Friday, December 15, 2006

Beautify CNMI's "Micronesian Challenge Symposium"

The Micronesian Challenge seeks to effectively conserve 30 percent of near shore marine resources and 20 percent of forest resources by 2020. Last night Beautify CNMI hosted a symposium to introduce the Challenge to some of our members. As part of the Outreach Working Group, which has worked the last several months on plans for taking the Challenge to the people of the CNMI, I led last night's discussion. I had help from DEQ's Fran Castro and Dr. Peter Houk, who were on hand to answer any questions that participants might have about last week's regional meeting in Palau.

The goal of the symposium was for Beautify CNMI partners to sit down and have a casual discussion about the Challenge. The Beautify CNMI coalition has plans to take the Challenge on as one of our major projects in 2007. The goal of the night was to simply introduce the Challenge to the members, to get the discussion started, and to focus our early thoughts on two words within the Challenge: Micronesian, because this is a regional effort, and 2020, because this is a long term plan for sustainability.

After introducing ourselves, reading the Challenge, and allowing me to talk about my personal vision behind the Challenge, we went around the room to give people the opportunity to voice some of their initial ideas about the Challenge, how they see themselves participating in the outreach and education component of the Challenge, and pretty much anything else that they had on their minds.

I think that the symposium was an appropriate forum for this type of meeting. I wanted participants to feel comfortable, so I tried to keep the meeting informal and fun. We had a pretty good discussion. I hope that it is the first of many.

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