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APIA, Samoa (November 30, 2001 – SPREP/FSM Information Services)---The Federated States of Micronesia became the sixth of 14 Pacific island countries to officially sign a Memorandum of Understanding to start implementation of the International Waters Program (IWP).

The signing provides approximately US$ 400,000 for one of the FSM states to start coastal management and conservation work.

Secretary Ieske K. Iehsi of the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs signed the MOU on November 13, 2001 in Palikir with the formalities completed by the Director of SPREP, Tamari’i Tutangata, in Apia.

The five-year program, financed by the Global Environment Facility, is implemented in the Pacific by the United Nations Development Program and executed through the Apia-based South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). It includes managing and conserving coastal and oceanic resources and habitats.

The FSM MOU relates to the coastal component, which establishes arrangements for the implementation of a community-based demonstration project that will address an issue that FSM, through an extensive consultative process, identifies as being an issue of priority environmental concern.

The main partner for the IWP is the Department of Economic Affairs, which has taken the lead on the arrangements for the design and implementation of this project.

According to the Department’s spokesperson, Okean Ehmes, a demonstration site is yet to be identified but, "given the amount of funding available, approximately US$ 400,000, is likely to be confined to one of FSM's four States."

The demonstration project can work specifically in the areas of management and conservation of freshwater resources, the management of waste and the sustainable use of coastal resources.

FSM has also been participating in the oceanic component of the Program for more than 12 months. This component, executed through the Secretariat of the Pacific Community based in Nouméa and the Forum Fisheries Agency based in Solomon Islands, is focused on providing support to Pacific Island countries in the extensive negotiation process to establish new arrangements for the management and conservation of tuna in the western central Pacific.

The Micronesian Fisheries Authority has been engaged in this process.

The countries participating in the IWP are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

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