IOM in the North Pacific at a Glance
IOM established its first office in the region in Majuro in May 2009. The opening of the sub-regional Head Office in Pohnpei followed a few months later. The FSM has been a member state since December 2011 and the RMI acceded to membership on 26 November, 2013.
PRESS BRIEFING NOTE
For Immediate Release:
Over 650 Elementary School Students Attend Earth Day Celebration
Kolonia, Pohnpei, FSM - April 22, 2013 - This year’s Earth Day event participants saw over 650 elementary school students in attendance for a day of awareness raising and action on environmental issues held at the venue of the Pohnpei Cinema parking lot and theaters. Earth Day has a 19-year history on Pohnpei and has traditionally, as it has this year, entailed environmental education and clean-up projects. This year’s theme was “The Face of Climate Change”.
The day started at 9:30 with a proclamation from Governor Ehsa on the importance of Earth Day for the future of Pohnpei which was delivered by Lieutenant Governor Peterson. Important messages were delivered by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Office of Environment and Emergency Management (OEEM). The speeches culminated in a rousing address by his Royal Highness, the Iso Nahnken of Nett. Students from Pohnlangas and Enipein Elementary schools put on humorous skits related to environmental protection that stoked energetic laughter from the audience.
Organized by the Joint Risk Management Network, made up of climate change and disaster management agencies, Earth Day 2013 principally targeted 8th grade students. Over 650 students from 15 elementary schools across the island, 30 teachers, and over 100 members of the public showed up to watch climate change movies and visit educational activity stalls. The Department of Education generously provided use of buses for transporting the numerous students.
Movies screened by Pohnpei Cinema free of charge included a Mwoakillese warrior dance performed in the water reflecting the current challenges modern youth face due to climate change. A Micronesian Conservation Trust (MCT) documentary, "Micronesia’s Changing Climate," showcased the unique regional challenges and adaptations. The free cinematic exposition ended with a screening of "The Lorax," a story of greed, environmental destruction, and the hope that the new generation can bring.
Students rotated through the educational activity stalls established by government, civil society, and environmental entities; some "painted the face of climate change" with IOM, others learned about solar energy technology and climate change with SPC, and were exposed to environmentally sound agricultural practices by the College of Micronesia and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). There were stations provided by CSP, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and MCT providing education on the Micronesian Challenge, as well as by Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL), FSM Department of Resources and Development (R&D), and OEEM educating the youth about the functions of the national government, and photo opportunities with US President Barak Obama organized by the US Embassy. The Rotary club demonstrated the simple, reliable, and effective technology of solar water stills.
The students' newly acquired knowledge was tested and rewarded through quizzes, raffles, and prizes, Earth Day T-shirts were distributed, and there were impromptu "dance offs" between schools during the lunch break. By 3 o’clock the tired but happy students went home. One student claimed that “this was as fun as sports day with all the other schools…only more educational.”
In the evening, Pohnpei Cinema presented a free a screening of “The Island President,” an inspirational story of climate negotiation leadership by the then President of the Maldives, who fought to minimize the effects of climate change for his country. Earth Day concluded with a traditional Pohnpeian storyteller recounting tales of local culture and traditional resilience with excellent translation provided by the day’s Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Ricky Carl of TNC.
In addition to the hard work of the Joint Risk Management Network members, special recognition must be given to the Australian Embassy through the Direct Assistance Program for their financial contribution to the day. Also of note is the generous contribution of GIZ, IOM, CSP, TNC and Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and in particular private sector partners of LP Gas, ACE Hardware, ACE Office, NAPA and ABCOR. Prizes were also kindly donated by Image Salon, Pohnpei Cinema and ACE Hardware.