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PALIKIR (June 25, 1997 - PIDP/CPIS) ---Resolving critical environmental and other issues associated with achieving sustainable development in the Pacific Islands was the subject of a week-long conference held in Pohnpei last week, attended by over 150 participants.

Federated States of Micronesia President Jacob Nena, before departing for the United Nations in New York to give a major address on environment and development, urged the delegates to take measures to protect their nations' natural resources as rapid economic and other development takes place.

Nena, speaking about the FSM, said he is especially concerned about his nation's outer islands, noting that they have begun to suffer flooding from a rise in sea level. The cause of the problem is believed to be due to a warming of the earth's surface, caused by industrialization. The FSM President said he expects the problem to get worse before it gets better, potentially submerging islands throughout Micronesia and Polynesia.

Nena made similar comments this week during his UN General Assembly address. The special UN session is evaluating environmental progress made since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Last week's Pohnpei sustainable development conference participants considered such matters as protecting mangrove forests, coral reefs, and watershed areas, as well as effect ways to manage waste and establish renewable energy systems.

The five-day meeting was sponsored by the FSM Council on Environmental Management and Sustainable Development and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Conference participants came from American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Hawaii, Tonga, the Marshall Islands, Palau, the Solomon Islands, Western Samoa, the US Mainland, and all four FSM states.

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