Friday, May 27, 2016

2016 Federated States of Micronesia Integrated Agriculture Census’ 2nd Training of Trainers

27 May 2016 - State agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and livestock agencies and representatives from research extension and statistics field offices along with supporting staff from the FSM Department of Resources and Development convened on May 23, 2016 for a week-long training workshop in Kolonia, Pohnpei to train the State Trainers for the 2016 FSM Integrated Agriculture Census (IAC) to fully prepare their respective State enumerators on the IAC materials to count natural resource information across the FSM.

Agriculture, forestry, fisheries, livestock, research extension and statistics representatives from the States of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap attended the workshop facilitated by the FSMR&D’s staff from the Division of Statistics and Division of Resource Management and Development), with support from the FSM National Congress, Food and Agriculture Organization to the United Nations (FAO), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), India Government and US Department of Agriculture (USDA).  This multi-donor project is to support the 2016 FSM Integrated Agriculture Census with data collection of agriculture (crops and livestock), forestry and fisheries information from all households in the four FSM States.  This information will be compiled at State and National levels to guide Government line agencies and policy-makers on developing sectoral interventions and development partners on technical assistance projects/programs.

“Census is the mother of all information gathering,” Statistics Assistant Secretary Mathew Chigiyal stated during his opening remarks. “This effort requires teamwork between National and State line agencies and within each State amongst the resource agencies because the success of this Census depends on this teamwork and each team is dependent on each other for a successful outcome.”
The workshop included presentations from both national government support staff and state resource management experts in the field in which they gave an overview on team preparation, materials, support tools and lessons learned from the pre-testing trial to assist the 2016 FSM IAC State Trainers. 
“I am one of those from Agriculture who insisted on this Census and this training gives me the confidence to learn from our pre-testing experience and carrying out the Census in July,” said Adelino Lorens, Pohnpei State Agriculture Division Chief.
“This workshop allows for a face-to-face time in coordinating with the Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap State Managers to develop a detailed training plan for our supervisors and enumerators,” said Marlyter Silbanuz, FSMR&D’s Agriculture Program Manager.

For additional information please contact Alissa Takesy at FSM Department of Resources and Development at (691) 320-2620/2646/5133 at alissa.takesy@fsmrd.fm

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bluewell Reinsurance Directors paid a courtesy call on Vice President Yosiwo P. George


May 2016: Palikir, Pohnpei - Vice President Yosiwo P. George received a courtesy call from Bluewell Reinsurance Director and President, Mr. Toshikatsu Konno and Director and Secretary, Mr. Akira Nakao in the afternoon of Monday at the President's Conference Room.

In welcoming Mr. Konno and Mr. Nakao along with their delegation, Vice President George expressed his appreciation for the afforded visit and for Japan's corporate investment by doing captive insurance business in the FSM. During the brief meeting, both ends discussed development efforts through business expansion. In 2006, the FSM Congress enacted legislation that would allow captive insurance corporations to establish captives in the country. A number of Japanese-based corporations that has a vested interest in FSM's growth and development have differentiated the FSM from other domiciles for its unique and favorable tax structure. The FSM has developed a preeminent status as an appealing jurisdiction for Japanese businesses and as a result, the FSM captive insurance domicile has attracted almost twenty Japanese owned companies, either licensed or approved.

Owned by Sumitomo Corporation, Bluewell Reinsurance (Micronesia) Ltd. is one of many FSM-licensed captive insurance companies doing business in the country.  

Accompanying Vice President George was Special Assistant Herman Semes Jr.

The Honorable Yosiwo P. George's State Visit to all FSM States


The Honorable Vice President Yosiwo P. George recently completed his State Visit to all the FSM States, which started from 17 April to 16 May 2016.  To ensure the Administration’s effort in enhancing relations with the States by Nation-building, Vice President George and his delegation met with leaders from the State Governments, to continue building the working relationship with the State governments.  This is the first time that all States would be visited by Vice President George to follow up particularly on the previous official State Visit by H.E. President Peter M. Christian. 

