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President Panuelo Officially Opens 16th Forum Fisheries Committee Ministerial Meeting, Advocates for Regional Cooperation in Sustaining the Pacific’s Natural Resources
PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On June 18th, 2019 His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), formally opened the 16th Ministerial Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC) Meeting through his keynote address. President Panuelo’s address emphasized the FSM National Government’s hope that regional partners genuinely collaborate, empathize with one another, and promote a united front in protecting the Pacific’s collective natural environments, particularly in the realm of fisheries.
“For those of you who are arriving to the FSM for the first time: welcome to our paradise,” said President Panuelo. “I encourage you to visit our World Heritage Site, the ancient city of Nan Madol…. I believe it reminds us of our shared responsibility to leave an enduring legacy; an enduring legacy in cultural continuity, to an enduring legacy in our shared tuna resources.”
“I really and truly am proud of the work you do,” continued President Panuelo, citing his awareness of the importance of regional cooperation and the fisheries sector in particular through his past experience as the FSM’s Ambassador to Fiji and his work in the Committee on Resources & Development within the Congress of the FSM. “Regional solidarity has served us well…we want to avoid the tragedy of the commons, and I take the approach that the FFA have been very good in…[regional collaboration to] conserve and manage our resources in a collective manner for the good of our citizens.”
President Panuelo emphasized the importance of genuine sustainability in the FSM’s, and the broader Pacific region’s, fisheries, noting that fish are important in everything from participation in the global cash economy (fisheries are the FSM’s biggest source of local revenue) to cultural traditions throughout the region.
President Panuelo was by no means alone in his request that the 16th FFC Ministerial meeting result in collaboration and cooperation for the betterment of Pacific Island countries and their citizens.
“I conclude [my welcoming remarks] with a plea that the deliberations in your meeting will be undertaken with foremost consideration of our people’s welfare,” said the Honorable Marcelo K. Peterson, Governor of Pohnpei State.
“Let me close [my introductory remarks] with praise for the ethos of collaboration…and the spirit of Kaselehlie,” said the Honorable Dr. Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen, Director-General of FFA.
“The FFA model is…regional solidarity,” said the Honorable Tutai Tura, FFC Chair, in his remarks.
The 16th FFC Ministerial Meeting will discuss a range of issues aimed at protecting and securing the long-term interests of Pacific Island countries.