Washington D.C. – On May 23rd, 2019, His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), hosted a breakfast meeting with powerhouse D.C-based nonprofit organizations (NGOs) for potential cooperation. He met with Mr. Tracy R. Wolstencroft, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Geographic Society (NGS), and also in attendance were Mr. Dan Myer, Director of Public Policy at NGS; Mr. Seth Horstmeyer, Program Director of Oceans5; and Ms. Kathryn J. Mengerink, J.D., Ph.D., Executive Director of the Waitt Foundation.
President Panuelo started the discussions by laying out how he envisions the FSM becoming a global preserve or sanctuary because of its enormous ocean space, which is over one million square miles in area, and its pristine terrestrial forests. He recognizes that in order for this vision of the FSM becoming an even more eco-friendly nation, with its pristine environment an embodiment of our common heritage, it requires joint efforts between powerhouse organizations, philanthropists, and FSM leadership at all levels to cooperate.
The representatives of these powerhouse NGOs offered some ideas that they believe can work in the FSM, concentrating particularly on ways to safeguard the FSM’s oceanic resources while maximizing economic benefits from these resources. President Panuelo conveyed to these NGO representatives his strong belief in the underlying need to always balance conservation and development.
“It is inevitable that in any undertakings by a country like the FSM that our development aspirations do not undermine the paramount need to conserve our resources for our future generations,” President Panuelo said.
Multiple phases of work still have to be worked on, including the assessments and surveys of the resources, as well as putting in place the legal and regulatory frameworks necessary to implement the programs. President Panuelo indicated that the FSM is committed to conservation measures of its oceanic resources. However, this should not minimize the Nation’s goal of maximizing the economic benefits of these resources for the benefit of the FSM’s citizens.
The National Geographic Society is one of the largest scientific and educational NGOs in the world, and famous for its monthly National Geographic Magazine, which showcases natural, historical, cultural, and environmental issues around the globe.
The Waitt Institute is an NGO partnering with island governments and communities around the world to preserve corals and fisheries habitats. It is funded by the Waitt Foundation.
Oceans5 is an international philanthropists’ funders organization dedicated to protecting the five Oceans in the world.
President Panuelo shared with the group his vision to involve NGOs and civil societies as a pillar of cooperation for his administration. He strongly supports the role of non-state organizations in the never-ending task of improving the wellbeing of the FSM people. The meeting concluded on a positive note where all parties agreed to continue meeting and exploring a way forward on this monumental task.
President Panuelo thanked Mr. Wolstencroft and his team, especially Mr. Albert Yu-Min Lin, Research Scientist/Explorer, who visited Pohnpei recently to film the ancient ruins of Nan Madol, a World Heritage Site. The one-hour program is anticipated to be featured later this year to the National Geographic global audience.
For more information on this event please contact the Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia in Washington D.C., at (202)223-4383 or visit the website at http://www.fsmembassydc.org/