Friends of the Mariana Trench said yesterday that board chair and Precinct 4 Rep. Sheila Babauta (D-Saipan) will be representing the CNMI as a speaker for Capitol Hill Ocean Week in Washington, D.C.
“We are part of the Pacific [and therefore in] any conversations happening around ocean health, ocean sustainability, ocean recovery,” said Babauta, “These are conversations we really need to be a part of because we have such an intimate connection with the ocean.”
CHOW is an annual conference in Washington, D.C. that has been convening members of Congress, administration officials, state and local governments, scientists, scholars, business executives, nonprofit leaders, and the public for an annual dialogue on ocean science, policy, and conservation for the past 20 years.
According to organizers, “CHOW 2021 will focus on building a more racially equitable and just movement for our ocean and Great Lakes. …This year’s conference is an opportunity to examine how systemic racism negatively impacts conservation, science, and policy, and how strengthening justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion will improve the sustainability of our ocean, coasts, Great Lakes, and the communities that depend on them.”
Babauta will represent the CNMI on a panel titled “Strengthening Resource and Climate Change Engagement in the U.S. Territories.” Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan will also offer opening remarks at this year’s virtual session.
“I am very excited about the invitation from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation,” Babauta said about the event. “I am looking forward to engaging in dialogue about how we can better protect our oceans and really share our experience and our relationship with the ocean here in the CNMI.”
The panel will also feature representatives from the other U.S. territories: Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (PR)