26th Micronesian Islands Forum 2024 concludes with signing of joint communiqué and letter to Biden

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    Following two days of discussions on emerging issues and proposed action, regional leaders from Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia(FSM), the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the Republic of Nauru, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the FSM states Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap gathered on Wednesday evening to sign the 26th Micronesian Islands Forum communiqué.

    Among other the issues, the communiqué details actions to address regional transportation, noting that “airline travel in Micronesia is among the most expensive in the world.”

    Regional leaders, through Resolution 26-03, committed to efforts to explore the expansion of affordable airline services in the region and demand fair and reasonable pricing.

    They also resolved to begin a dialogue to establish market-comparable pricing that is fair and reasonable. Recommendations included partnering with Australia, Nauru, and Fiji to explore other potential airline services to Micronesia, including expanding current air transportation routes and services.

    In addition to the communiqué, regional leaders signed a letter to President Biden to take action and support efforts to address invasive species issues, namely the coconut rhinoceros beetle, invasive ants, and biocontrol.

    The letter states, “Our finite natural and cultural island resources are threatened by climate change and invasive species. We know from your Invasive Species Advisory Committee…that the long lasting and devastating impacts of invasive species reduce climate change resiliency by altering ecosystem structure and function, while also negatively impacting livelihoods, quality of life, food security, and culture.”

    Leaders urged the President to incorporate invasive species efforts into the U.S Pacific Partnership Strategy, implement the DoD-funded Regional Biosecurity Plan for Micronesia and Hawaii, and fund independent Strategic Environmental Assessments so all islands associated with the U.S military buildup can perform this assessment and make informed recommendations and decisions.

    The signing of the communiqué is the final action of MIF 2024. It reflects the reports and recommendations from regional leaders and the actions moving forward. This year, Guam hosted the regional intergovernmental organisation, which has met annually since its establishment in 1994. MIF 2025 will be hosted by the Marshall Islands.