H.E. Emanuel Mori
President of the
Federated States of Micronesia
Before the 68th United Nations General Assembly
New York, 25 September 2013
Check Against Delivery
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am pleased to join the previous speakers in congratulating you on your election to the Presidency of this 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I thank our outgoing President for his excellent leadership. May I also extend my respect and gratitude to the Secretary-General for his untiring commitment to the mission and ideals of the United Nations.
Since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, the international community has supported the principle that the best form of development is one that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Since that time, however, production and consumption patterns have become increasingly unsustainable, driven primarily by a desire to develop economies at any cost.
In light of this challenge, the Federated States of Micronesia has proposed the following approach to global development beyond 2015.
First, any post-2015 development agenda must move beyond addressing basic human needs and focus on sustainable development.
Second, in order to ensure that sustainable development is carried out in a dynamic and inclusive manner, the post-2015 development agenda must honor the environmental, economic, and social pillars that make up sustainable development.
Finally, international cooperation and assistance are crucial to fostering sustainable development globally. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have posed significant challenges. We continue to look to the international community for assistance to overcome those challenges as we develop the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As this body considers a post-2015 development agenda, let us not forget one important point -- development and the environment are inseparable. No country can develop its economy without degrading its natural environment to some significant degree. While society strives for economic progress, the natural environment that sustained our ancestors through thousands of years has come under attack.
Climate change is, without question, the gravest threat to my people's welfare, livelihoods, and general security. It is the survival issue of our time. Our sustainable development is threatened by the harmful effects of excessive greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, effects which poison our root crops, destroy our reef systems, and drive many of our people from their ancestral homes. All of us, developed and developing countries, have a stake in finding ways that minimize manmade damage to Mother Earth.
Only the international community can effectively take up this cause. Toward that end, the comprehensive climate change treaty that is planned to be adopted in 2015 must impose legally binding commitments. These commitments must reflect a level of ambition far higher than under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Pre-2020 mitigation action must also be ambitious enough to close the emissions gap.
I reiterate the hope that the world can address the dangerous growth of HFCs by phasing down those chemicals under the Montreal Protocol. Micronesia was the first to submit an innovative proposal in this regard. We welcome the newly announced agreement between China and the United States to phase down HFCs. We also welcome similar developments around the globe. Achieving a phase down of HFCs under the Protocol will build confidence and momentum for significant action on climate change in the future.
Another notable contribution is the 'Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership' under which every Pacific Island Forum leader pledged to strengthen their countries' efforts to fight climate change.
Oceans and fisheries
As we move towards the post-2015 development agenda, let us not lose sight of the enormous importance of the world's oceans. We call for the establishment of a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on healthy, productive, and resilient Oceans. In turn, we should expect a greater share of the benefits from the world's Oceans.
Let me stress the central role that the effective management of all fisheries must play in sustainable management. Bycatch and, particularly, discarded bycatch threaten effective fisheries management. This is a serious conservation problem because valuable living resources are wasted. Moreover, it threatens our food security and nutrition needs.
Similarly, we agree that it is essential for the goal of sustainable energy for all to be included in the SDGs that are under discussion here in New York. The transition to sustainable energy places a huge fiscal burden on our national accounts. I commend Tonga for spearheading the 'Pacific Regional Data Repository for Sustainable Energy for All'.
The FSM looks to the international community for economic cooperation and support. With limited resources, the FSM has undertaken some bold initiatives.
First, we operate under a Nationwide Integrated Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Policy that mainstreams climate change into our primary governmental and economic decision-making processes. This Policy places special emphasis on strengthening the application of traditional knowledge of ancient conservation practices which are threatened by sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and other effects of excess global greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, our Legislative Branch has recently ratified the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol. We will soon submit the instrument of ratification.
Second, we have taken significant steps in conserving our limited land and fragile marine eco-systems through the Micronesia Challenge. We have undertaken this challenge because our nation is made of many small low-lying atolls. Our people have been wise stewards of our land and sea, working with the environment to provide sustenance for us all. As the preamble to our Constitution says, and, I quote, "The seas bring us together, they do not separate us, our islands sustain us, our island nation enlarges us and makes us stronger. . . . Our ancestors who made their homes on these islands displaced no other people. We, who remain, wish no other home than this." [End of quote].
