- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
His Excellency, The Honorable Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.
18th Micronesian Presidents’ SummiT
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Good Morning everyone.
I would like to first thank President Heine and the People of the Marshall Islands for your unique Island hospitality and generosity in hosting this 18th Micronesian Presidents’ Summit.
I would also like to welcome my Brothers and Sisters from Nauru and Kiribati as new members of this exclusive clan. With your membership, we have completed our Micronesian Circle and we can now look forward to working closely together to protect and preserve one of the largest ocean areas in the world, for our People and for our futures.
Finally, I would like to congratulate Nauru on their 50th anniversary of your independence. How time flies when you are having fun.
My friends, our efforts to improve our Micronesian cooperation and to expand our voice as Large Ocean States is gaining momentum. With the addition of Nauru and Kiribati into our MPS family, with the renaming and revitalization of the Micronesia Islands’ Forum and with the development and improvement of the Micronesia Islands Forum Secretariat we are setting a strong foundation for an expanded and meaningful sub-regional cooperation.
My friends, through better coordination and follow-through, we will be better equipped to focus on our key initiatives, such as the huge area of the Pacific Ocean that we now jointly control. In our united effort to protect our Ocean, I am happy to announce that Palau will host the ‘Our Oceans Conference’ sometime in the Summer or Fall of 2020. This will be the first time that a Pacific Island has hosted this growing gathering of nations to showcase our ambitious vision of sustainable development, management and conservation of the Blue Pacific Region. In this regard, I hope our Micronesian clans’ inputs, challenges and targets will have been reached so we can now focus on partnerships. I would ask for your strong support, your participation and the strong support of our Crop Agencies and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in making this event a success for our region. We have already begun a comprehensive fund-raising effort to ensure that the conference will be a success.
I would also like to update all of you on the efforts that Palau has made to expand its marine surveillance capacity to protect its new National Marine Sanctuary. Through the generous assistance of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and the Nippon Foundation, we now have a second Surveillance Vessel along with a full crew and a Marine Surveillance Administration Building. We are still working to identify additional funding resources to expand our air surveillance capacity to provide the necessary information to our surveillance vessels and crews. I am glad to hear that the FFA is working with member countries by providing additional air surveillance at the regional level. We hope to work with the FFA to coordinate our activities to achieve the greatest impact. I would also like to thank the FSM for its participation in the Ship Rider Program. Only through regional cooperation will we find success in protecting our greatest asset.
To support these ocean conservation efforts, I would once again encourage all members to join us in becoming members to the Port State Measures Agreement, an international treaty that will help stop the transfer of illegally caught fish and marine life at the ports in our region. Through support of this program, we will be able to raise the value of our marine resources.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am very encouraged to see the growing movement to establish a strong sub-regional presence by our Crop Agencies in Micronesia. We have high hopes that with this expanded presence will come an expanded agenda by the SPC and SPREP along with expanded assistance and funding. We would also hope to see a greater emphasis on the issue and mitigation of Invasive Species in our region through the Invasive Species Advisory Group through the Pacific Islands Forum. Outside of Climate Change, there is probably no greater threat to our vulnerable islands than Invasive Species and nowhere is cooperation more essential to successful eradication. At the end of the day, we will find success only by working together and agreeing with one another about our goals and our strategies.
I am happy to announce that Palau now has a submarine fiber optic cable and has entered the world of high speed internet. I understand that this is also coming true in Kosrae and Chuuk. With all of our islands now connected, there is simply no reason not to integrate our systems to allow expanded interchange of digital media between our islands.
Finally, with the expansion of our MPS to now include five Smaller Island States, I believe that we can magnify our voice and our effectiveness, not only through our ownership of the largest ocean area in the Pacific, but through a better coordination through our united voice. While land occupies only 1% of our territory, our oceans occupy 99% of our territory and defines us as Large Ocean States. I look forward to working with all of you to better define and to ultimately achieve our goals over the next decade.