Led by effective discussion with the Leadership, the Visit allowed high officials from both ends to discuss issues and challenges from the FSM States. During the joint-leadership courtesy call, a wide spectrum of issues was highlighted. The Project Management Office, status of the FSM Trust Fund, ODA priorities, Infrastructure sector grant projects and concerns relating to JEMCO were among many other areas of concern that was discussed.

Vice President George also made site visits in the respective States.  In Chuuk, he visited the Kimiuo Aisek Truk Lagoon Museum and other businesses. While in Yap, Vice President visited the Canoe house in Yap, Toru Village and Maap to see the canoe built by Master Navigator Pius “Mau” Piailug.  Vice President George also visited Yap Sport Complex, and toured Fisheries Maritime Institute (FMI) where FMI Director, Mr. Matthias Ewarmai, welcomed him. 

Vice President George was accompanied by FSM Department of Resources & Development Secretary Marion Henry; FSM Department of Finance and Administration Secretary Sihna Lawrence; FSM Department of Health and Education Secretary Magdalena Walter; FSM Department of Education Secretary Kalwin Kephas; Special Assistant to the Office of the President Mr. Herman Semes, Jr.; Assistant Secretary Eugene Amor of the Office of Budget and Economic Affairs; Chief of Budget Mr. John Sohs of the Office of Budget and Economic Management; Program Manager for Investment Florian Yatilman of the FSM Department of Resources and Development, Division of Investment and Trade, and Mrs. Fancely P. Solomon, Admin Specialists, FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs.

FSM Policy Revamp for Fisheries Aims to Double "Blue Gold" Millions



Pohnpei, FSM: A new comprehensive national Fisheries Policy for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is firmly set on accessing up to US85m in annual revenues from its ‘blue gold’ oceanic fisheries sector.  That figure was flagged amidst all the numbers, data and acronyms dominating a just-ended national Fisheries seminar in FSM. Standout quotes during the seminar included a straight and clear reminder on the reason for the current renewed focus on FSM's budget-boosting Tuna resources-- "Fish is our blue gold".
As leaders from Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap think through and share their four days of talking Fisheries with the lead government officials in the sector, the new term, coined on the opening day of the seminar, will keep coming to mind as they look to opportunities at state level and their fit at national level, for investment opportunities in FSM’s fisheries.

“Fish is our “blue gold” and fisheries has become our biggest revenue generator, increasing nearly 300 percent since the introduction and implementation of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Vessel Day Scheme (VDS),” Vice President Yosiwo P George had noted in his opening statement. He said revenue from the sale of fishing days has increased substantially, but "the overall FSM economy has not grown, as one would have expected. The challenge is therefore how can we best use our valuable days to achieve higher economic growth? What kind of fisheries and related policies do we need to put in place to maximize the overall economic benefits of our fisheries resources to support economic growth?"

Vice President George had not minced words in his keynote to the “Aligning Fisheries Policy to Support Economic Growth in the FSM” first national seminar for FSM. Highlighting the role of the Vessel Day Scheme led by FSM and the seven other Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) plus Tokelau, he and the meeting organisers are keen to see its transformational impact on the national budget grow
even more returns to the national purse.

"In 2014, fisheries access revenues were $47.5 million, which comprised 36% of the total government revenues.  I am advised that, with the number of vessel days that FSM can expect into the future, straight maximization of fishing access revenues could yield USD70 million or even as high as USD85 million per year to the FSM. As we face the termination of the current Economic Assistance package under the Compact of Free Association (CFA) this income source will have significant importance to the FSM’s future political economy.  That is the challenge that the fisheries sector has to be conscious of; that this is a resource managed by government for the benefit of the people of the FSM."

Acknowledging that opening up FSM to potential fisheries investment partners would require updates to law and policy, the Vice President told leaders the changes needed must be seen "as an opportunity to not only seek benefits to the states we represent but to appreciate our shortcomings and strive for a cohesive policy that all can benefit even if it means one central fisheries development location or two. We can all still benefit, the challenge is where, how and what can we offer as individual or collective stakeholders."

