The Micronesia Challenge
The Micronesia Challenge is a commitment by the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands to preserve the natural resources that are crucial to the survival of Pacific traditions, cultures and livelihoods. [view signed declaration] The overall goal of the Challenge is to effectively conserve at least 30% of the near-shore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020.
This ambitious challenge far exceeds current goals set by international conventions and treaties, which call for countries to conserve 10% of terrestrial and marine resources by 2010 and 2012 respectively.
»The Micronesia Challenge
Environmentalists have dubbed the Rio+20 conference as “embarrassing and meaningless” – with the leaders of the United States, Britain and Germany snubbing the summit, reports Al Jazeera’s Inside Story.
In contrast, multinational corporations have been well represented, leading some commentators to wonder whether in the push to attract so-called corporate stakeholders to the environmental cause, the UN summit became less about the future of the planet than about the future of corporate profits.
In the Pacific, several non-government organisations have also condemned the conference as a failure.
The conference was attended by thousands of leaders from around the world but Effrey Dademo from the Papua New Guinea NGO Act Now, says from a Pacific point of view there was little value in the meeting.
She says from a PNG perspective the discussion on mining was disappointing, with the focus squarely on the benefits of mining rather than acknowledging its destructive nature.
She says the multinationals were the winners.
“The mining text was extremely weak and mainly because of support from countries like Australia and Canada who are very much for mining, and supported by our own Pacific island countries who see mining as a key economic activity,” she told Radio New Zealand.
»Rio+20 ‘failure’ – global multinationals hijack conference
The Prunéřov power station is the Czech Republic’s biggest polluter: Its 900-foot-high smokestack pushes a plume of white smoke high above the flat, featureless fields of northern Bohemia.* Prunéřov reliably wins a place on lists of Europe’s dirtiest power plants, emitting 11.1 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. So when CEZ Group, the state-controlled utility, proposed an overhaul to extend the facility’s life for another quarter of a century, protests flared—including one from a place about as far from the sooty industrial region as you can get, a place of tropical temperatures and turquoise seas with not a smokestack in sight. This January, the Federated States of Micronesia, some 8,000 miles away in the Pacific Ocean, lodged a legal challenge to the Prunéřov plant on the grounds that its chronic pollution threatens the island nation’s existence.
A couple of island nations that were once American protectorates, like Micronesia and Palau, have legal compacts with the US that give them more powerful tools: They could potentially sue a company or even a government agency, using domestic statutes such as the Clean Air Act.
»Tuvalu v. ExxonMobil?