PALIKIR, POHNPEI. November 2, 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 the133rd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) 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 from October 17-21, 2015. Speaker Simina led FSM’s Congressional delegation, which included Senator Isaac V. Figir, Senator Alik L. Alik, Senator 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.
Speaker 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 warns, noting how the FSM have played host to over a hundred refugees, asylum seekers, and other unplanned visitors in recent years burdening the small budget of the FSM government.
Speaker Simina made clear the solutions are not easy, and despised 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…is not good policy, and to us in Micronesia that is unacceptable.”
Speaker 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 warns.
Furthering adding that 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.
Aside from the IPU General Debate and other related meetings, Speaker Simina and his delegation also had the opportunity to have a one-on-one meeting with the Secretary General of IPU, Mr. Martin Chungong, to discuss FSM Congress’ concerns and interests as a member of the IPU.
The delegation also had various side bilateral meetings with other participating parliaments, including meetings with Mr. Tran Van Hang, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Vietnam National Assembly; Mr. Hla Myint Oo, Chairman of the International Relations Committee of the Myanmar House of Representatives; as well as Ms. Yolanda Ferrer Gomez, Cuba’s President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly of the People’s Power.
Speaker Simina and his delegation while in the EU also paid courtesy calls on the French Senate and government officials to reinforce the parliamentary relationships between the two countries. Senator Procaccia, Chair of the France-Pacific Islands Friendship Group of the French Senate; and Ms. Dinah Desjardins, Head of the International Parliaments Office at the French Senate, met with the delegation. The delegation also had a meeting with Mr. Oliver Barrat, Head of the Oceania Mission at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the meetings, Speaker Simina expressed hopes of parliamentary cooperation and action on climate change issues. The French Government will be hosting the COP21 in Paris this coming December where the FSM is hoping a meaningful and binding agreement on climate change will be reached.
For more information on Congress’ participation in the 133rd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, please contact the FSM Congress Public Information Office.