Third, we recently adopted a National Energy Policy that aims to ensure a sustainable energy supply and an environmentally sound energy policy. Micronesia historically imported all of its energy in the form of fossil fuels. We have begun to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. There are already a number of renewable energy projects up and running in many parts of my country, thanks to the assistance of our generous development partners. My country has undertaken very ambitious targets in this regard.
In order to continue implementing our national development policies, we call on major donor States to honor their Official Development Assistance (ODA) target of seven tenths of a percent of Gross National Income by 2015. We look forward to the discussion in the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing. Technical assistance as a component of ODA is also crucial, particularly in the form of appropriate technology transfers and capacity-building initiatives.
Sustainable development must be supported by all of its pillars-not just economic and environmental concerns, but also social considerations. Our people are our most valuable assets. Therefore, we are tailoring an approach that is inclusive of all our people, with special attention to the circumstances of our women, youth, the elderly, and disabled. Their advancement must be mainstreamed into our discussion on a post 2015 development agenda.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart and kidney diseases continue to be a challenge. We must address them through the Sustainable Development Goals. This is a global crisis demanding a global solution. If not controlled, it can undermine sustainable development and degrade the quality of life of our people.
Disability and Development
We welcome the High-level meeting on Disability and Development that took place two days ago. I was impressed by the achievements of the speakers and their inspirational leadership in this forum. We support the outcome document from the High-level meeting.
The Federated States of Micronesia places a high priority on the harnessing of advanced information and communication technologies (ICT) for our socio-economic development, especially in the areas of distance education, health, and natural disaster early warning. We thank the World Bank and the ADB for the assistance that they have offered to improve our telecommunications and to enable our country to obtain fiber optic. We also welcome cooperation and support from the International Telecommunication Union and our development partners.
Human trafficking continues to be a serious crime affecting all nations and causing untold human misery and economic harm. My country is striving to protect its population from this malice. We support the efforts of the United Nations to stop human trafficking, and we hope to implement the United Nation's "Blue Heart" campaign against human trafficking in all of Micronesia. The on-going tragedy caused by human trafficking demands that it be prioritized and addressed by the entire international community.
The global development agenda will be shaped by the launching of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. Many processes will influence the selection and monitoring of these goals. Among these is the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development, which has now been replaced by the High-Level Political Forum. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of the new Forum to take on the monitoring of the implementation of sustainable development commitments. These are outlined in the Barbados Program of Action, the Mauritius Strategy and the Rio+20 Outcome Document.
The second event that will shape the sustainable development agenda, is the envisioned comprehensive climate change treaty planned to be adopted in 2015. We express our support for ambitious, binding commitments under this treaty.
Third, the preparations for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States to be held in September of 2014 in Apia, Samoa are now underway. Micronesia and other Small Island Developing States recognize the goodwill and the renewed willingness of the international community to help our countries address our priorities and challenges.
Fourth, I also want to commend the Secretary-General for his vision and support of the wide range of issues so critical to the Small Island Developing States. His advocacy of the High-level Summit on Climate Change next year and his focus on themes of climate change will generate the political momentum for a post 2015 development agenda that will guide all stakeholders.
We recognize the central role that reliable data plays in governmental planning and the crucial need for capacity building. This must keep pace with the changing dynamics of basic governance on the international landscape. The remoteness of our islands, limited national capacities, including the United Nations' complex requirements, make our development efforts even more difficult and expensive. We therefore look to the specialized UN agencies for urgent assistance.
Peace and prosperity
In closing, let me express my sympathy and solidarity with people around the world who are facing immediate threats to their survival. I am horrified by the killing of innocents in Syria and elsewhere, especially women and children. We, in our peaceful islands, condemn violence. But what can a small island Nation in the Pacific do? What can any country, large or small, do?
The answer, we believe, can only be found within this Organization. The world in which we live is too inter-dependent for us to stand aside while generations of internal conflicts harden into unending hatred and bloodshed. Mr. President, we are all stakeholders.
We must put an end to the senseless killings around the world. I call upon this Organization to employ its collective will to pursue the ideals of our Charter. I know in my heart that the goal is achievable. The future we want is enduring peace and prosperity for the world.
Thank you, Mr. President.