Friday, November 14, 2014

PRESIDENT MORI’S WORKING VISIT TO JAPAN 3rd to 9th November 2014


President Emanuel Mori visited Japan on November 3rd to 9th 2014 to attend the 28th Anniversary of the FSM Independence Celebration and to receive a Honorary Doctorate Degree from Sophia University, a catholic university in Tokyo run by the Jesuits.  The President’s schedule in Tokyo also included an audience with His Majesty, the Emperor, and a working dinner with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The President also had lunch with the Chairman of Soft Bank, a company currently have investments in the FSM. Chairman Pete Christian of the FSM Congress ad some of President’s staff joined the President during his working dinner with Prime Minister Abe. The President also visited Nagoya, Kochi and Fukuoka to meet with the local government leaders, business community and members of their respective chambers of commerce, as well as welcoming the new FSM honorary consul general in Fukuoka, Mr. Wataru Aso.

Also in Tokyo, the first segment of the tour, President Mori participated in various events and meetings such as the FSM Captive Insurances Council and Micronesia Registrar Advisory (MRA) seminars. He also had the opportunity to meet with FSM long-time friends and traditional supporters who have contributed to FSM’s nation-building as well as the strengthening of the KIZUNA between the peoples of both countries.  

President`s visit to Nagoya, the 2nd segment of the tour, was to take part in the launching of a new economic and business interactions with the Chubu region, through a seminar co-organized by the Department of Resources and Development of the FSM National Government and Nagoya Chamber of Commerce. The seminar objective was to promote and attract possible business investments as part of the Administration`s objectives to promote and strengthen the economic cooperation and business opportunities with this region.

The Kochi visit, the 3rd segment of the tour, was primarily for the President to reciprocate last year’s visit by Kochi prefecture leadership to the FSM, to renew and strengthen the KIZUNA between FSM and Kochi developed through historic links. The relationship with Kochi is through the Mori families both in Kochi and Chuuk. In Kochi, a planting ceremony of a friendship tree (breadfruit tree) donated to Kochi Prefecture from FSM was held with the presence of Kochi Prefecture Governor and the President, highlighting relationship that FSM has with the prefecture.
Given his personal attachment to Kochi, the President took the opportunity to interact with the people of Kochi including representatives of the prefecture and city governments, business individuals, and family members through a reception co-hosted by Kochi Micronesia Friendship Exchange Association and the FSM Embassy in commemoration of the 28th FSM Independence Anniversary.

The visit to Fukuoka, the last segment of the tour, was for the President to officially welcome the new FSM Honorary Consul General in Kyushu-Okinawa region with resident in Fukuoka. During an evening reception for the occasion attended by many prominent members of the Fukuoka business community, the President thanked the leadership and the business community of Fukuoka for their support and invited them to visit the FSM to explore private sector development opportunities.

President was accompanied by the Secretaries of Foreign Affairs; Justice; Education; The Chief of Staff; and support staff from Resources and Development, FSM Insurance Council, FSM Registrar Office, PIO, and some family members. FSM Congress was represented by Senator Peter Christian, Chairman of the Committee on TC&I.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

President Mori's last, with His Majesty and at the Seminars

President Mori on his way to the Imperial Palace. He was chaufered to the place in His Majesty's limo from The New Ohtani Hotel.
After holding meetings in Guam from October 31st to November 2nd, Federated States of Micronesia President Manny Mori embarked to Tokyo, Japan on November 3rd.
 
President Mori's first activity in Tokyo was having an audience with His Majesty, The Emperor of Japan, on November 4th. The President had the honor of making a courtesy visit with His Majesty as he commenced the last six months of his administration. According to President Mori, the Emperor shared interest and concerns on issues of importance to the FSM, including the environment and climate change challenges. His Majesty also recalled meeting former President Tosiwo Nakayama in the 80's before he became the Emperor.  President Mori and the Emperor affirmed their mutual desire to strengthen the "kizuna" (strong bond) that exists between the FSM and Japan. 

