Leaders across the Micronesia region shared their environmental gains in 2020 as well as their commitment to the new Micronesia Challenge 2030 goals
On Wednesday morning, the presidents of the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Marshall Islands, and the Governors of the CNMI and Guam marked 15 years of their original commitment under the Micronesia Challenge to effectively conserve at least 30 percent of the near-shore marine resources and 20 percent of the terrestrial resources across the Micronesian region by 2020.
At the virtual forum, the leaders spoke about their success stories under the current goal and renewed their commitment for the next decade.
One of the first to report was FSM President David Panuelo, the chair of the Micronesian Forum, who says traditional leaders and stakeholders had been engaged in community-based conservation management from fisheries to forest stewardship programs.
FSM President David Panuelo said: “Our region has put in place over 150 protected areas. More than 3,000 people have been trained in an array of conservation areas and we are working to protect more than 1,300 species of fish and more than 480 species of coral. Now, I tell you that is significant progress, through MPA design and capacity building.”
Meanwhile, Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero says sustainability and climate change are not far away concepts in Micronesia. She shared some of Guam’s programs since making that commitment in 2006.
Leon Guerrero said Guam’s Micronesia Challenge is important because it provided a framework to bring together various conservation initiatives that were happening across the island under one umbrella.
She said it brought together experts in critical issues like invasive species, biosecurity, climate change, and coral bleaching.
As an example, she said the Humatak Community Foundation started as a seed planted from the Micronesia Challenge learning exchange program with Palau.
Another example is the conservation training program with the CNMI which expanded to the implementation of the first marine terrestrial enforcement academy at Guam Community College. The program produced graduates from the Micronesian region.
“As we move forward, Guam will continue to share its technology and capacity with the region. Although Guam has reforested over 1,120 acres of land, UOG Center for Island Sustainability is testing methods for using drones to disperse seed balls to assist with reforestation efforts. In partnership with NASA and the Pacific Islands Climate Science Adaptation Center, Guam will have high-resolution maps of Guam’s coral reefs,” Leon Guerrero said.
Under the new Micronesia Challenge 2030, new goals have been set to effectively manage 50 percent of marine resources, including the exclusive economic zones or EEZs, and 30 percent of terrestrial resources by 2030.