Celebrating the Micronesia Challenge Virtual Forum Full Recording (Plenary Sessions only)
On the eve of Earth Day, the leaders of Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, and Palau celebrated fifteen years of progress and impact of the Micronesia Challenge and affirmed their commitment to the new Micronesia Challenge 2030 goals.
This vibrant virtual forum of over 250 attendees provided a platform for the Leaders to join with the Micronesian community and regional and global partners to build momentum toward the new Micronesia Challenge 2030 goals to effectively manage at least 50% of marine resources and 30% of terrestrial resources by 2030 across the region and to be a voice for sustainability and climate change. These new goals provide a platform to regionally connect locally-led action to the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
This event was hosted in alignment with the Leaders Summit on Climate hosted by the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States of America. H.E. David Kabua, President of the Republic of Marshall Islands also joined the Summit and connected the Micronesia Challenge to Local2030 Island Network that is supported by the US.
The following is a summary of quotes that share the highlights from this Forum. The Forum used strengths-based and participatory approaches to create connection and energy through participants sharing their own stories of success.
Micronesia Challenge Leaders
“We are a Big Ocean State. The Ocean feeds us, connects us, supports us, protects us, and unites us. Just as the Micronesia Challenge has united us to make significant progress and impact toward our goal...We have some incredible progress led by our people to make an impact. However, the work of the Challenge is not yet finished. We will continue to embed the lessons and build on our successes and bright spots as we move into the next decade of action.”
H.E. David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia
“Over the past 15 years, our partnership and cooperation among each other has been a hallmark of our success. The Marshall Islands looks forward to building on that shared success with increased ambition and unswerving commitment to our 2030 Micronesia Challenge goals. We look forward to how we can explore and mobilize resources to assist the Micronesia Challenge initiatives for the betterment of the Micronesian communities.”
H.E. David Kabua, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands
“The Micronesia Challenge is a great example of a partnership and relationships, like a Pacific family working together, and demonstrating to the world through leadership on how we can make an impact on these fragile and precious resources that we have and treasure in our region...It’s critical that these resources continue for generations to come. I thank the leadership that preceded us for bringing us together and it’s through those partnerships we’ve learned from each other and developed policies and sustainable finance technologies for our protected areas."
His Excellency Surangel S. Whipps Jr., President of the Republic of Palau
“The Micronesia Challenge makes me realize how important our waters, our fish, and everything that it holds. I ask all of our community, whether you are a tourist, you live in CNMI, you live in Guam or anywhere in Micronesia or around the world, let us continue to preserve our waters, our land because that is who we are. It is our culture and our language.”
Hon. Ralph DLG Torres, Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
“The Micronesia Challenge was created to facilitate more effective conservation of marine and forest resources in our part of the world. For us in Guam, our Micronesia Challenge is important because it provided a framework to bring together conservation initiatives that were happening across the island under one umbrella...Since joining the Micronesia Challenge we have seen the benefit of regional cooperation...I ask all of you to reaffirm your commitment to make the Micronesia Challenge a reality now. Guam is very honored to be part of this very prestigious organization.”
Hon. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero, Governor of Guam
Micronesia Challenge Young Champion
“We are small islands up to big things and we already have so much to offer. The Micronesia Challenge 2030 goals are ambitious and it needs all the region’s greatest and freshest minds. To my fellow Micronesian brothers and sisters and leaders, I ask that you join me in reaching the Micronesia Challenge 2030. I look forward to working hand in hand with you for our mother lands.”
Shuri Chibana, Micronesia Challenge Young Champion from Palau
Micronesia Challenge 2030
Micronesia Challenge Supporters
“We commit to raising at least $10 million with the Micronesia Challenge Regional Office and the Micronesia Challenge Steering Committee and other partners on the ground...MCT continues to be committed. Kalahngan."
Willy Kostka, Executive Director of the Micronesian Conservation Trust (MCT)
“SPREP is in a position to provide funding for a coordinator that will help with implementing the Protected Areas Network in FSM...and hope to extend this to the rest of the Micronesian islands.”
Kosi Latu, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)
“I very much value the commitment that the Micronesian countries have made and GEF will continue to support the Micronesia Challenge.”
Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer, Global Environment Facility (GEF)
“We applaud the even more ambitious targets we set for ourselves. The Micronesia Challenge has spearheaded the way in the global shift in fostering effective and regional collaboration.”
