“The CNMI relies on a clean and healthy environment for our livelihood, survival, and way of life. Typhoons show the vulnerability of our island environments. We must continue to be proactive in adapting to the changes brought by climate change to protect our infrastructure, communities, and ecosystems.”
– Governor Ralph DLG. Torres
Of all the things that keep us grounded—both literally and symbolically— is our connection with the land we call home. Our environment and our public lands are so much more than just the 14 islands of the CNMI. From the ground beneath our feet, we develop our culture, our identity, and our way of life, and it is our duty to protect them now for ourselves and for our children and grandchildren.
The CNMI Government, together with other Pacific governments, believe our communities will be impacted by climate change the most. This is seen in the increased presence of typhoons in the Marianas over the last several years. The Torres-Palacios administration recognizes this as a key priority in ensuring the overall well-being of residents in the Marianas and in protecting the unique natural resources that serve as the foundation of our tourism industry.
In 2017, Governor Torres signed Executive Directive 2017-01, establishing the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands Resilience Working Group that will devise and implement a long-term plan to protect the Commonwealth’s environment against climate change and its impacts. This group is continuing efforts to identify and address climate impacts and build resilient ecosystems, economies, and communities in the CNMI. The Office of Planning and Development and the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality will continue to work collaboratively to plan policies to ensure a balance between economic development and environmental protection.
In 2019, the Department of Public Lands officially finalized the CNMI Public Land Use Plan, the first update to the plan since 1989. The plan ensures the best use of our public lands by meeting community concerns, identifying opportunities that provide social or economic gains, and addressing needs that may include cultural, historical, or environmental preservation.
The Torres-Palacios administration will continue to be proactive in adapting to the changes brought by climate change to protect our environment, our public lands, and our way of life in the Marianas.