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Regional alliance to share conservation information

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, July 7, 2008) – Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Palau have forged a regional network of "learning exchanges" amongst members of their respective conservation organizations to promote conscious management, maintenance, and protection of the quality and quality of water and watersheds in their countries as well as the Micronesian region.

According to Joyce Beouch, coordinator for the Babeldaob Watershed Alliance (BWA), members of the Palau Conservation Society (PCS), Pohnpei State Department of Land and Resources (PSDLNR), Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP), Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization (KCSO), Kosrae Island Resource Management Authority (KIRMA), Yela Environment Landowners Authority (YELA), and BWA - with the support and assistance of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), governments of Palau, Pohnpei, and Kosrae, and the state governments of Melekeok, Ngaremlengui, and Ngiwal – participated in a week long workshop (First Mirconesian Watershed Learning Exchange) to present and discuss critical issues on watershed management and protection.

Beouch said the workshop aimed to meet the following objectives: provide for a forum through which regional watershed issues are identified and discussed; exploration of existing and other innovative management practices to protect watersheds, inclusive of the processes through which BWA evolved; establishment of networks and partnerships with critical agencies, organizations, and individuals to promote effective and shared watershed management practices; and the promulgation of watershed protection efforts.

In addition, Beouch said, the recognition and implementation of traditional protocols – substantiated by the presence and support of Paramount Chief Reklai Raphael B. Ngirmang of Palau and Isonahnken Salvador Iriarte of Pohnpei – were affirmed during the workshop; and have become the "decisive building blocks" of management of the watersheds and other resources.

At the conclusion of the workshop, a resolution was drafted and signed to commend the participation and support of Delegate Noah Idechong, President Tommy Remengesau Jr., the traditional and elected leadership of the allied states – Melekeok, Ngaremlengui, and Ngiwal, - TNC, PCS, CSP, YELA, KIRMA, KCSO, PSDLNR, and BWA’s steering committee; and the formalization of regional watershed partnerships.

The participants of the workshop pledged to work together - share experiences, means, and expertise – to protect and promote implementation of efficient management of watersheds throughout Micronesia.

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