"We need to think about creating jobs, new business and security in investment to diversify our economic base. We also have to be mindful that our partners feel welcome and invest in the long term. Short-term gains are not sustainable when you ask me to put millions in a fish processing facility or any other investment of the like. We need to re-strategize and focus; changing our approach to fisheries investment," he says. “While we strive to increase our returns, we must also exercise due diligence to ensure that our partners deliver what they promise us and nothing less”.

Throughout the seminar, co-conveners Director of FSM's National Oceanic Resource Management Agency, NORMA Eugene Pangelinan and Secretary for Resources and Development Hon. Marion Henry had echoed the need for a refreshed, whole of government approach across all states, and at many levels, to ensure the Oceanic breadwinner for FSM is managed within a revised, more comprehensive Fisheries policy.
“This is not the end of the process, this is just the beginning,” says Pangelinan of the ongoing consultations with stakeholders across and within the states.

“Domestic development is an increasingly important part of the investment picture of the tuna industry in FSM,” he says, “when we look at Fisheries interests from distant water fishing nations wanting to do business in our EEZs,  the key criteria for us will be returns to the people of FSM in capital investments, job creation, and social responsibility partnerships.”

“It’s a lot of work, but we are talking about a resource bringing the world to our part of the ocean. We now want to bring more value-adding, revenue-generating fisheries activity ashore, to gain more economic opportunities and spread the benefits around.”

The FSM National Fisheries Seminar included a range of guest presenters including Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Director General James Movick and FFA Economist Dr Chris Reid, Incoming PNA Executive Director Ludwig Kumoru, of the National Fisheries Authority of Papua New Guinea, International Fisheries Consultant Stan Crothers of New Zealand (also Fisheries Advisor to Tokelau), and FSM officials. Industry insights came from Peter Sitan, CEO of the FSM’s National Fisheries Corporation, NFC.–ENDS/NORMA Press Release.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Federated States of Micronesia’s Coastal Component Workshop on the Pacific Island Regional Oceanscape Program


(FSMR&D Secretary Marion Henry giving his opening remarks and Kosrae DREA Director Lyndon Cornelius looking on)
State fisheries agencies, non-government organization, and private sector representatives along with supporting regional partners across the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) convened on May 17, 2016 at an inception workshop in Kolonia, Pohnpei to share information and lessons learned on sustainable fisheries management and provide guidance on further enhancing sustainable fisheries management through its national project objectives and deliverables.  
Coastal fisheries management/development agency, NGO, and private sector representatives from the States of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap attended the workshop facilitated by the FSM Department of Resources and Development (FSMR&D) and National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA), with support from the World Bank funding Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program (PROP).  This World Bank and Global Environment Facility Program is supporting 12 Pacific Island Countries to strengthen the management of Pacific Island fisheries, with technical assistance and backstopping from the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency at the regional level. 
The nature and economic contribution of coastal fisheries varies significantly among the four FSM States, as also do governance and management arrangements. These involve various forms of traditional, local and state control and jurisdiction.  Because of the diversity of management arrangements, an initial study building on previous studies and/or work already carried out or underway and stakeholder consultations are planned in order to develop the detailed design of the coastal fisheries component of PROP in the FSM with the national government playing a coordinating and facilitating role through FSMR&D and NORMA.
 “I challenge this group with finding a balance between sustainable use and development,” R&D Secretary Marion Henry stated during his opening remarks. “This will inform our Fisheries Investment and Development Policy and actions in response to 2023.”
The workshop included panel presentations from both state government officials and NGO experts in the field in which they gave an overview on their respective management frameworks and monitoring programs, and facilitated discussions on identifying capacity issues/gaps and opportunities. 
“It complements our joint efforts between Government Agencies and NGOs on community-based ecosystem approach to fisheries management with our local communities and pleased to note that this project can further expand on this,” said Marcellus Akapito, Chuuk Conservation Society Director.
 “This workshop is to give momentum on our collective effort and guide the consultative process of developing our priority activities within this project,” said Okean Ehmes, PROP Project Coordinator at NORMA.

