Marshall Islands Correspondent

MAJURO, Marshall Islands — In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Guam Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero and Lt. Governor Joshua F. Tenorio joined with island leaders in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific islands to launch the Guam Green Growth (or G3) initiative, described as an “action framework” for sustainability.

“We have the crisis of climate,” said University of Guam President Thomas W. Krise during the Sept. 23 online launch of the 3G initiative. “But we also have a crisis of public health, an economic crisis, a crisis of democracy, and a crisis of the international order.”

The G3 plan was generated by dozens of people and organizations in Guam developing a five-category platform of action for Guam (and at a conference in January), most of which have potential business-related opportunities, though the launch was light on actual details.

Krise said the importance of the G3 initiative is that it launches a “decade of action for Guam, taking local action to have a global impact.”

President David Kabua (top) and Gov. David Y. Ige were among those joining the Guam Green Growth initiative launch on Sept. 23.

Photos by Giff Johnson

Hawaii Governor David Y. Ige, who joined the event on Zoom, congratulated Guam on this development and said it dovetails with Hawaii’s climate and sustainable development initiatives through the Hawaii Green Growth Aloha+ Challenge. “For islanders, sustainably is not simply a goal,” Ige said. “It is a responsibility. Island innovations can lead the way in global solutions.”

Marshall Islands President David Kabua, speaking from Majuro, said his government supports Guam’s initiative, which links to climate action in his nation. “Our quality of life will be disastrous if we don’t act now,” Kabua said. “We are doing as much as we can to ensure our survival.”

The G3 initiative boiled down the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into five categories for action on Guam. These focus on:

  • Healthy and prosperous communities, with food security a key goal;
  • An educated, capable and compassionate island;
  • Sustainable homes, utilities and transportation;
  • Thriving natural resources, including achieving conservation management goals laid out in the Micronesia Challenge for all US-affiliated islands; and
  • Sustainable alliances, with the aim of engaging not only with local partners but activating regional and international alliances in support of sustainable development.

UOG’s Austin J. Shelton III, director of the Center for Island Sustainability, said the five categories will showcase Guam action to develop aquaculture, fisheries and agriculture as part of sustainable development.

“COVID-19 reminds us we are a globalized society,” said Ige. “Our actions have an impact on each other.” Ige said Hawaii’s Aloha+ Challenge is focused on clean energy, local food production, invasive species control, education, and smart, sustainable communities. The Aloha+ Challenge aims to “achieve these goals with aloha,” he said.

This includes activating CARES Act funding for jobs in emerging green industries for Hawaii residents who lost their jobs because of COVID-19 and its shutdown of the tourism industry, Ige said.

“To preserve Guam for tomorrow, we need to start today,” Guerrero said. “Guam is ready to take our place at the global forefront of island sustainability.” mbj