FSM Speaker Calls On World Parliamentarians For Climate Action

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Simina address Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva

GENEVA, Switzerland (FSM Congress News Nov. 9, 2015) – Speaker Wesley W. Simina of the 19th FSM Congress warns global parliamentarians of the looming problem of migration as a result of climate change, and calls for parliamentarian action during his speech at the 133rd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union, which is the international organization of parliaments of the world and of which the Federated States of Micronesia is a member, held its 133rd Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland on October 17-21, 2015. Speaker Simina led FSM’s Congressional delegation, which included Sen. Isaac V. Figir, Sen. Alik L. Alik, Sen. Esmond B. Moses, legislative counsel Lam Dang, and information officer Andy Choor.

Speaker Simina was invited to chair the first sitting of the 133rd IPU General Debate where parliamentarians of the World debated on the theme of "The moral and economic imperative for fairer, smarter and more humane migration."

As chairman, he notably facilitated a smooth and democratic debate between the speaker of the Council of the Russian Federation and members of the Ukraine Parliament on this issue of migration.

Simina also took part in the general debate where he reminded the world parliamentarians in his speech that the issue of migration is a "global phenomenon" and not only a problem in Europe and other developed countries.

"We small-islands countries in the Pacific are not immune to this problem," he said, noting how the FSM has played host to over a hundred refugees, asylum seekers, and other unplanned visitors in recent years burdening the small budget of the FSM government.

Simina made clear the solutions are not easy, and reected the "temptation to push the problems onto third countries; the temptation to have uninvolved countries shelter some of these people in return for financial assistance…[saying it was] not good policy, and to us in Micronesia is unacceptable."

Simina also warns that the more threatening problem of migration for small island countries will result from climate change, and the resulting sea-level rise soon to render many islands uninhabitable. "This may precipitate mass migration in the Pacific and other island countries elsewhere," he said.

He said the looming issue of "climate change refugees" can be prevented before it arises, pleading to the world parliamentarians that "all it takes are concerted efforts by the leaders of the world — people like you in this room — to deal with the issue of climate change."

Speaker Simina in an addendum to his speech also welcomed the Parliament of Fiji as the newest member of the IPU.

The speaker also pledged to introduce legislation that would appropriate up to $100,000 to the Inter-Parliamentary Union as a gesture of solidarity and action to fight issues of migration and climate change, further challenging other parliamentarians to do the same.

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