Gov. Ralph DLG Torres dubbed the 23rd Micronesia Island Forum as “very successful” during the final day of the forum last Friday at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.
The forum concluded with all leaders signing off on five resolutions regarding transportation, health care, labor, and climate change, including a resolution on tackling invasive species who threaten the region as whole.
Torres attributes the forum’s success on those five resolutions.
“…It’s putting out a message that we are unified; we may not have the same landmass as the United States or other countries, but if you look at our water rights and our waters together, then we have a greater percentage that we should take care of and [address] these issues as a whole, collectively,” said Torres.
The three-day forum went on starting from April 25 until April 27, 2018, as they discussed key issues such as the healthcare situation in Micronesia, the threats of climate change, the worries on invasive species, the problems on labor scarcity, and more.
“…We are here to acknowledge that [there are issues] and we are here to take care [of it],” he said, referring to a resolution on invasive species on Guam that have already affected Rota as well.
“…Our main goal here is to build that relationship—that it is okay to address our concerns, that it is okay to sit down, and that we should sit down and address our concerns. As our economy grows, we should be able to go out and expand, and assist our neighboring islands—our brothers and sisters—so that they too can grow, as we grow ourselves,” he added.
According to Guam Gov. Eddie B. Calvo, the forum had “different kinds of influences,” which included presidents and island nation leaders who have represented in world bodies such as the United Nations.
“We worked together to try and see what we can do to resolve some issues and then also looking forward to other opportunities,” he said in an interview after the forum.
Calvo said in a previous interview that the 23rd forum is possibly his last as his second term as Guam governor ends this year. Despite that, he said he is looking forward to attending the future MIFs as a citizen of Guam.
As the 23rd MIF ended, the members voted Yap to be their host for the 24th MIF.
The MIF was attended by Palau President Tommy M. Remengesau, Federated States of Micronesia President Peter M. Christian, Republic of Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Chuuk Gov. Johnson Elimo, Pohnpei Gov. Marcelo K. Peterson, Kosrae Lt. Gov. Carson K. Sigrah, Yap Lt. Gov. James Yangetmai, Guam Gov. Eddie B. Calvo, and CNMI Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.