Permanent Mission of the Federated States of Micronesia to the United Nations

President Mori addresses 67th UNGA

New York (FSM Permanent Mission to the United Nations): September 28, 2012 - Speaking at the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) President Emanuel "Manny" Mori addressed the Assembly on Thursday, 27 September 2011, urging the United Nations member states to confront the phenomenon of climate change "more urgently, and more creatively." The President called climate change as the "biggest challenge" facing the Federated States of Micronesia, not only the projection of future loss and damage, but the dangerous impacts that "my people are experiencing now as well."

In his address to Assembly, President Mori expressed disappointment that no significant progress has been made on climate change mitigation, adding, "Our very existence depends on it." He went on to say that he had asked himself time and again: "How do I tell my people that their plight and their future lie in the hands of those most responsible for greenhouse gas gases?"

The President stressed the need for an increase in the world's collective efforts to confront global climate change, and called on the major emitters to step up their engagement under the Kyoto Protocol's second commitment period.

President Mori said the Federated States of Micronesia was pleased with the agreement reached at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Brazil last June to begin cooperation on a global phase-down on the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons. He noted the first Micronesian proposal in 2009 for such an amendment to the Montreal Protocol on ozone depletion substance.

As a Pacific small island developing state (SIDS), despite appearing to occupy a "pretty empty" part of the world, the President stressed that Micronesia, to its inhabitants is "as much a homeland as any continental land mass."

"We must defend it just as strongly," President Mori said. He added that that "our livelihood, our economy and our way of living are tied to a blue economy." He emphasized that the conservation and the sustainable use of ocean resources was vital to achieving sustainable development. In addition to the problems threatening the "ocean environment", he cited that of the rising tides and temperatures, ocean acidification, destructive fishing practices and pollutants such as mercury, oil waste from "unsustainable" human activity.

"Urgent actions to reduce by-catch, fish discards and post-harvest losses must be taken," he said.

The issue of climate change and the ocean environment were not the only challenges the President talked about in his address. He talked of the rising cost of global energy which continues to pose to his country a serious challenge to its socio-economic and sustainable development. President Mori pointed out that his country, like other SIDS, continued to rely heavily on imported fossil fuel despite the abundance of renewable energy sources. Their unique and particular vulnerabilities often translated into higher cost of energy infrastructure and fossil fuels. As a result, Micronesia spent a high percentage of its limited budget on fossil-fuel procurement alone, often at the expense of other sectors of the economy.

On the health front, President Mori raised the issue of his country's health-care system being under stress from the constant challenge posed by the growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs has reached epidemic proportions in the Pacific. He acknowledged the contributing effects of nutrition and lifestyle in this epidemic, while pointing out that climate change has magnified this challenge by its threat to food security and the traditional lifestyle of Micronesians.

The President acknowledged also that primary responsibility for health rest with Governments, and sought international assistance in capacity-building, institutional strengthening and policy formulation.

The issue of gender was also addressed by the President. In his statement, the President underlined the importance of Government support for greater participation by women in social, political and economic development. He also added the importance of development partners involvement in raising investment in that field to ensure that the potential of women was nurtured and realized through quality education, health-care services and protection against domestic and gender-based violence.

Aside from the domestic issues, the President of Micronesia also touched on other topics of international nature which included the need to reform the UN Security Council, the crisis in Syria and the attack of diplomatic personnel in Libya.

President Mori is one of many world leaders who are in New York for the annual Leaders Week" at the United Nations to present their views and comments on issues of national and international relevance, President Mori and his delegation left New York on Friday and is embarked on a trip to the West Cost to attend to a series of meetings with citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia in the United States.