micronesia.”

In his closing remarks as the outgoing chairman, Governor Torres underscored the significance of the meeting between the island leaders, emphasizing the need to work for the common good of Micronesia and to continue collaborating and strengthening the ties within the region.

“A great deal of information has been shared with us here. And while we all have an idea of where we stand as a region, we must continue to forge ahead for the common good of our islands. We know our immediate challenges and we recognize our obstacles. For most of us, we know the pressure of economic hardship very well. Like the vast Pacific Ocean, our challenges unite us and our collective work provides us the tools we need to sow the seeds of prosperity for a sustainable Micronesia.”

“We have done much, but we can do more. As an advocate for sustainable communities, I would also like to see our islands reduce and eventually eliminate our dependence on imported produce. We all have an abundance of land and marine resources. The key to sustainability is to grow local, eat local, and live local,” Governor Torres said.

The two-day event featured presentations from all nine island jurisdictions and several key federal and regional partners including the Office of Insular Affairs, Joint Region Marianas, and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

In addition, committee reports from the MIF’s nine standing committees were led by policy representatives from the around the region on:

  • • Regional Workforce Development Council
  • • Micronesia Regional Invasive Species Council
  • • Renewable Energy Committee
  • • Pacific Island Regional Recycling Initiative Committee
  • • Regional Transportation Committee
  • • Regional Health Committee
  • • Regional Telecommunications Committee
  • • Micronesia Challenge
  • • Regional Tourism Council

At the conclusion of the forum, Governor Torres made a renewed call to work together for the region’s economic development and a collective effort to combat the effects of climate change.

“Along the lines of economic development, I believe we all share common concerns on our very limited access to passenger and cargo service throughout our region. I’m interested to see some of the action items proposed by the Transportation Committee in their presentation yesterday. With strong and viable air and ocean transport services, our region will have a greater gateway to economic growth and development.

“Unlike other parts of the world, climate change is a major threat to our remote island communities. As first-hand witnesses to the effects of climate change, we have already seen its current impacts and we have a sense of what is to come if we don’t do our part. We must take this threat seriously by adopting policies and safeguards that will curb the increase in carbon emissions. Take it from me, having had two major typhoons in only three years,” he added.

Micronesia’s chief executives pose for a photo during the summit in Chuuk.  Office of the CNMI Governor photoMicronesia’s chief executives pose for a photo during the summit in Chuuk. Office of the CNMI Governor photo

This year’s MIF was attended by the following chief executives and representatives from Micronesia:

  • • Johnson S. Elimo, governor, Chuuk State
  • • Lou Leon Guerrero, governor, U.S. Territory of Guam
  • • Ralph DLG Torres, governor, CNMI
  • • Carson Sigrah, governor, Kosrae State
  • • Henry Falan, governor, Yap State
  • • Marcelo K. Peterson, governor, Pohnpei State
  • • Amenta Matthew, minister of culture and internal affairs, RMI
  • • Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., president, Republic of Palau
  • • David W. Panuelo, president, Federated State of Micronesia