H.E. Emanuel Mori
President of the
Federated States of Micronesia
At the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States
Apia, 1 September 2014
Good morning to you all. First and foremost, I give thanks to our Almighty God for giving us this opportunity to come together in peace as we work to preserve the bounty of our Mother Earth.
Mr. President, let me congratulate you on your election to the presidency of the Third Global Conference on Small Island Developing States. Over the next few days, we look forward to your leadership as we all work together to make this conference on SIDS a success, and I am very pleased to be part of this historic event. As a fellow Pacific Islander and on behalf of the Federated States of Micronesia, I join you in welcoming the many leaders, dignitaries, and guests to your beautiful Samoa.
I want to thank the People and the Government of Samoa for the warm hospitality extended to my delegation since our arrival.
I visited Samoa in the late 80’s, and as a visitor, I can truly say that visible progress has been made in your small, independent island country.
But Samoans and all our people throughout the Pacific want and deserve more than the level of current development in the Region. The SAMOA Pathway highlights the key priorities for SIDS. Rightly so, the theme selected for this Conference is “the Sustainable Development of SIDS through Genuine and Durable Partnerships,” a theme that recognizes and reinforces the importance of dedicated support to SIDS towards achieving sustainable development.
Mr. President, two years ago in Rio we all recognized the role each of us plays in ensuring that we leave a “Future We Want” for our future generations.
With oceans and seas covering 72% of the earth’s surface and comprising 97% of the earth’s water, healthy productive and resilient oceans are a necessity in order to replenish our earth with life-sustaining food and water. And they are essential in order to achieve our economic freedom and social development goals.
The international community recognizes the special case of SIDS and declared 2014 as the International Year of SIDS. I am thankful that the rest of the world is finally recognizing what we have known all along that we are special, and have a unique role to play, central to the viability of life on earth.
Many of us, the SIDS, are not meeting our Millennium Development Goals because of the many impediments that are rooted in both our governmental and cultural systems. However, I am encouraged by the determination of all SIDS, and the attention given by our development partners working with us, to overcome these impediments.
For us in the Pacific Region, I am further encouraged by the direction of the Pacific Plan in focusing on the most urgent priorities of our Region to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Climate change is the biggest threat to mankind, and therefore, the greatest challenge of our time. Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved if climate change is not tackled now. If the current climate path is followed, we will see Mother Nature continue to wreak more havoc on our island nations, further depleting the natural resources we depend on for our livelihood. In Micronesia, the adverse impact of climate change is very real – already affecting some of our low lying islands through the inundation of crops by salt water as a result of sea level rise.
While I am grateful that the Green Climate Fund discussions have begun, I urge that the Green Climate Fund be immediately capitalized and operationalized in order to assist the SIDS in building resilience to the adverse impacts of climate change. Major emitters of Green House Gases must take the lead in capitalizing the Green Climate Fund.
The ocean is the engine that powers the world, providing oxygen, water, food, transportation, and employment. The ocean also helps in climate regulation including the frequency and intensity of storms, energy generation, carbon dioxide absorption, and nutrient cycling. Like all small island countries surrounded by oceans, my people from Micronesia are people of the sea. Our nation includes approximately 3 million square kilometers of ocean. Therefore, Micronesia fully supports Oceans and Seas as a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal.
The environmental challenges that confront us today are beyond one nation’s capability. Business as usual must change if we expect results from the SAMOA Pathway. We call on our partners to help us make this happen through new, additional, and predictable funding. We call on our partners to help us build our human resource capacity. And, we call on our partners to transfer SIDS-appropriate technology to help build our resiliency to climate change.
I commend the UN Secretary-General for his foresight in bringing climate change to the highest political level. Climate leadership is needed now more than ever.
We are not here to complain, rather, we are here to find solutions. Through the Micronesian Challenge, like-minded countries have joined together to take an ecosystem-based approach to conserve marine and terrestrial resources.
I am pleased to report that my government recently adopted a Climate Change Act. This Act will help our implementation of the SAMOA Pathway, the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation, and the Barbados Plan of Action. In addition, Micronesia continues to lead for a phase down of HFC gases under the Montreal Protocol. Phasing down HFCs can help reduce global warming and offers the lowest cost of climate mitigation available to the world today.
Mr. President, on behalf of my delegation and all the delegates, I thank you for your leadership in guiding the SAMOA Pathway forward. Once again, I thank the United Nations for recognizing our special case based upon our vulnerabilities, our challenges, and our uniqueness.
May the Spirit of friendship, cooperation, and the genuine and durable partnership enshrined in the SAMOA Pathway guide us all as we move forward throughout this Conference and beyond.