Susana Waqainabete-Tuisese, Pacific Regional Director for Conservation International (CI)
“The Micronesia Challenge has been a pioneer and continues to display great leadership, setting ambitious goals and linking to the SDG’s and also the 2030 time frame, and the local 2030 islands network. These are new frontiers for island leadership. So GLISPA stands ready to support the Micronesia Challenge as you approach that new platform. We say to you well done! Congratulations on your past achievements and already we want to congratulate you for 2030 because we are sure you will fulfill the objectives that you’ve just said.”
Spencer Thomas, Grenada’s Ambassador and Special Envoy for Multilateral Agreements and Board of the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA)
“Now, as we join together in this Decade of Action, TNC is again very proud to recognize the bold and inspirational leadership of Micronesia in expanding their commitments for the Micronesia Challenge 2030. We are pleased to renew our own commitment, pledging to invest $5M over 5 years to work with partners in Micronesia to improve the management effectiveness of protected areas; integrate resource management, climate adaptation and sustainable livelihoods; and improve the social, economic and environmental performance of fisheries.”
Jennifer Morris, Chief Executive Officer of The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
“Hawaii’s very own Aloha+ Challenge was inspired by your leadership and the Micronesia Challenge, which inspired comparable commitments across the Caribbean and Europe. Thank you and mahalo nui. I congratulate you on the success of the Micronesia Challenge!"
Celeste Connors, Executive Director of Hawaii Green Growth (HGG)
Micronesia Challenge Bright Spots
“The development of the Micronesia Conservation Trust!” Dr. Margie Falanruw, Director, Yap Institute of Natural Science
"Our group commented on various efforts to encourage
sustainable development—the Yela Conservation Easement
Endowment in Kosrae, FSM and the Protected Areas Network
(PAN) partnership in Palau. We discussed the need to
diversify our economies—and to ensure that environmentally
sustainable models are part of that diversification. We
talked about extending the G3 (Guam Green Growth) model
to the whole region.” Thomas Krise, President, University of Guam
“The Micronesia Challenge has brought the jurisdictions closer
together through the various partnerships.” Kodep Ogumoro-Uludong, Director, CNMI Office of Planning
"The Micronesia Challenge (MC) Young Champion program which
ensures that young Micronesians are fully aware of the MC goals
and the work they do in their respective islands." Benedict Yamamura, Chief of Coastal Fisheries,
Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA)
"The Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge scholarship program
supporting Micronesian graduate students." Rachael Nash, Yap, FSM Ridge to Reef
“All about people! Cross-cultural and cross-island interchanges
leading to relationships and so many good lessons!” Ann Marie Gawel, Guam
"Visiting the region and spending time with partners always
re-energizes me and I look forward to seeing you all again
soon!" Mike Lameier, Hawaii, Pacific Islands Managed and
Protected Area Communities (PIMPAC) Co-coordinator
“When government and civil societies work together for the
goal of conservation/preservation.” Sylvia Kloulubak, Palau
"Some of the bright spots shared in our group include:
Micronesia Challenge (MC) encouraged usage of both
science and traditional knowledge in measuring management
effectiveness. The commitment helped with balancing
conservation efforts and economic/sustainable development.
There's also an increase in capacity improvement due to the
MC. The Freely Associated States were also able to receive
other sources of funding besides the Compact funding."
Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), FSM
"The bright spots from our room took us from the leadership
convincing the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to support
the Challenge, the way the Challenge has supported/catalyzed
other initiatives and shares experience, the local nature of the
Challenge and its meaning to local fishers, and how it takes time
but is founded on Micronesians helping Micronesians and
contributing to global change."
Gerald Miles, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
"That it is inclusive to elders, youth, government,
non-government, national and international leadership."
Surech Bells, Palau, Ebiil Society
"The importance of considering all ecosystems (Marine AND
Terrestrial) and the socioeconomic impacts through the
socioeconomic monitoring. The important recognition of
science to management loops as a means to monitoring
and then establishing policy to protect."
