Micronesia's Second National Communication - In Progress
The creation of a National Communication offers countries the opportunity to contribute with technically sound studies and information that can be used for designing mitigation and adaptation measures, and project proposals that can and will help increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change. Activities generally include: V&A assessments, Greenhouse Gas Inventory preparation, Mitigation Analysis or Education, and awareness raising activities. The ultimate goal is the integration of climate change considerations into relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions.
The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) includes the most geographically and culturally diverse part of the greater Micronesian region, and has a total population of about 106,000. The nation is comprised of four states – Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae – all of which are located approximately 2,900 kilometers north of eastern Australia. The mainstays of the Micronesian economy are subsistence farming and fishing; the country also possesses high-grade deposits of phosphate (CIA, 2011). There is little tourism in the area due to lack of access and facilities. Each state has considerable autonomy within the federation and has devised its own strategy for development. However, FSM's geographical isolation and poorly developed infrastructure in general are major impediments to its long-term growth. As a small islands developing nation, the FSM is one of the countries most directly threatened by long-term global warming resulting from an increased level of greenhouse gases accumulating in the earth’s atmosphere. Regarding the effects of global warming, the FSM is particularly vulnerable to accelerated sea-level rise. And, because of the country’s geographic location, future global warming holds the possibility of creating more frequent, intense, or longer-lasting El Nino droughts.
- Agriculture/Food Security
- Coastal Zones and Marine Ecosystems
- Water Resources
- Public Health
- Reforestation of mangroves, upland forests and other forests in need of restoration.
- Development of a community based coral-reef protection program.
- Public awareness programs related to fire danger (related to drought events) and climate change, supported through the training of government employees and development of sustainable development educational materials.
Research programs that will document Micronesian traditional environmental knowledge, complete vulnerability and needs assessment, and design of an evaluation tool for new programs.
Technology development and transfer, including: implementation of Micronesian traditional environmental management knowledge programs; and networking with various NGO’s to develop a program for identifying, transferring and modifying appropriate technologies for use in the implementation of sectoral climate change adaptation measures.
Interagency strengthening, including restructuring of the sustainable development council into four working groups: 1) management and protection of natural resources; 2) improvement of waste management and pollution control; 3) improvement of environmental awareness and education; and 4) integration of environmental consideration in economic development.
The implementation of these and other adaptation actions in FSM are likely to be challenging due to: the remoteness of the country and its population; the absence of abundant resources; data gaps; traditional land use, decision-making and tenure systems; and the absence of sufficient planning and funding (Fletcher and Richmond, 2010).
National Level Policies and Strategic Documents
There are several documents released by the FSM government related to climate change adaptation. These include:
- The First Climate Change National Communication to the UNFCCC, which outlined the priority sectors that would feel the impacts of climate change and projections of how they would be affected. The most significant impacts were expected to be from sea level rise and droughts (FSM, 1999).
- The Nationwide Climate Change Policy (2009) includes a commitment to addressing climate change adaptation through a framework in which: “all development activities in FSM to take into account projected climatic changes in the design and implementation as stipulated in the FSM Strategic Development Plan/Infrastructure Development Plan.” It also calls for: the use of an ecosystem-based approach where applicable; strengthening the application of traditional knowledge on conservation practices; and the development and implementation of appropriate strategies to improve food production and other relevant sectors. The Policy also calls for the integration of climate change into other policies and strategies, including those related to disaster preparedness (FSM, 2009: 2).
- The U.S. Forest Service and the FSM collaborated on a forest management plan, Federated States of Micronesia State-Wide Assessment and Resource Strategy 2010–2015+ (2010), that is a strategic plan to harvest timber and manage forest resources in a way that preserves the soils and resource. The plan integrates climate adaptation considerations (FSM and U.S. Forest Service, 2010).
Current Adaptation Action
- Dohan, Rosemary; Hove, Hilary; Echeverría, Daniella, Hammill, Anne; Parr, Jo-Ellen. (2011) "Review of Current and Planned Adaptation Action: The Pacific." Adaptation Partnership/International Institute for Sustainable Development, pp.52-58.
- Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] (2011). The World Factbook: Micronesia, Federated States of. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fm.html
- Federated States of Micronesia [FSM] (1999). Micronesia (Federated States, of) Climate Change National Communication. Retrieved from
- Federated States of Micronesia [FSM] (2009). Nationwide Climate Change Policy 2009. Retrievedfrom http://www.fsmpio.fm/Nationwide_Climate_Change_policy.pdf
- Federated States of Micronesia National Government [FSM] and U.S. Forest Service. (2010). Federated States of Micronesia State-Wide Assessment and Resource Strategy 2010 - 2015+. Retrieved from http://www.islandforestry.org/pdf/2010/federated-states-ofmicronesia.pdf
- Federated States of Micronesia [FSM] et al. (2006). Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Kosrae State report of In-Country Consultations . Retrieved from http://www.sprep.org/att/IRC/eCOPIES/Countries/FSM/64.pdf
- Fletcher, C. and Richmond, B. (2010). Climate Change in the Federated States of Micronesia: Food and water security, climate risk management, and adaptive strategies. Retrieved from http://www.sprep.org/att/irc/ecopies/countries/fsm/74.pdf
Key Results and Outputs
- Sustainable development and the integration of climate change concerns into medium- and long-term planning
- Inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases
- Measures contributing to addressing climate change
- Research and systematic observation
- Climate change impacts, adaptation measures and response strategies
- Education, training and public awareness
Potential Adaptation Measures:
Agriculture and Food Security
- Switch to different cultivars
- Improve and conserve soils
- Increase water supply, e.g. by using groundwater, building reservoirs, improving or stabilizing watershed management, desalination
- Improve or develop water management
- Alter system operating rules, e.g. pricing policies, legislation
Coastal Zones and Marine Ecosystems
- Protect, including building sea walls, and beach nourishment
- Research/monitor the coastal ecosystem
Monitoring and Evaluation
In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.
Parties to the Convention must submit national reports on implementation of the Convention to the Conference of the Parties (COP). The required contents of national communications and the timetable for their submission are different for Annex I and non-Annex I Parties. This is in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" enshrined in the Convention.
The core elements of the national communications for both Annex I and non-Annex I Parties are information on emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and details of the activities a Party has undertaken to implement the Convention. National communications usually contain information on national circumstances, vulnerability assessment, financial resources and transfer of technology, and education, training and public awareness.
Since 1994, governments have invested significant time and resources in the preparation, collection and validation of data on GHG emissions, and the COP has made determined efforts to improve the quality and consistency of the data, which are ensured by established guidelines for reporting. Non-Annex I Parties receive financial and technical assistance in preparing their national communications, facilitated by the UNFCCC secretariat.