President Mori opening the FSM Captive Insurance Seminar in Tokyo, organized by MRA

After his visit at the Imperial Palace, President Mori attended the opening of two seminars at the Aoyama Diamond Hall in Tokyo, sponsored by the Micronesian Registration Advisors, Inc. (MRA) with support from the FSM Captive Insurance Council. Both the Captive Insurance Seminar and the Investment Seminar were opened by the President and also attended by Senator Peter Christian, representing the FSM Congress; Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lorin Robert; Secretary of Justice, Madame April Dawn Skilling; Secretary of Education, Dr. Rufino Mauricio; Chief of Staff, Mr. Leo Falcam Jr.; and FSM Ambassador to Japan, Mr. John Fritz. 
 
The FSM Insurance Commissioner, Mr. Jesse Giltamag and the Registrar of Corporations, Mr. Samari Suta, along with the FSM Secretary of Justice, took part in the day-long seminars as presenters. 
 
President Mori expressed appreciation to the Japanese entrepreneurs who chose to attend the seminars and invited them to consider investing and establishing business relations in the FSM.
 
The President said although this would be his last participation at these seminars in Japan, he believed the FSM will remain committed to safeguarding stability and growth to become a leading investment domicile in the region. As the President, he has prioritized attending these seminars the past years to further strengthen FSM-Japanese relations and raise business investment confidence in the FSM. 


MRA staff at entrance of seminar hall taking care of logistics  and providing support.

 
A combined number of over one hundred-twenty business folks attended the two seminars.
 
President Mori had a loaded evening schedule on this day with the FSM Independence Anniversary reception and his visit to the Japanese Prime Minister taking place back to back. 
 

FSM Citizens in Guam provide feedback for 2023 Planning Committee


Dededo, Guam (November 1, 2014): The Federated States of Micronesia President Manny Mori led the 2023 Planning Committee and its Secretariat in a public forum for FSM citizens in Guam, held at the Astumbo Gymnasium in Dededo, Guam on November 1st.

The meeting provided citizens with the opportunity to be updated on progress made on the 2023 action plan mandate in the collective attempt to better position the FSM State and National Governments ahead of the expected termination of annual grants under the Compact of Free Association with the United States. It also afforded the 2023 Planning Committee a platform for citizens to comment on the plan and provide input on specific components.

The panel of presenters included Director Evelyn Adolph from the Office of Statistics, Budget and Economic Management, Overseas Development Assistance and Compact Management (SBOC) and Mr. Rob Solomon, a macro-economist and consultant who is assisting the Committee in formulating and documenting the plan.

After opening the meeting, President Mori took up much of the task of responding to the series of questions and comments made by the attendees with occasional help from Governor Sebastian Anefal, Yap State, Lieutenant Governor Marcelo Peterson, Pohnpei State, and Mrs. Lorie Asher, the Kosrae State attorney general who represented Governor Jackson.

Govern Johnson Elimo of Chuuk State was at the Planning Committee's meeting the day before but was not able to join the forum with citizens.


In general, the citizens expressed agreement to the plan as presented. They also raised some concern on the overall inability to develop a sustainable economy back home. A number of them said they would rather return home, but are unsure if they would find jobs. They also emphasized that the National and State leaders should collaborate on the 2023 Planning Committee's endeavor to prevent drastic effects in the event that Compact sector grants are terminated. More importantly, the citizens concurred that the ultimate goal to pursue the next ten years is to grow the FSM economy by focusing on the needs of the private sector and removing impediments that complicate the business and investment climate. Without a sustainable economy, the health and education sectors would remain too depended on foreign assistance.  

In wrapping up, President Mori thanked the citizens for providing valuable feedback to the committee and invited them to help out in getting all-around support for the endorsement of the plan. 

Similar outreach meetings to update citizens and solicit  feedback  throughout the FSM will follow in the immediate future. 

The Committee anticipates finalizing the drafting of the plan by early December and have it ready for wider State and National leadership endorsement at the early part of 2015. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Conferring of Honorary Doctorate degree to FSM President Manny Mori by Sophia University.





A Honorary Degree award ceremony took place yesterday at the Sophia University campus in Tokyo on November 5, 2014.



The Jesuit university officially undertook its decision to confer the honorary degree to FSM President Mori in honor of his contribution to growth and "outstanding service" in "improving lives", the President of the university said in his brief remark during the ceremony.



