39th General Assembly of the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures Express Support for Blue Prosperity Micronesia; President Panuelo Advocates the Importance of Marine Spatial Planning for Economic Growth & Development, Conservation & Protection Efforts

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—From October 10th to 14th, 2022, the 39th General Assembly of the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures (APIL) met in the State of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the FSM, provided keynote remarks at the opening ceremony for the 39th APIL General Assembly wherein he advocated for the importance of reliable and quality science and information for decision-making.

“Good information and good science result in informed decision-making,” President Panuelo said in his remarks. “In the context of our marine environments, we acknowledge that our ocean resources are crucial to maintaining and supporting the livelihood of communities and peoples in the Pacific; we recognize the competing demands and uses of marine resources require thorough and thoughtful planning to ensure that marine resources are properly conserved, yes, but also utilized, and exploited, for our economic development and benefit. Key to marine resource management is marine spatial planning, which is purpose-agnostic—it’s just good science and good information for informed decision-making.”

Following the President’s remarks, the attending members of the APIL engaged in several days of discussions, deliberations, and presentations, ranging from discussion on the U.S. Congress’ Pacific Ocean Conservation Caucus to a briefing on Guam’s Transshipment Task Force/Subcommittee on Federal & Foreign Relations. Arguably of the most interest to the FSM National Government—which is not a member of the APIL—was the luncheon hosted by Micronesia Conservation Trust with Blue Prosperity Micronesia, wherein Yolanda Joab-Mori and Dr. Nicole Yamase, Program Coordinator and Science Advisor respectively for Blue Prosperity Micronesia, described the categorical value of marine spatial planning for the maximization of revenue-generating activities as juxtaposed to the maximization of effective conservation and protection for sustainable use and environmental security.

Following the presentation, the 39th General Assembly of the APIL endorsed a resolution wherein the organization commended the FSM for the Blue Prosperity Micronesia initiative. “Be it resolved by the [APIL], 39th General Assembly, FSM State of Pohnpei, October 12-14, 2022, that this Assembly hereby declares that it is in support and congratulates the Government of the [FSM] for the Blue Prosperity Micronesia initiative and for the congressional endorsement of the companion
marine spatial plan,” the resolution, introduced by the Honorable Andrew May from Chuuk State, the Honorable Mitaro Simina from Pohnpei State, and the Honorable Vincent Figir from Yap State, said.

The APIL General Assembly concluded with a courtesy call between President Panuelo and attending APIL members. During the meeting, President Panuelo described his appreciation for APIL’s support for the resolution showing support for Blue Prosperity Micronesia and noted that he looks forward to more collaboration and partnership between the FSM Government and APIL.

The members of the APIL are American Samoa; the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; the FSM State of Chuuk; the FSM State of Pohnpei; the FSM State of Kosrae; the FSM State of Yap; the Island of Guam; the Republic of Kiribati; the Republic of the Marshall Islands; the Republic of Nauru; the Republic of Palau; and the U.S. State of Hawaii. The FSM Government extends its gratitude to the APIL for its resolution of support for Blue Prosperity Micronesia.