United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Permanent Mission of the Federated States of Micronesia to the UN
820 2nd Avenue, Suite 17A Telephone: (212) 697-8370
New York, N.Y. 10017 Facsimile: (212) 697-8295
e-mail: fsmun@fsmgov.org http://www.fsmgov.org/
17th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting ? Agriculture
Statement by the Delegation of the
Federated States of Micronesia
New York, 24 February 2009 Check against delivery
On behalf of the delegation of the Federated States of Micronesia, I would first like to congratulate
you and your bureau on the assumption of your posts. My delegation pledges its full cooperation to
make the current session a successful one.
I would also like to align myself with the statements delivered by Jamaica on behalf of AOSIS and
Papua New Guinea on behalf of the Pacific SIDS.
First and foremost, we need to protect the physical and environmental integrity and health of our
islands and of the ocean, so that they will continue to support sustainable human island habitation.
For us, this is the essence of sustainable development. This is our past; this is our present; this is our
But, as the health of the air we breathe and the ocean we depend on for livelihood continue to be
degraded by the effects of human-induced pollutions of Mother Earth, our past, our present, and our
future have never been so threatened. Life on our islands is going to be more of a struggle against,
rather than harmony with Mother Nature.
Agriculture is an important factor for Small Island Developing States such as mine. Subsistence
farming and the reliance on collective sharing of agricultural resources and lands are ways in which
we sustain our food sources. The importance of agriculture and fisheries can not be overstated.
However, in an interdependent world, we also rely on imported food stuffs. The price of these
imports has sharply risen in the last few years.
The global food crisis has left its mark on my country. To make matters worse, climate change is
drowning our islands due to sea-level rise which has caused salt-water intrusion, jeopardizing our
agricultural lands and has brought new challenges to growing some of our most traditional crops,
such as taro. If this was not enough, last December many of our islands were hard hit by surging
waves that destroyed up to 80% of our agricultural and traditional food crops, contaminating our
ground water and soil on many of the small, low-lying atolls. This prompted our President to issue a
Disaster Declaration. We appeal for assistance from the donor community to help the recovery
The fish stocks on which our traditional livelihoods depend and which provide nutrition to our
people are decreasing due to increases in ocean temperatures caused by climate change, the
degradation and loss of coral reefs and because of unsustainable fishing methods.
How can we overcome those challenges? The solutions for SIDS such as mine are easy to find:
? We need to protect the welfare of our people, and promote the health of our soil, the integrity of
our ground water, and the health of our coastal and pelagic ecosystems;
? We need to encourage the use of locally grown products, including those which are resilient to
the adverse impacts of climate change, to reduce reliance on expensive imports;
? We need to stop unsustainable fishing practices, including the commercial catching of
untargeted fish, or the so-called bycatch and discards ;
? Finally, we need to guard and restore our forests, mangroves, coral reefs, and protect our pelagic
fish resources; and, we need to plant more crops that are more resilient to the effects of climate
change and extreme events.
These policy options are important but can not be implemented by my country alone. We certainly
need the help of our development partners to achieve observable benefits in local communities
through ?people-centered and driven? approaches that move beyond policy to activities and actual
implementation on the ground. And we need global environmental and climate management regimes
that do protect and promote the sustainable development of SIDS.
Thank you.