12th Micronesian Presidents' Summit unveils in Majuro
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): July 11, 2012 - FSM Information: Majuro (July 5, 2012): The 12th Micronesian Presidents' Summit (MPS) took place on July 5, 2012 at the International Convention Center in Majuro bringing together President Manny Mori of the FSM, President Johnson Toribiong of Palau and President Christopher J. Loeak of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI).
At the opening of the Summit, the Presidents spoke in favor of sustaining commitments to collaborate on issues of mutual importance to the Micronesian sub-region.
Out of many topics put together the past few days after prior consultations, the Summit focused on six specific topics facilitated by relevant officials in a meeting that was open to the general public.
The first entertained agenda item emanated from the Micronesian Trade Committee (MTC) meeting concluded in Majuro two days before the Summit, sensitizing the Presidents to a perceived need to formally establish MTC as a legal entity under the MPS. The presenters, Minister Michael Konelios of the RMI and Mr. Gainmore Zanamwe, also briefed the Presidents on the status of on-going Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations between the Pacific region and the European Union.
Dr. Transform Aguaru, Executive Director of the Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) Headquarters in Majuro, addressed the Summit with regards fisheries in the region. Besides the presentation of data on the billion-dollar fisheries operations within the Pacific region, Dr. Aguaru asserted that substantially higher returns from this fishing industry can still be achieved by the fish stock "owners" (such as FSM, Palau and the Marshall Islands) by diversifying marketing strategies beyond the sale of access fees and "fishing days" to interested nations.
As another meeting focus, on-going activities undertaken within the context of "compact-impact" were also discussed. Mr. Asterio Takesy, FSM Ambassador to the United States, alluded to some instances of community-based activities initiated by President Mori and Members of the FSM Congress in order for all parties involved, including the U.S. and its affected jurisdictions, to be more informed on the net impacts of Micronesian immigrants in the U.S. Ambassador Takesy presented on certain initiatives jointly undertaken by the three countries' Ambassadors to the U.S. and commended on the necessity for a regional approach in dealing with U.S. authorities that have compact oversight responsibilities.
Minister Tony deBrum, Minister in Assistance for the Marshall Islands as a Special Assistant to the President, combined topics on the concept of "debt swap" for climate change and the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) exploration project that the RMI is pursuing as an option for an environmentally-friendly and renewable energy source. Minister deBrum, later affirmed by President Loeak, invited Palau and FSM to participate at a conference to be held in October to further study OTEC possibilities.
The final agenda, facilitated by FSM Secretary of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure Mr. Francis Itimai, chairman of the Micronesian Shipping Commission (MSC), provided some synopsis of current situations with MSC as the regulatory agent for the shipping industry in the region.
The Presidents held a retreat aboard the Mata Boat throughout the latter part of the day with limited staff, affording them the opportunity to discuss "frankly" on topics they wished to iron out in a less-structured fashion.
The meeting officially ended later in the evening with the Presidents signing the Mata Declaration, outlining the outcomes of the Summit.
President Mori and his delegation left Majuro for Pohnpei on June 7.
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