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The president of the Federated States of Micronesia, David W. Panuelo met with the chief of mission for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Stuart Simpson last week and amongst other things sought the assistance of IOM in the removal of derelict vessels whose continued presence in the FSM’s waters risk the safety and beauty of the natural environment.
“We have ships that are like a graveyard, staying around Dekehtik and polluting our islands. I will work with the Congress of the FSM and the FSM State Governments but…if you have any people you know, or organizations you know who can help [to partner with us on these environmental initiatives], said President Panuelo.
“I can certainly inquire,” Simpson said in response.
“We do a lot of work with [the Department of Environment, Climate Change, & Emergency Management] on disaster preparedness at a national level, and also a state level,” said Simpson, who gave examples such as IOM’s involvement in Super Typhoon Maysak and Typhoon Wutip relief. “After [Typhoon] Wutip, we checked the houses [built after Typhoon Maysak], and they were all very good.”
Simpson explained how IOM’s staff, including temporary project-specific employees, live and work in their target countries, procure goods and services from those countries, and how IOM itself is the only agency of the United Nations with its level of commitment (as measured by allocated resources, staff, projects, etc.) to operate out of the North Pacific.
“We work on counter-trafficking initiatives,” Simpson said, “and we’ll [be able to] work with the Freely Associated States and the U.S. Department of Justice to make sure [labor standards in the fisheries sector] are complementary.”
“We’ve upgraded the Pohnpei Radio station, put solar panels on it,” Simpson continued, “And we have the [Climate Adaptation, Disaster Risk-Reduction & Education/CADRE] programme with the Department of Education.” Simpson noted that the State of Kosrae has adopted IOM’s climate change curriculum, and has been assisting schools across the nation with emergency evacuation plans in the event of typhoons, tsunamis, and other disasters. Emergency evacuation plans specifically are also one of many requirements for schools under the FSM School Accreditation procedures.
“We’re really comfortable and appreciative that we’re partners working together,” President Panuelo said. “I’d like for you to be thinking about initiatives…ways for our country and [regional allies] to protect our environment.
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