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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR, Palau (Marianas Variety, March 30) – The Chief Executives of the Western Micronesian Summit have proposed the establishment of a Steering Committee to implement the Micronesian Challenge.

During the summit, the leaders also adopted the recommendations of setting up of a preliminary budget of up to US$200,000 per annum to be financed through contributions by each jurisdiction on an equal basis and fundraising from partners.

The leaders also approved the recruitment of a regional coordinator and support staff. It also approved the recommendation to house the regional coordinating office in Palau after the Federated States of Micronesia withdrew their offer to house the coordinator in a show of support of Palau.

These were contained in the summit’s joint communiqué signed by Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Benigno Fitial, Guam Gov. Feliz Camacho, Sebastian Anefal, Yap Governor and Palau President Remengesau.

The leaders also adopted the recommendation to develop a regional fundraising strategy in coordination with national strategies for public and private funds to support the challenge including joint action to maximize access to Global Environmental Fund funds through high-level meeting.

The challenge commits at least 30 percent of the near shore marine and 20 percent of the forest resources across Micronesia under effective conservation by 2020.

The challenge is a Palau initiative.

The leaders also recommended the Micronesian Conservation Trust to house a single endowment in support of the challenge and further consultations will be held to finalize the process and procedures to the satisfaction of each of the jurisdictions and donors.

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