In an effort to further advance the protection of Federated States of Micronesia’s ocean-space by 30%, The Honorable President of FSM David W. Panuelo met with Blue Prosperity Coalition (BPC), National Geographic Society, Waitt Institute, University of California at San Diego, and Micronesia Conservation Trust on January 22nd. The primary outcomes of the meeting were a marine spatial workshop that will happen on April and June. Additionally, there will be updates on the ongoing work between the FSM National Government and the BPC per the Memorandum of Understanding signed in July 2019 and promoted in September 2019 on the margins of the 74th United Nations General Assembly. There are also discussions of a scientific expedition across the FSM schedule tentative at the end of August through September.

Prior to the meeting, President Panuelohinted at a partnership with BPC in his inaugural speech along with the promotion of the MOU between FSM and BPC in September. The intention for MOU is that the FSM will collaborate with BPC and appropriate partners so that they may assess the science, legal, fisheries, finance, and Blue Economy frameworks within the nation. Secondly, to develop a Maritime Spatial Plan and Blue Economy Plan including development and implementation of any necessary legislation. Thirdly, to identify appropriate enforcement, management, monitoring plans, appropriate business development, and finance proposals to fund key related activities.

“I will be meeting [all four of the] FSM’s Governors next month and I will make sure that this is part of the agenda. It’s part of the objective of this administration that we keep close communication and collaboration with the State Governments.”  President Panuelo said. Governors were present during the July2019 discussions.

President Panuelo is looking forward to describing the present state of the FSM-BPC partnership along with the future plans to the governors along with further consultation at the next State and National Leadership Conference in February 2020. These consultations will be crucial in ensuring that all FSM State Governments are on board with the proposed marine spatial planning workshop and scientific expedition which will be spearheaded by the National Geographic’s Pristine Seas and include a video to be released so that the global audience to enjoy.

In the meantime, President Panuelo stated that FSM National Government is in the works of bringing a coordinator to liaise between the BPC and the FSM National Government since such conservation efforts require collaboration between line agencies such as the Department of Environment, Climate Change, and Emergency Management and the Department of Resources and Development. The President said that the coordinator will play a key role in ensuring the success of the partnership and will be funded by the FSM National Government. He added that the revenue that comes from fisheries are the Nation’s largest source of domestic related income therefore conservation efforts are important to maintaining the sustainability of the Nation’s economic development and the sustainability of the environment itself.

Overall, the meeting ended well with President Panuelo that the administration will be formally communicating to the FSM State Governments about the FSM-BPC partnership soon along with other components of the February 2020 meeting agenda.