On Saturday, October 18th, Mr. William Kostka, Executive Director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), visited Tokyo to execute a formal partnership with Japan’s Association for Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC). Attending the signing ceremony where Ambassador Peter Sato, President of APIC, Ambassador Shoji Sato, Executive Director of APIC, Mr. Junya Nakano, Director of Climate Change Division, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. Megumi Araki, Director of APIC, Ms. Ikuko Matsumoto of the Asian Development Bank, and Ms. Kana Nagayama, also of APIC.
The signing ceremony comes on the heels of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Convention of the Parties (CBD-COP12) recently held in Pyeonchang, South Korea, where APIC and MCT, represented by Mr. Kostka, had featured prominently for co-hosting several high-level events with the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), as well as with Governments and international organizations who support islands and sustainable development in islands. In July of 2014, MCT received a $10,000 grant from APIC to print the Micronesia Challenge Business Plan/Sustainable Finance Plan and to help promote the Micronesia Challenge at major regional and international events. This support has allowed MCT to feature the Micronesia Challenge at the Pacific Islands Forum in Palau, UN Small Island Developing States Conference in Samoa and at the UN CBD-COP in South Korea. Also contributing to the development of the booklets and the Micronesia Challenge Initiative (www.micronesiachallenge.org) are the Australian Government, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, United Nations Environment Programme, US Federal Agencies, US Private Foundations, the German Government and several other donors and technical partners. The Micronesia Challenge Initiative is a commitment by the Governments of Palau, FSM, Marshall Islands, Guam and CNMI to put under effective conservation 30% of Micronesia’s nearshore marine resources and 20% of its terrestrial resources by 2020. The parties to the Micronesia Challenge also aim to raise an endowment of $56M, of which $18M has been secured and is currently being managed by the Micronesia Conservation Trust.
This MoU between APIC and MCT establishes a working relationship which describes the two organizations’ desire and willingness to work together to secure financial and technical resources in Japan to support improved resources management and sustainable development efforts, inter alia, in the field of environment conservation, within the jurisdictions of Micronesia. This entails Partners’ communicating, and leveraging overlapping resources with roles and responsibilities of each organization, with the overarching goal to achieve specific environmental conservation and sustainable development outcomes.
“Japan and Micronesia have always had a special relationship, which have produced some tangible outcomes in our region”, said Mr. Kostka. “This newly established partnership between APIC and MCT will ensure that this rich and consequential relationship continues”. Some of APIC’s other contributions to Micronesia include the establishment of a scholarship program which supports the costs of a Xavier High School graduate to Sophia University in Japan.
Peter Y. Sato, president of APIC, emphasized the conclusion of the MoU as a meaningful step forward in enhancing the collaboration between Japan and Micronesia in coping with many issues of the global warming agenda. “Japan as an island country surrounded by the ocean has long been committed to preserve natural resources to sustain her quality of life. To us, Japanese, fisheries in Micronesia contributes a great deal to our fishing industry. In these respects, we fully share the significance of the Micronesia Challenge, which is so universally supported by many people and nations in the world. It is in our great interest indeed to support MCT and Micronesia's leaders in ensuring that these resources are sustainably used and managed for the benefit of the people of Micronesia and Japan.", he remarked. He also referred to the progress also being made in education as the first Xavier student had started her study under the Ushiba Scholarship program at Sophia University this autumn.