President Mori expressed appreciation to the institution for its decision and took the opportunity through the ceremony to highlight some high-points in the history of interactive relationships between FSM and Japan. He also recognized Sophia University as an institution of higher learning enjoying regional prestige due to high achievements.



The video says more.

The launching of two reports on children’s issues in FSM

UNICEF Representative to the Pacific Dr. Allen and Acting Secretary of Department of Health and Social Affairs Mr. Wincener David
POHNPEI, 3 November 2013 – The National Government of Micronesia and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today launched two new publications of importance for children.

The first report, titled ‘Children in the Federated States of Micronesia: An Atlas of Social Indicators’, presents a comprehensive picture of the situation of children in the country. It contains a wealth of data on indicators of child well-being across different sectors including demography, poverty and inequality, education, health and nutrition, water and sanitation, disability, and child protection.

The report is the culmination of an intense effort to bring together the latest evidence and analysis related to children from the population census, national household surveys, databases from different ministries, and other research conducted over the past years.

The statistics and data in the report are more than just numbers – they represent the reality of life for children and their families, showing us both the wellbeing of children, but also where there challenges to their rights and wellbeing. Good quality and timely data helps governments to identify what the issues are, who the vulnerable populations are and how best to allocate resources.  It helps civil society to understand the dimensions of the issues it faces and how best to plan to address these issues.  And it helps organizations such as UNICEF and other international partners to identify where to target our support.

In her remarks to launch the Atlas, Dr. Allen said, “The Children’s Atlas of Social Indicators confirms that there has been a significant improvement in the lives of children in Micronesia. This is evident, for example, by the reduction in infant and child mortality rates over the past decades. Nearly 90 per cent of births occur in a health facility. Gender parity has been achieved in primary education and the special education program is dedicated to supporting children with disabilities. Access to improved sanitation facilities has more than doubled over the last two decades.”

She continued by saying, “Yet, the report also shows that there remains an unfinished agenda for the children of Micronesia.”

In fact, a reading of the report reveals that the country is slipping back in a number of areas. Immunisation coverage, for example, varies widely between States and has decreased since the mid 2000s, according to official estimates. The measles outbreak this year is a terrible manifestation of that. Micronutrient malnutrition is relatively common: around one third of pregnant women and infants screened in public hospitals were found to be anaemic, meaning, insufficient iron in their blood. Progress towards universal primary education appears to have stalled, while secondary school participation declined over the last decade.

Off course, having access to such facts and figures as included in the children’s atlas is only the beginning. Data alone do not change the world. The goal is to use the data to inform decisions, policies and targeting of resources so that we make a measurable, positive difference impact on the lives of children.

That is why, in addition to the launch event this morning, this week there will also be a training on child indicators, to look at all the tables, graphs and maps in the children’s atlas, and to discuss how the information in the report could be used for effective planning, programming and monitoring.



The second report being launched is the Child Protection Baseline Research for the Federated States of Micronesia. This report was initiated in 2010/2011 and has taken considerable commitment and determination from all partners. While the Children’s Atlas of Social Indicators presents an overarching overview of the situation of children in the country, the Child Protection Baseline is a “deep dive” into qualitative and quantitative factors such as violence and verbal aggression as well as policies, legislation and systems for protection of children.

Providing an environment that promotes and fosters a comprehensive and accessible child protection system is challenging, made more so in the Pacific Island context where delivering services over a geographically wide area is costly and difficult. 

Added to these administrative and logistical challenges is the nature of child protection violations that are often shrouded in stigma and hidden from public view. Violence, abuse and exploitation of children are difficult issues to openly discuss and to research and that is why this research is so remarkable. In her remarks to launch the Report, Dr. Allen said, “One of the most interesting findings was that children and parents are very consistent in their attitudes and beliefs on what is called “positive discipline”, meaning, using role modelling, discussion and peer support to enforce good behaviour, rather than hitting and other harmful punishments. This seems to reflect strong traditional values of communities that value consensus and harmony. On the other hand, according to self reporting by children and adults, despite believing in positive discipline, quite a few adults were hitting, slapping and humiliating children and not enough adults were taking action when children told them about this.”

