Strengthening People-to-People Ties With the Pacific Islands

August 6, 2012
Assistant Secretary Campbell and Admiral Haney With Civil Society Members in Phonpei

The United States and the Pacific Islands have enjoyed an enduring partnership and a steadfast friendship for over a century. Community engagement and the strengthening of people to people ties is an important component of my travels this week. I am accompanying Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell and other U.S. government officials from the Department of Defense and USAID to the region, and this trip has only reinforced my belief in the profound possibilities for deeper engagement with the peoples of the Pacific Islands.

Earlier during the trip, while staying in the Marshall Islands, I was able to meet with a fantastic group of community leaders and students at a town hall event on Ebeye on Kwajalein Atoll. Upon arrival in the Federated States of Micronesia, we continued our dialogue with civil society actors with whom we can partner to tackle issues such as climate change. Our roundtable with environmental NGOs and luncheon with young leaders were filled with lively conversations on the important issues of mutual interest, such as the environment, food security, and the role of young people in our bilateral relationships. To promote healthy living, address problems of non-communicable diseases in the region, and encourage local food production and consumption, we will present a grant to the Island Food Community of Pohnpei.

We are also working with our Pacific partners to prepare for future challenges. Climate change adaptation funding from USAID of U.S. $8 million over three years, will strengthen Pacific partners' food security, promote healthy mangrove ecosystems, and help communities cope with inconsistencies in water supplies. USAID is also working across the South Pacific to build institutional and individual capacity to access additional international funding for climate change adaptation.

We look forward to continuing our dialogue with government, young leaders, and civil society partners on these important issues. You can learn more about our engagement with the Pacific here.

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