September 22, 2023, New York, NY -- From September 17 - 22nd, an FSM delegation, led by H.E. President Wesley W. Simina, attended the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The week at the UN consisted of meetings and engagements, featuring President Simina’s address to the General Assembly on the 21st. Other highlights of the week also included the President and members of the delegation representing the FSM in:
- a bilateral with the United Nations Secretary General at the top of the week where President Simina encouraged the Secretary General to appoint a Special Representative on Climate Change;
- the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Summit, where world leaders gathered to review and advance progress toward the 2030 Agenda. At the Summit President Simina highlighted the FSM’s efforts under the regional commitment of the Micronesia Challenge and called for increased partnership and collaboration to reach the shared SDG targets;
- the Climate Mobility Summit on Addressing the Existential Threat of Sea Level Rise, where President Simina addressed the summit and emphasized that “climate change-related sea-level rise cannot be, and is not, a basis under international law to reduce the maritime zones of Micronesia, and the rights and entitlements that flow from them, once established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea” and adding that “sea-level rise also cannot be, and is not, a basis under international law to challenge the statehood and sovereignty of Micronesia. It is deeply unjust to say otherwise...”;
- signing the historic BBNJ ( Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction) Agreement, made even more so historic for the FSM as the first country to sign it, emphasizing FSM’s global leadership in protecting the ocean and high seas;
- a dinner reception hosted by President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, attended by President Simina and First Lady Simina;
- a meeting between the PIF (Pacific Island Forum) leaders and the UN Secretary General, where the Secretary General commended the forum leaders for the Pacific’s leadership in advocating for urgent action to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis and protect the oceans;
- and a Pacific Leaders luncheon hosted by President Yoon Suk Yeol of Korea where they discussed the future of the Korea-Pacific Islands Partnership.
While attending to the above engagements among others, the delegation also ensured to have a presence in the general assembly during the statements of fellow Micronesian and Pacific island leaders, in show of moral support and solidarity.
During President Simina’s address to the general assembly, he underscored the need for urgent action towards the climate crisis, stating that “As islanders, resilience is in our DNA, but our resilience is not a placeholder for continued inaction.” President Simina also highlighted Oceans and the importance of SDG14, announcing the FSM as the first signatory to the historic BBNJ treaty. On SDG5 in regards to gender equality, President Simina shared the proud heritage of Micronesia being a mainly matrilineal society, and acknowledged that there is improvement to be made with regards to women's representation in government leadership roles, hence his own administration’s commitment to seeing more women in decision-making roles, to strive for a more inclusive and equal Micronesia. President Simina's full address can be viewed here: https://gadebate.un.org/en/78/micronesia-federated-states
Members of the delegation also included Acting Secretary of Dept. of Foreign Affairs Mr. Ricky Cantero, Acting Secretary of Health and Social Affairs Mr. Moses Pretrick, Acting Secretary of Dept. of Resources & Development Mr. Florian Yatilman, Dept. of Justice Consultant Mr. Leonito Bacalando Jr., Dept. of Environment Climate Change & Emergency Management Consultant Mr. Andrew Yatilman, Chief of Staff Mrs. Jane Chigiyal , Dept. of Foreign Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Mr. Iven Yaropiy and Special Assistant to the President Mrs. Yolanda Joab Mori.
The Simina-Palik administration wishes to thank Ambassador Jeem Lippwe and the entire team at the FSM Permanent Mission in New York, and all members of the delegation for their hard work and dedication to sucessfully represent the FSM at the 78th UNGA.