H.E. Jane J. Chigiyal
Permanent Representative of the
Federated States of Micronesia to the UN
on the Occasion of FSM's Admission to the
International Organization for Migration
Geneva, 7 December 2011
Check Against Delivery
It gives me great pleasure to be here on the occasion of my country's admission to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). On behalf of the people and the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), I want to thank the Council and each Member State for their vote of confidence in accepting my country's application for membership.
Let me also take the opportunity to congratulate this Organization on its 60th anniversary.
The decision of my Government to pursue membership in this organization is timely. It comes when the number of people crossing borders for one reason or another is unprecedented, and my country is no stranger to this phenomenon. The history of my country began in the old days when men voyaged guided by the stars and navigated the vast Pacific Ocean. To us, migration and the movement of people is not really a new phenomenon. It's an essential part of our lives as fellow islanders living on small islands. However, our movement then was of a different purpose. In view of the many challenges we now face as a Nation, with the increasing migration of our own citizens abroad, as well as our own limitations in dealing with incoming migrants, including stranded migrants, who often drift to our shores, clearly this is an area for partnership. As an island nation, I suppose it's appropriately fitting to say that indeed no man is an island entirely of itself.
The world faces a new set of challenges that require our collective efforts. For Small Island Developing States such as the Federated States of Micronesia, the adverse impacts of climate change continue to be the number one threat we face. Disaster displacement related to climate change in my country and the prospect for the future is particularly alarming for our low-lying islands. Unless there is urgent action on mitigation, the impacts of climate change will lead not only to forced displacement both internally and across international borders, but it may lead to the loss of entire islands and nations. In addressing the adverse impacts of climate change on low-lying island states, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has stated that "Low-lying island states are thus very likely to be entirely uninhabitable long before their full submersion, causing entire populations and the governments to be externally displaced." We welcome the opportunity to be a member of this Organization, and to contribute to the discussions to address the complex challenges arising from the threats of climate change.
My country also recognizes the critical role of this Organization in post-disaster situations. In fact, the presence of IOM in my country under its arrangements with the United States Government is critical and will play a key role in disaster response and reconstruction. Disaster response and reconstruction activities can be overwhelming for a country. I want to take this moment to congratulate the staff of the IOM Office in my country of Micronesia for their contributions to our development efforts as well as support to our application for membership.
Once isolated in the vast Pacific Ocean, today my country finds itself at the forefront of a new set of challenges. For a country made up of large ocean areas but with limited resources, trafficking in persons can pose a threat. It can have devastating consequences on the livelihoods of our people. My country's accession to the Palermo Protocol earlier this year is an indication of our efforts to join the global effort to combat trafficking in persons in all its forms. But as is often the case, we lack the resources and the capacity to confront these challenges alone. We are looking forward to the support and cooperation of this Body, as well as its member states, in combating the problem of trafficking in persons.
Certainly, this occasion gives rise to a new dimension of cooperation for my country. It's a significant one because it creates an avenue for my country to contribute to the global efforts in addressing the issue of migration. As much as we appreciate the assistance available to vulnerable countries such as mine, we are also very grateful for the opportunity to make our humble contributions to the global efforts in addressing the various challenges facing mankind today.
With my country's admission, I pledge my Government's support and cooperation in advancing the work of this organization.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.