Address before the 70th United Nations General Assembly
by
His Excellency Peter M. Christian
President
Federated States of Micronesia


New York
October 01, 2015

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me a few minutes.

From this podium, many a great leader stood for support and spoke with great eloquence and conviction on matters of great import to their one nation, and also to other nations in general. And in this hall, we speak with confidence and with hope that what we say here, in this great hall, will be heard and will give relevance to our efforts and make a good difference.

Today, I stand before you as the President of a small Pacific Island Country in the Pacific to reinforce our commitment to seek that difference, to participate in this noble attempt to bring  nations together and to speak on subjects of mutual concern and benefit.

Those who have seen my remarks this morning say that it is generic and expounds on no particular issue of controversy such as those that generate murmur in the house.  They may be right.

But, only if they do not live by the sea, at sea level, surrounded by the great Pacific Ocean listening to the sound of waves relentlessly pounding on the island, getting closer and dangerously closer by every wave.

I will speak first on the much debated issue of Climate Change, its cause and effect on many island states including mine, Micronesia. But I will not go into the details where the Devil is King. I speak as an islander who has walked the shores of many atolls in the Pacific.  Where there was once sandy beaches and coconut trees now there are none.  I am told that this will continue.

And as Islanders, we wonder why this is happening. Parents today show their children how much further out onto the reef their island used to be.  And while we wait in fear for the predicated and inevitable sea-level rise, other effects of Global Warming like stronger ocean currents and more frequent typhoons continue – now – to wash away shorelines and topple trees, not waiting around for the sea to rise and drown the island.

People who love on these islands hear that some of the causes of sea-level rise have been identified; that much debate has gone into validating these causes; that there is now general understanding and agreement on the causes.

They have heard also that there is a way to slow down and eventually save what is left of their islands,  This is good news to them, and with the simplicity of Islanders they think – we think – this will be done sooner, rather than later.  This is their hope!  In your hands! I want to believe that many of us are here today to give chance for this hope!

I am encouraged that our discussions on Climate Change that have been  ongoing will usher in a more serious tone and speed, and that the matter has captured adequate interest by Member Countries, and we are thankful for that.  Those countries give us hope and as we look forward to the meeting in Paris.  We have set our hopes on Paris as the venue for the final stretch of dialogue on how we close the gap of disagreement over allowable emission by our industrial member friends of the United Nations.

We must become more cohesive in our actions to bring useful conclusion to help mitigate the threat of sinking islands and prevent the potential genocide of oceanic peoples and their cultures.

FSM, the Montreal Protocol and Hydrofluoracarbons (HFCs)… what do they have in common?  In 1995, the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) passed a bill that approved the accession of FSM to the Montreal Protocol.

In 2009, the Federates States of Micronesia made the first proposal for amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs, which are powerful Greenhouse Gases, as you all know.

The Federates States of Micronesia took the lead among developing countries to promote the phase down as a complementary climate change action.

Thanks to Island Countries and the solidarity of our African Nation friends and the endorsement of the European Union, now over 100 countries have called for phasing down the production of HFCs.

Now the Parties to the Protocol are finally converging toward an agreement on a mandate to negotiate an HFC phase down.

The Federated States of Micronesia will continue to work with other supporters and with all parties until an amendment to phase down HFCs is adopted.  I ask you to join me in this effort.

And like mana from Heaven, ladies and gentlemen, I note with great joy that President Obama is putting his weight behind this move, and just last week, President Obama and President Xi agreed to “stepping up their work to phase down supper-polluting” HFCs.  With President Obama’s help we now see that China and India, and Brazil have given their indication on support to the HFC amendment. But their indication is not enough, they must do something about their indication. May you be blessed President Obama for your leadership in this particular area.

How true that the journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step.  The benevolence of good leaders raises that hope Islanders have that people still care is important to the Pacific people.  They take great shelter in the thought that they no longer are alone in their crusade in this area.  I am reminded that Pose Francis did not forget to remind us of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would they do unto you.

Our second strategy on climate change is quite simple: we are going to Paris.  And we are going to support the issues that are raised in order to gain ground on climate change mitigation.

There is in Micronesia, the Micronesia Challenge.  Micronesia, the sprinkling of Islands that span an ocean area quite larger than the continental United States, larger than the European Union, made up of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Territory of Guan, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and my own Federated States of Micronesia.  These entities have established what is now the Micronesian Challenge, a bold undertaking by small island states to save our planet by agreeing to set aside 30% of near shore marine areas and 20% of Terrestrial area as our dedicated contribution to efforts by people of this Earth to save this Earth.  We invite those who care and can join us in this effort to contribute to the well being of our planet.

Mr. President,

When in this hall, I cannot help but feel a greater sense of security and greater sense of ability.  In this regard I would like to touch on the subject of Peace and Freedom.  Peace as an aftermath of hostilities; hostilities, not just of armed conflict, but hostilities of silence and tolerance and apathy.

To speak of peace, one always remembers the absence of it. For the people of Micronesia the first four decades of the last century will always be remembered as a period of armed conflict. A conflict in which Micronesians had no interest and had no part.

Those of us from Micronesia and our neighboring Pacific islands who suffered similarly reiterate into our hearts and inscribe unto our governing constitutions our deep subscription to peace; that this peace be universal; that it be embraced by all of us who have decided to form and be a member of this United Nations.

While we may content that universal peace may be a distant goal, it must be sought vigorously and with determined haste. When I speak of the precious issue of peace I am often reminded of a statement by a man whose nation had just returned from war, and expresses his dream for a lasting peace. President Wilson said of the League of Nations: "A general association of nations must be formed under special covenant for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike..., an evident principle [must] run thru the whole program. It is the principle of justice to all people and nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another. Whether they be strong or weak."

Today we celebrate the 70th anniversary of this United Nations. Some nations celebrate the anniversary of an end to war. While those of us who call the Pacific our home rejoice in the silence of guns, we are not happy that elsewhere innocent peoples continue to fear for their lives and loss of precious property, and are forced to confront the ugly face of apathy.

Today many nations have risen from the debris of war to become dominant economic powers in the world. Many have been good and supportive to those who have been plundered. While many post war territories and possessions have since attained negotiated political freedom and independence, they still see the shadow of foreign flags fluttering on their lands and in their affairs. Some still labor to improve their status as nations and some still await the awakening of this United Nations to heed their plea for political autonomy and the honor to fly a flag of independence. To our friends who stood against each other in the conflict of armed wars, we ask you to stand together with us today and let us resolve to remember war as a painful conflict of the past. There are things hard to forget, and the pains of war may be one just thing.

Let us, however, forgive for the sake of a peaceful tomorrow. Together let us promote friendship, partnership, and cooperation as our collective strength for the future. We have enough common enemies today, enemies that have no respect for culture, no respect for boundaries, religion, or social status. Climate change, sea level rise, poverty, hunger and famine, illiteracy incurable diseases, domestic violence, genocide and human trafficking, and economic imbalance, and apathy. These are our challenges of today. We must bind together to address these issues.

I ask that we divert the energy of our anger for things past toward these challenges for a better tomorrow. Let us resolve to work together and better to overcome these issues, which have been laid before us by man's own doing. Let us take strength and wisdom from our past and apply this strength for the good of man. Let us forgive for it is a strength we have as a united nations, let us give it the spirit for which it is the strength required for this United Nations to work well together.

Let us celebrate this unity today.

KALAHNGAN en kupwur koaros, Kauno en ketket rehmwail koaros.