The Child Protection Baseline report also provides analysis of legal frameworks, formal social service structures, and the various environments provided by communities and families; and reviews how effectively each promotes the protection of children. The report documents that in Micronesia traditional practices at the community level go a long way in protecting children from harm, but that with increased urbanization and other changes in lifestyle, these systems are breaking down. 

Particular issues raised in the report include the need to strengthen the juvenile justice system so as to promote diversion and restorative justice; the urgent need to break the silence on abuse and ensure children and parents are able to speak out and seek help; strengthening both prevention and response to child abuse, and coordinating between state and national levels.

Similar baseline reports on child protection have been produced in five countries Pacific countries, and most recently in the Marshall Islands and Palau. These countries have used the key findings and recommendations of their reports to plan and take action to strengthen prevention and response to abuse and violence. Also, the baselines are being used to measure their progress against goals they have set. We hope the baseline in the Federated States of Micronesia will serve a similar purpose for agreeing on goals and then monitoring progress.

Dr. Allen said, “I sincerely appreciate the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia for its leadership and commitment in carrying out the two reports launched today. I acknowledge and congratulate the collective efforts of the national and state governments, civil society and particularly the leadership of the Department of Health and Social Welfare. The research was truly a collective effort and would not have been possible without the inputs from departments, organisations and individuals who generously and effectively contributed their time and expertise. We also appreciate the funding from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs which made possible the Child Protection Research and Report.”

Both reports can be downloaded from the following links - http://www.unicef.org/pacificislands/FSM_Equity_Ready_web.pdf

About UNICEF: UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicefpacific.org
For more information, please contact Donna Hoerder, UNICEF on (679) 3236 100 or dhoerder@unicef.org

FSM to Represent the Western Pacific Region on the Bureau of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)


During the Sixth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP6) of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) held in Moscow, Russia from October 13-19, 2014, Assistant Secretary for Health Mr. Marcus Samo from the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs, was nominated and approved by COP6 as the new member on the Bureau of the FCTC representing the parties to the convention from the Western Pacific Region.  The Bureau functions as the executive board of the FCTC.  Assistant Secretary Samo headed the FSM Delegation which consisted of Mr. Kerio Walliby and Mrs. Shra Alik.  Mr. Samo has been a strong advocate, supporter and great negotiator with other countries on the amendments of the articles that would protect public health and of 
benefit to the region as well as the FSM.  

Among the many measures parties endorsed at COP6 were the following:

1.      Guidelines for the illicit trade of tobacco products

2.      Means to regulate production and sale of electronic nicotine device systems (ENDS) or commonly known as e-cigarette,

3.      Ways to create a provision in the FCTC Articles to make the tobacco industry liable for the ill-health caused by tobacco products,

4.      Strong affirmation by parties to refrain from the tobacco industry interference.

5.      A global monitoring framework for NCDs, which includes a global voluntary target of 30% relative reduction in the prevalence of current tobacco use in person aged 15 year and over, by the year 2025.
In the closing statement from the Western Pacific Region, which was delivered by FSM,  Mr. Samo thanked parties for their hard work and the spirit in which parties conducted business by saying “we debated important issues facing us as a tobacco control and prevention community, and at the end of the day, we reached agreement.   Let us be reminded that COP6 came at a time of preparation for the 10th year anniversary of the ratification of the WHO FCTC.  We have come a long way.  Some of us took ‘baby steps’, but have made great progress. The decisions we made at COP6 affirm our common desire to promote good health and protect public health from the tobacco industry interference.  As we move forward, we can look back and be proud of our collective actions.  Let’s further accelerate the implementation of the FCTC for the children of our lifetime”.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Record 12 fishing vessels under investigation as FFA’s Operation Kurukuru ends

 Friday 24th October, FFA-RSFC, HoniaraThe region’s annual large-scale maritime surveillance sweep of Pacific fishing waters has netted a record 12 vessels in potential breach of their fishing licenses. The vessels, nabbed by Fisheries Maritime Police from FSM (6), PNG (5) and Palau (one) are flagged to Thailand, the Philippines and FSM. They were amongst 114 boardings of fishing vessels and 1011 sightings of vessels across the EEZs of 14 Pacific nations involved in the Operation Kurukuru maritime surveillance exercise. The regional sweep, launched on Wednesday 15th October, ended its tenth and final day today.
 