Tamara Alefaio, FSM, Micronesia Conservation Trust
"The Guam Green Growth Initiative (https://www.guamgreengrowth.org)
is Guam’s framework to meet the Sustainable Development Goals
in locally and culturally effective ways, and incorporating the goals
of the Micronesia Challenge into our strategy. Our progress can be
seen here: https://g3dashboard.guam.gov"
Lauren Swaddell, Guam Green Growth
"The Micronesia Challenge (MC) Young Champions are so
inspiring. MC Bill Raynor and the Association for the Promotion
of International –Sophia University Scholarships are building
the next generation of conservation champions in Micronesia." Kate Brown, Executive Director, Global Island
“It’s encouraging to see youth involvement - great approach.” Susana Tuisese, Pacific Regional Director,
“I heard about Micronesia Challenge Young Champions. Also,
learning about conservation and improving local fish stocks
for communities.” Meghan Gombos, Sea Change Consulting
“I loved what I heard about how partners were there when they
were needed—when groups were flagging either on their focus
or their funding, key partners were there to keep pushing and
supporting.” Rocky Sanchez Tirona, RARE, Philippines
Micronesia Challenge Pledges
"Through ongoing partnerships from local, state, national,
sub-regional and regional with the outreach program of the
Micronesia Challenge 2030.” Dave Mathias, FSM Department of Resources and
"Find funds for Micronesia Challenge endowment." Carlotta Leon Guerrero, Chief Advisor on Military
and Regional Affairs, Office of the Governor of Guam
"As a former MC Young Champion for the RMI, I pledge
to support the ongoing resources management and conservation
throughout the RMI and share our lessons learned through the
Reimaanlok (Looking Into The Future) National Action Planning." Benedict Yamamura, Chief of Coastal Fisheries, Marshall
Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA)
“By supporting the measures work and communities through
the FSM Ridge to Reef program.” Rachael Nash, Yap, FSM Ridge to Reef
"The Micronesia Challenge measures leads will reinforce the
Micronesia Challenge communications team."
Micronesia Conservation Trust, FSM
"Thank to you all, now I will share all the information I heard and
learn today to my friends and family. It was really good to be part
of this celebration."
Jerwan Lalimo, RMI, College of Marshall Islands
"USAID Climate Ready will support Micronesia Conservation
Trust (MCT) to access global climate and conservation funds like
Global Climate Fund (GCF) in order to support the Micronesia
Challenge. We will use USAID Climate Ready's resources to
continue to support communities with the development of their
small grants applications since these communities are at the
forefront of the Micronesia Challenge."
Stephen Boland, USAID Climate Ready
"Supporting Micronesia, and all Pacific Island parties, in their
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) negotiations on the
protected area targets as showcased by Micronesia Challenge
Amanda Wheatley, Samoa, Secretariat of he Pacific
Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) "Including the Micronesia Challenge 2030 targets in our
comprehensive sustainable development plan."
Kodep Ogumoro-Uludong, Director, CNMI Office of Planning
"Continue to use and promote social sciences to promote
conservation and work with my Micronesia Challenge colleagues!"
Marybelle Quinata, Guam
"Continue to expand Forestry initiatives and reach, in-reach and
Christine Fejeran, Guam Department of Agriculture
"I will continue to support the Micronesia Challenge Measures groups
in their grassroots implementation of the Micronesia Challenge."
Tamara Alefaio, FSM, Micronesia Conservation Trust
"The Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Area Community
(PIMPAC) will commit to host a regional discussion to help define
management effectiveness and how to track it while supporting
the MC 2030."
Mike Lameier, Hawaii, Pacific Islands Managed and
Protected Area Communities (PIMPAC) Co-coordinator
"I would like to continue to share bright spots through these types
Jessica Robbins, Director, Tasmanian Way
“By continuing to assist our sister island Rota in combating the current
issue with the invasive species Rhinoceros Beetle and others build a
stronger biosecurity to protect the CNMI with invasive species and
invasive plants.” Michelle Togawa, CNMI
“By supporting the conservation and the marine protected areas
of Micronesia.” Berlando Hadley, 2020 Micronesia Challenge Young
“By integrating data into the Digital Atlas of Micronesia
(islandatlas.org) to help conservation efforts.” Maria Kottermair, Guam
The Micronesia Challenge 2030 is a groundbreaking commitment by the leaders of the five jurisdictions of Micronesia - Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to:
To effectively manage 50% of marine resources and 30% of terrestrial resources by 2030 across Micronesia
Increase the number of community members within each jurisdiction who are deriving livelihoods from sustainably managed natural resources
Reduce the risks from climate impacts for communities within flood zones and on low-lying islands
Reduce invasive species and increase restoration of habitats
Incorporate regional and jurisdictional fisheries management approaches, integrated with MPAs
It was signed during the 24th Micronesian Island Forum held in Chuuk in July 2019 and is a platform to regionally connect locally-led action to the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and spearhead action on sustainable livelihoods and climate change in Micronesia.
The 2030 commitment sets new ambitious targets that build on the 2006 Micronesia Challenge commitment to effectively conserve at least 30% of the near-shore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020.
The Leaders of Micronesia call on those who love our invaluable region to help make the Micronesia Challenge 2030 a reality.