For additional information please contact Alissa Takesy at FSM Department of Resources and Development at (691) 320-2620/2646/5133 at alissa.takesy@fsmrd.fm and Okean Ehmes at National Oceanic Resource Management Authority at okean.ehmes@norma.fm

FSM Close-up Students Visits the Nation's Capitol




18 May 2016 – This week, a select group of fifty-one Close-up students from across all four States, made a visit to the Office of the President meeting with FSM Vice President Yosiwo P. George at the President’s Conference Room.

Vice President George welcomed the students to the Capitol and spoke to them about the tasks, responsibilities and distinctive roles of the separated branches of the Nation’s system of governance and how they intricately interact. Through engaging discussions, the students were able to explore and pose concerns regarding the Compact post 2023, securing economic development and other interests concerning the government.

Designed to give the students an opportunity to interact with Leaders, the interactive experience with the National Government allowed the students to experience a “Close-up” view and real world insight of the Nation’s capital.  The remarks made by Vice President George to the crowd of students emphasized on the importance of pursuing a higher education and using knowledge for affecting positive change in society. The visit ended with a question and answer period.

Under the direction of Secretary of Education, Kalwin Kephas, chaperons accompanied the students from each respective states. While at Capitol, the students received a tour throughout the 3 branches of the National Government.

The visiting group included eighteen students from Chuuk, eighteen from Pohnpei, eight from Kosrae and seven from Yap.  Vice President was accompanied by special assistant, Mr. Herman Semes Jr.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

International Day of the Midwife 2016


Midwives: health heroes for women, adolescent girls and newborns 

International Day of the Midwife 2016

Statement by Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, UNFPA, The United Nations Population Fund

5 May 2016

On this International Day of the Midwife, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, salutes the contribution of midwives to saving the lives of women, adolescent girls and newborns, sometimes under very difficult circumstances, in hard-to-reach communities, in humanitarian emergencies, and in fragile and conflict-torn countries. 

Well-trained and supported midwives working in communities are uniquely positioned to provide the compassionate, respectful and culturally sensitive care a woman needs during pregnancy and childbirth. Midwifery is equally important for newborns during the critical first month of life, and is a significant contribution to sexual and reproductive health in general. 

Midwives are, therefore, essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. In the past 25 years, the world has almost halved maternal deaths, but every year, some 300,000 women still die during pregnancy and childbirth, and almost 3 million babies do not survive their first four weeks of life. A vast majority of these largely preventable deaths take place in developing and crisis-affected countries. If deployed in larger numbers, trained midwives could avert approximately two thirds of these deaths. Significant investments in midwifery are essential if the world is to achieve its ambitious goals of reducing maternal and newborn deaths. 

UNFPA is helping train and support thousands of midwives in more than 100 countries. A recent survey estimated that in 57 of these countries, UNFPA has trained 66,000 midwives over the past seven years. These critical health-care providers can help more than 11 million women to give birth safely each year, but much more needs to be done. 

On this International Day of the Midwife, we at UNFPA renew our commitment to working with global partners and countries to strengthen midwifery skills and capacities. We call on countries to acclaim and reward midwives who are working in challenging and hard-to-reach areas, where their services are most needed. We also urge countries to invest in quality training, good working conditions, decent salaries, adequate workforce policies and possibilities for professional growth. 

Midwives are our heroes and the backbone of sexual and reproductive health. Let us support them and the women and newborns at the heart of their care. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

President Christian joins fellow International Leaders for Paris Agreement signing ceremony.