“Further details on the alleged infringements are an operational matter and will be dealt with at the national level but I think the findings demonstrate the level of standards and effectiveness which our national partners are applying to themselves in the area of maritime surveillance,” says FFA Director General James Movick. “The fact that the FSM patrol boat boarded, inspected and took action on one of its own fishing vessels as part of the Operation is significant.  While the infraction was relatively minor, this is a clear demonstration that FSM's application of the rules for fishing activity is no less stringent on vessels under its flag, than any other national flag, and this is exactly as it should be.”
 
He noted that the spread of boardings - with 44 of the 114 vessels being boarded in ports – one of them leading to an ongoing investigation -- shows that nations are continuing vigilance not just at sea, but within their own ports.
 
“Through operations such as Kurukuru, Pacific nations as custodians of their oceanic resources are capably sending the message to anyone fishing without, or in breach of, their licenses that we are watching, your activity is being recorded, and you will be caught,” Movick says.
 
The Patrol Boats RKS TEANOAI (Kiribati), with 19, and PSS PRESIDENT H.I. REMELIIK (Palau), with 14, conducted half of the total at-sea boardings during Kurukuru, providing a “consistent excellence in their annual efforts and national prioritising for the resources needed to maintain this surveillance standard,” he added. 15 vessels spent a combined total of 106 days at sea, linking where possible with seven patrol aircraft crews whose shifts totalled 181 flight hours documenting and ‘sensing’ fishing activity in Pacific waters.


The FFA Director General also commended the “outstanding” activity of Papua New Guinea’s patrol boat the HMPNGS SEEADLER, another success story of Kurukuru 2014. Five of its six boardings resulted in discovery of potential infringements. The active participation of PNG is a major outcome for the current operation, linked to an earlier one-month attachment to FFA’s Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre by PNG Leading Seaman Riwas Israel Pala of the 
National Surveillance Coordination Centre based in Port Moresby.

 
“Thanks to his attachment with the FFA RFSC and his leadership in applying that learning back in his home HQ, PNG was online, active and fully engaged for the entire operation, a fantastic result for one of the busiest fishing nations in the Pacific,” says Movick.
 
He welcomed the introduction in Kurukuru 2014 of a new ‘Chief of Staff’ position to help keep communications and updates flowing. Cook Islands Operations Officer and 2nd-in-command of the Cook Islands Maritime Division, Tuariki ‘Stu’ Henry was the inaugural Chief of Staff, taking up an intensive month-long attachment to the FFA-RFSC as part of this role. 
 
“As a major surveillance operation for the Pacific, it’s pleasing to see Kurukuru continue to deliver innovation and results on an annual basis and I thank Australia for its funding support for these new updates to the annual program,” says Movick.
 
Kurukuru 2014 covered an area of approximately 30 million square kilometres - including the EEZs of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Fisheries surveillance and enforcement staff from all of these countries worked together with their Quadrilateral Defence Cooperation counterparts from Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States over the two weeks of round the clock surveillance, data analysis, reporting & information sharing and, ultimately, enforcement operations . Australia’s Fisheries Management Authority, the Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources, and NZ’s National Maritime Coordination Centre provided analysts to aid the operation in the Surveillance centre while Vanuatu ship-riders worked with patrol boats in Palau.
 ENDS.
 
 ABOUT FFA:
The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) strengthens national capacity and regional solidarity so its 17 members can manage, control and develop their tuna fisheries now and in the future. Based in Honiara, Solomon Islands, FFA's 17 Pacific Island members are Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.  Since 1979, FFA has facilitated regional cooperation so that all Pacific countries benefit from the sustainable use of tuna – a multi-billion dollar resource important for many people’s livelihoods in the Pacific.

 
CONTACT Lisa Williams-Lahari, FFA Media Officer II Email: media@ffa.int II  Tel:  +677 7574230 (Mob.)