75th Anniversary of the United Nations celebrated in Pohnpei

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


October 26, 2020

IMG 7460Pohnpei- PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On October 26th, 2020, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) formally celebrated the 75th United Nations Day, an annual and legal FSM national holiday held every 24th of October. The event began with a parade across Kolonia Town with a stop in front of the UNDP office for the unveiling of a banner celebrating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

On arrival at the Kolonia Town gymnasium, the formal portion of the program began beginning with remarks by the Honorable Bethwel Henry, Speaker of the 1st FSM Congress, the Honorable Kandhi A. Elieisar, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Honorable Cromwell Bacareza, Chief of the FSM’s United Nations Children’s Program (UNICEF).

Local humanitarian organizations and others, each involved in at least one aspect of the UN’s Strategic Development Goals, the FSM is actively pursuing operated information booths with games, prizes and free giveaways.

Speaker Henry’s welcoming remarks detailed the Nation’s appreciation both for its own unity as the FSM, comprised of the States of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae, and for the Nation’s evolution from a colony and proto-colony under four separate countries’ jurisdictions into a sovereign country recognized throughout the World for its commitments to the global community and solidarity through membership in the United Nations. The Speaker noted his appreciation that Pohnpei State itself is a united entity, whose diversity of ethnic and linguistic groups stand together as one, and that Pohnpeians stand with Yapese, Chuukese, and Kosraeans as Micronesians. “We thank all of you for joining us in this celebration,” Speaker Henry said, emphasizing that the FSM stands with the United Nations in Shaping Our Future Together.

Secretary Elieisar’s UN address described the FSM’s benefits and commitments achieved through the principles of solidarity, inclusivity, and multilateralism, noting that His Excellency David W. Panuelo said in September that “it is crucial, in both times of peace as well as times of calamity, that the international community stand together, and that an infringement on the rights of one is the same as an infringement on the

rights of us all. Whether we choose to call it multilateralism, inclusivity, or simple human decency, we are all much more alike than we are different. All human life matters, and our Nation calls upon the global community to embrace solidarity with one another. Empathy is not weakness; empathy is courage, and empathy is strength.”

The Secretary noted with appreciation that in the 34 years of the Nation’s independence, the FSM became a member of the United Nations in 1991, has established five Embassies and three Consulates General, and formed diplomatic relations with 86 countries. “This was made possible through international recognition of our independent status, achieved principally by our membership in the United Nations,” Secretary Elieisar said.DSC06254

The Secretary described the relationship between how seemingly abstract, large-scale problems have at their heart concrete, personal-level solutions. Speaking on Climate Change, the Secretary said “The beauty of the United Nations, and the beauty of genuine respect and cooperation with one another, is that this same formula of making an abstract, large-scale problem into a concrete, personal-level solution applies to virtually any challenge we can imagine. It is synthesized in the notion that words allow us to express how we feel and come to a consensus on what is true, to be followed by commitment—and that commitment itself is an action, not a word, demonstrated by what we do at the individual, familial, community, State, National, and Global level,” the Secretary continued.

The Secretary’s address then segued into recognition and appreciation on behalf of the FSM and the North Pacific at large for the implementation of the forthcoming United Nations Multi-Country Office. “It has taken over 15 years for us to achieve this result. With challenges of a global scale affecting island nations like ours in the Pacific, a UN presence on the ground will be extremely helpful. This important decision reflects the UN’s commitment to address the concerns of even the most vulnerable and smallest of its members. Micronesia is proud to become the host for this office, and extends its gratitude to both the United Nations at large as well as its brothers and sisters in the North Pacific for their support.”

“As President Panuelo said at his 75th United Nations Address,” Secretary Elieisar concluded, “a better world is not something we ask for: a better world is something we build. We define a better world through consensus, with a foundation of empathy and love for other human beings. We construct a better world by acknowledging that we are who we choose to be, and then choosing to take responsibility for both ourselves and our communities. For the small nations of the world, the United Nations today is more important than ever before.”

Sanaka Samarasinha, UN Resident Coordinator had been scheduled to virtually speak to the gathered crowd but due to technical difficulties, Cromwell Bacareza, Chief of the FSM’s United Nations Children’s Program (UNICEF) stepped in to read Samarasihna’s intended address.

“Dreams can change the world,” he began. “Three quarters of a century ago just such a dream—the United Nations—was borne out of the ashes of the worst catastrophe the world had ever experienced. The countries of the world united to ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’ and agreed on a Charter that has served as the guiding principles for the United Nations and the global community for the past 75 years.

 “…despite many challenges “we the peoples” of the United Nations still zealously cling to the belief that what binds us together as one civilization must be preserved at any cost. The survival of humanity depends on it; ‘a stronger UN; a better world’, we say with conviction.

“…Recognizing that the United Nations has had its moments of disappointment, the Secretary General launched a mammoth reform of the organization just under two years ago to create a more agile, effective, inclusive and accountable organization. This year, he also launched a global conversation ‘on the future we want, the UN we need.’ More than a million have already spoken. Here in the Pacific thousands of voices have been recorded through virtual means as well as numerous talanoa sessions. We will engage in one such dialogue this morning here as well as several that are occurring across the region today and in the coming weeks.

“As COVID-19 wreaks havoc around an ever shrinking world, we know that our challenges are interconnected, our futures interdependent and the success of the solutions we develop will to a great extent hinge on reinvigorated multilateralism and global action. Only by working together can we overcome this pandemic because we are only as strong as our weakest link. As long as there is COVID-19 somewhere, there is always the possibility of COVID-19 everywhere. 

“…In 2015 all the world’s leaders committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change.

“…Here in the Pacific, I would like to reaffirm our commitment to the governments and people we serve that we will continue to spare no effort to work in partnership with all of you in all these areas as we  strive together to fulfill the promise of nations united. 

“In a spirit of celebration remembering our rich 75-year collective past, but also in a spirit of reflection and humility, we invite you to engage in the conversation today and in the weeks to follow…Everyone’s voice is important. Everyone’s dream must be celebrated. Everyone’s fears must be addressed. Everyone’s vulnerability must be recognized. Everyone’s potential contribution must be accounted. Through a mutually respectful dialogue that inherently seeks to understand each other, we will no doubt create a better world for our children than we found ourselves,” he concluded.

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