 
On Friday April 22, 2016, President Peter M. Christian participated in the High-level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.  During the Ceremony, President Christian joined representatives from 174 other countries in signing the Agreement, marking the largest number of countries ever to sign an international instrument in a single day.  The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted the Agreement in Paris last December.  The Agreement is the first universally applicable international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The Agreement commits all of its Parties to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.  The Agreement also provides for enhancing the ability of all countries—particularly developing countries—to deal with the impacts of climate change, including loss and damage.  To achieve these goals, the Agreement provides for climate financing, a new technology framework to support research and development in climate technology, a new capacity building framework to enhance the capability of developing countries to take effective climate change action, and a robust transparency framework to ensure that Parties properly and fully account for the actions they take under the Agreement.  The Agreement will enter into force after at least 55 Parties representing at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions ratify the Agreement.
After the signing, President Christian delivered a statement that noted the historic milestone achieved by the international community with the adoption of the Agreement in Paris last year, while underscoring that the true test of the success of the Agreement lies in its implementation, particularly at the domestic level.  President Christian called on all Parties to the Agreement to continuously update our emission reduction targets in order to "achieve nationally beyond what we talk about internationally."  President Christian committed the FSM to take concrete actions in furtherance of its targets, including continuing the FSM's leadership role in advocating for the phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol.  HFCs are greenhouse gases that are several orders of magnitude more potent than carbon dioxide, and whose phase-out will greatly aid in the fight against climate change.
President Christian concluded his statement with a plea to the international community to live up to pledges made in connection with the Agreement.  Calling for international solidarity, President Christian expressed his hope that ours is "the generation of world leaders that not only talked about climate change, but walked the deck of a sinking ship to find and plug the holes to save our ship."
Prior to participating in the High-level Signature Ceremony, President Christian visited the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site in downtown Manhattan, where he laid a wreath in remembrance of the victims of the September 11 attacks.
President Christian was accompanied to the High-level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement and to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum by First Lady Maurina Christian, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin S. Robert, Secretary of Justice Joses Gallen, Governor of Chuuk State Johnson Elimo, President Christian's Chief of Staff Leo Falcam, Jr., Ambassador Jane J. Chigiyal, and members of the staff of the Permanent Mission of the Federated States of Micronesia to the United Nations.

Monday, April 25, 2016

PUBLIC ANNOUCEMENT: FSM Will Be Hosting the 47th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)



PUBLIC ANNOUCEMENT


This is to inform the general public that the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) will be hosting the 47th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and related meetings in Pohnpei from September 7-11, 2016. This is an annual Forum for all the leaders of the Pacific Region and it is expected to be attended by Heads of States and Governments across the region with roughly around 500 plus officials and participants. 
                             
One of the challenges in hosting the Forum as stressed by the organizing Committee is on accommodation or number of hotel rooms and apartments that are available in Pohnpei.  As such, the Department of Resources and Development as the focal point of Accommodations Sub-committee has been tasked to coordinate with local and interested individuals, who are willing to rent out their homes during that period.

For more information on the Forum and related meetings, please contact Mr. Jackson T. Soram, FSM Forum contact point from the Department of Foreign Affairs at soram@mail.fm,  or at Telephone no.  (691) 320-2641/2613.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

FSM welcomes the Foreign Minister of Sweden Margot Wallstrom


On Monday, April 11, 2016, Foreign Minister of Sweden, H.E. Margot Wallstrom arrived in the FSM, Pohnpei State. The purpose of her visit was to discuss issues of mutual interest, including climate change, tourism, capacity building, among others, and to also advocate for Sweden’s candidacy to the United Nations Security Council.

During Foreign Minister’s visit, she paid courtesy call on the President, Peter M. Christian, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Lorin S. Robert, Secretary of Resources & Development, Marion Henry, Secretary of Health & Social Affairs, Magdalena A. Walter and Director of Environment and Emergency Management, Mr. Andrew Yatilman. 

On Tuesday, April 12, 2016 Foreign Minister Wallstrom also met with the regional and international organizations in Pohnpei and visited the Pohnpei Utilities Corporation Hydro-plant and the Coastal Protection as a Hazard Mitigation Measure in Awak community. She ended her day with a meeting with the Pohnpei Women’s Advisory Council (PWAC).
Foreign Minister Wallstrom was accompanied by H.E. Mr. Magnus Robach, Ambassador of Sweden to the FSM, who presented his Letter of Credence to President Christian on Friday, April 8, 2016, and five other delegation members. The delegation departed Pohnpei early morning of Wednesday, April 13, 2016.