Friday, September 1, 2006

MIC Retreat strengthens ties between Micronesia and Caribbean Challenges

The MIC retreat has brought Caribbean and Micronesian conservation leaders closer than ever. After Willy Kostka's participation to the Caribbean Workshop on Protected Areas in Miami in June, a conservation leader from the Caribbean has visited Micronesia and joined the MIC members for the retreat in Saipan. Dr. Spencer Thomas is the Economic Policy Advisor to the Ministry of Finance of Grenada and also the Caribbean focal point for the Convention on Biological Diversity, the agreement signed by over 150 governments worldwide to promote sustainable development and protect biodiversity. Dr. Thomas was the keynote speaker at the opening dinner on Sunday 20. As Qamar Schuyler wrote in her article for the Saipan Tribune (see post above), during his speech, Dr. Thomas "spoke about the recent CBD meeting in Couritiba, Brazil (COP8) where the island states signed on to an Island Biodiversity Program of Work. This POW outlines how islands will meet the CBD's Millennium Development Goals, in which signatories agreed to create protected areas networks on both the land and sea by 2012. Thomas spoke of the need for island states to work together to increase their influence. He said that by uniting as islands, we will be able to gain more resources and bring our conservation agendas to the forefront. After all, islands states support one quarter of the world's population, and are responsible for over half of the tropical marine biodiversity."From left to right: Albon Ishdoa (Marshall Islands), Ricky Carl (Pohnpei, FSM), Dr. Spencer Thomas (Grenada), Patterson Shed (Pohnpei, FSM) and Madison Nena (Kosrae, FSM)

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