Remarks Of President Remengesau AT The 2013 Micronesian Presidents’ Summit

Delivered at the opening of the Micronesian Presidential Summit at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center on July 10, 2013.

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Welcome, President Loeak of the Republic of Marshall Islands, President Emmanuel Mori of the Federated States of Micronesia, and distinguished guests.  It is Palau’s honor and privilege to host this year’s Micronesian Presidents’ Summit. I want to begin by thanking you all for coming and I hope that you enjoy your time here in Palau.

As you all know, our small nations face similar challenges in an increasingly complex and difficult world.  Our nations are isolated, suffer from climate change, and possess limited resources to combat our challenges.  But where one may see a challenge; I see an opportunity. Where one may see an ocean dividing us; we see an ocean that unites us.  And that is our advantage.

The challenges that we must discuss may be broken down into three broad areas: (1) climate change, (2) protection of our environment, and (3) our ability as isolated islands in the Pacific to connect with a quickly evolving world.

First, as you all know, at the last full moon our countries were reminded of the up-hill battle that we face with the challenge of climate change when the so-called “Super Full Moon” resulted in abnormally high-tides that caused serious problems along all of our shorelines.  In Palau, there were several households that were significantly affected by these so-called abnormally high tides and I know that the problem was much worse in some of our low-lying regions.

The major issue with climate change is that it is getting worse – the abnormally high-tide brought by the Super Full Moon may eventually become the “new normal” for our countries as climate change continues to cause the sea level to rise.  As the abnormal becomes the new normal our nations must find ways to work together to combat climate change.

It is a fact that, although our nations contribute little to the problem of climate change because we produce so little pollution, we are the first nations to feel its effects.  Therefore, our biggest challenge is that we must band together and do what we can to persuade those nations that are the greatest contributors to climate change to address the problem.  This should be a key area of our discussions when we discuss the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum and the 68th United Nations General Assembly that is scheduled for September.

Second, all of our nations possess one truly great and unique resource: our environment.  And we must work together to protect it.  As you all know, I am fond of saying that: Our economy is our environment and our environment is our economy.  I firmly believe, and I think that we all share this belief, that the health of our environment is directly related to the health of our economy.

Thankfully, our respective nations have already undertaken efforts to work together to protect our environment and maximize our marine resources.  The Micronesia Challenge is a perfect example of what we can accomplish in environmental protection when we work together and I look forward to working with you to further develop the success of The Micronesia Challenge.

The other positive effort that our nations have undertaken is joining the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, which is essentially a Tuna conglomerate through which our nations work with other Pacific nations to control nearly 65% of all of the Tuna caught in the Pacific.  This agreement has already allowed the signatories to make a significant impact in allowing us to capture more of the economic value of the migratory fish that pass through our waters.

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One Comment to “Remarks Of President Remengesau AT The 2013 Micronesian Presidents’ Summit”

  1. I like the sound of the environment protection / economy / and tuna industry (nothing new). They are all synonymous in terms of progress..

    On our economy, I posted a humble Palau economic theory at palau 2012 forum on fb back in 2012.
    During the ensuing discussions on our economy, I discovered many citizens and politcians were captivated with politics for COFA, it’s improved negotiations, distribution and allocation of its $$. I understood that COFA money is our economic foundation. I know it sounds bad.. and it should. This is one of many reasons I am more interested in a protection, import/export policies, and exploitation of our Major natural resources (Marine resources), and Tuna industry should be one of the first since we are familiar with it more than others. This is achievable even during this current administration.

    Many challenges such as public services: education structure, hospital services, police and firefighters training/enforcement, many other gov’t agencies, etc. are all hurting/lacking due largely to less funds.

    I am not refering to a stable/robust Palau economy as the panacea to our nation’s challenges today, but it should help more than a little.

    On our economy’s discussion I recognized many individuals and some public figures with valuable comments, however there were many with rhetorical comments or questions.

    I am more interested in content that make a difference then fancy writing skills.

    Thanks,

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