PALIKIR, POHNPEI. May 15, 2024- Chairwoman Merlynn Abello-Alfonso of the Congressional Special Committee on Climate Change and Environmental Issues, was recently in New York for the United Nations 57th Session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) and as a featured speaker on a Pacific Islands panel discussion.

Chairwoman Abello-Alfonso represented the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia at the five-day (April 29 – May 3, 2024) UN Session on the Commission on Population Development conference.  A conference where the UN assessed the implementation status of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) 1994 Cairo Programme of Action. The conference also provided the platform to gauge ongoing actions by the participating nations towards meeting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on a global and regional scale.

On May 1, 2024, Chairwoman Abello-Alfonso delivered her statement on the FSM’s progress in implementation of the ICPD and its efforts toward meeting the 2030 SDGs. Abello-Alfonso highlighted the FSM’s implementation of the Climate Change and Health Action Plan (NCCHAP) to integrate climate change considerations into health sector activities with the aim to address the intersection of climate change and health issues as one effort under the ICPD. She also discussed how the production and use of data to monitor implementation is being used in the FSM to inform national polices and programming, a priority area for FSM’s progress towards meeting the SDGs.

Chairwoman Abello-Alfonso also spoke to the international community on the importance of investment in our youth where approximately 40% of the FSM population is under 15 years old and with nearly 28% of our youth (age 15 to 24 years old) not engaged in education, employment or training. She called for stronger support in developing social protection and preparedness, and recovery programs, particularly in the areas of health, education, and water and food security. Abello-Alfonso also called upon the international community to prioritize the integration of human rights principles within climate adaptation, mitigation and resilience initiatives with a focus on communities most affected by climate change but with limited capacity to adapt to climate impacts. Chairwoman Abello-Alfonso’s full statement to the U.N. can be found here.

On May 3, 2024, Chairwoman Abello-Alfonso was a featured speaker at the Pacific Small Island Developing States panel event entitled, “Fortifying Climate-Resilient Pacific Small Islands Developing States through Youth and Gender Dividends.” Hosted by the UNFPA and Pacific Small Island Developing States, the Chairwoman was joined by the fellow panelists from the Pacific Islands:  the Fiji Assistant Minister of Finance; and the Permanent Representatives to the UN from Vanuatu, Samoa and New Zealand.

Chairwoman Abello-Alfonso focused her presentation on the need to invest in youth and women.  She highlighted concrete efforts by the FSM Department of Health to ensure women and youth are informed of the Department’s policies, programs and activities.  Additionally, the creation of the youth coordinator and gender coordinator Department positions has helped the improvement of gender equality outcomes through gender mainstreaming in national and sectoral plans, and implementing the Gender Machinery Project.

Abello-Alfonso discussed DECEM’s work to recruit, train and work with the FSM Climate Youth Negotiators in each state, and work to update the Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce greenhouse gas emission levels. She also reported on the FSM’s projects to build climate resilient communities, including food security projects such as sustainable farming activities and raising taro patches, community water purification projects such as sewage and drainage projects, water system and treatment plant upgrades, shoreline protection projects and tsunami facility improvements, seawall building projects, and fishing projects.

The FSM Permanent Mission to the U.N., FSM Department of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management, FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs, and the UNFPA Pacific Office provided invaluable support and assistance for the CPD.


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