New Law passed for FSM to climate-proof infrastructure

Amendments to the Kosrae State Code to recognise and incorporate climate change adaptation measures into designing and implementing public infrastructures, has finally been passed by the 10th Kosrae State Legislature at the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) on March 11th, 2011.

The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) National Project Management Unit in FSM put forth a proposal in February to amend Titles 1, 5, 7, and 11 of the Kosrae State Code to add new definitions and requirements relating to climate change adaptation measures.000913

"The New Law adopted comes under the Kosrae State Code Title 19 - Environment. It now makes it a requirement that all new development activities in Kosrae such as roads and buildings must take climate change into consideration and ensure that adequate climate change adaptation measures are factored into the design and implementation. ," said PACC FSM National Coordinator Simpson Abraham.

"Climate change is no longer an issue for the future; it is already impacting the lives of the Kosrae people and its infrastructures today.

Rising sea level and extreme weather events have destroyed crops, homes, roads and other infrastructure to the extent for the local government to put forth relocation plans for the people living on the outer islands.

This is the first for the country to adopt a Legislative Law on Climate Change as leverage to the existing environmental statues in the Kosrae State.

"The new Law will require the Transportation and Infrastructure Department to consider extreme events such as storm surges, flash floods and hurricanes when designing public infrastructures. An example would be; drainage networks will be designed to take on more extreme rainfall weather conditions," said Abraham.

Involved in putting forth the proposal were the FSM PACC Coordinator Mr Abraham Simpson, the Legal Counsel of the Kosrae Legislature Mr. John McKenzie, Environment Lawyer, Nora Seeker, and the PACC Team at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

This effort to mainstream Climate Change into the Kosrae state plans and policies is one of the major outputs for FSM PACC and this is a positive step forward which Simpson and the PACC team hopes to replicate throughout the four FSM states.

Abraham says, "with the Kosrae State Code amended, the legal framework is now in place on which the country can continue to build on to address climate change adaptation in all facets of its development."

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