Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The 8th National Trade Facilitation Meeting to be held at Palikir

The 8th Meeting of the National Trade Facilitation Meeting will be held on February 11-12, 2016 at the Central Facilities Building in Palikir, Pohnpei.
The Chairman of the NTFC, the Honorable Vice President Yosiwo George, is calling this meeting to discuss and validate the findings of the trade facilitation assessment that is being conducted by the World Bank this week. In addition, the Committee will review FSM’s negotiation position for the PACER Plus negotiations and receive updates on other negotiations, such as the Economic Partnership Agreement and the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community, and other trade and investment policy issues.
Members of the NTFC include all heads of National Government departments, offices, and agencies, Chairmen of the States’ Trade Facilitation Committees, and members of the Private Sector and Non-Government Organizations.
For more information, please contact the Department of Resources and Development at telephone number (691) 320-5133.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

FSM Healthcare Coalition and State Health Directors holds its 2nd annual meeting in Pohnpei

The FSM Healthcare Coalition and State Health Directors held its 2nd annual meeting from 18 to 22 January 2016 at Yvonne’s conference room in Pohnpei. Participants from the State and National levels addressed current issues that would provide strategic direction on capacity development in the health sector.

Drawing on a framework to better equip the number of issues identified, pressing issues were brought forefront for discussion. Notable among the action points were medical referrals, guidelines on harmonized reporting pertaining to Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) requirements, state specific strategies, implementation support among other action points with significant regard.

At the end of the week long meeting, a resolution on medical referral was signed by the State Directors and Acting Secretary Mr. Arthy G. Nena.

Participating were Mr. Arthy G. Nena, Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Livinson Taulung, Director of Kosrae Health Services, Mr. Julio Marar, Director of Chuuk Health Services, Ms. Martina Reichhardt, Director of Yap Health Services, Dr. Johnny Hedson, Acting Director of Pohnpei Health Services, Mr. Marcus Samo, Assistant Secretary of Health, Moses Pretrick (National), X-ner Luther (National), Lisa B. Kohler (National), Benito Cantero (National), Mayce Donre (National), Sidney Skilling (Kosrae), Rhine William (Kosrae), Tamae Sigrah (Kosrae), Boone Rain (Chuuk), Augustine Harong (Yap).

For more information, please contact the Department of Health and Human Services at (691) 320-2619.

Vice-President Yosiwo P. George Participated at the Turn-Over Ceremony of the Okat Bridge in Kosrae

The Honorable Vice-President Yosiwo P. George participated at the Turn-Over Ceremony of the Okat Bridge in the State of Kosrae, which was held in the morning of January 21, 2015.  The new Okat Bridge is funded by the government of the People’s Republic of China to replace the old bridge in Okat.  The Okat Bridge project is one of the largest projects and the first of its kind, ever donated to the Federated States of Micronesia by the Government of the People’s Republic of China and another largest project ever donated to Kosrae by the Chinese Government.  The Kosrae High School project that was built six years ago, is another important project resulting from the China-FSM Cooperation. The new Okat Bridge project was constructed by a Chinese company, Scichuan Road and Bridge Group Cooperation Company and started back in October 2014.

In his statement, Vice-President George expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the people and Government of the People’s Republic of China through Ambassador Li Jie, who was attending the turn-over ceremony on behalf of the government of the People’s Republic of China. The Vice-President indicated that he was happy to see a huge crowd gathered in Okat to witness the ceremony, which was an indication of great appreciation and thankfulness for the successful completion of the important project. Toward the end, he conveyed that the FSM National leadership shares the same feeling of pride and appreciation for the completion of the bridge. Vice-President George also indicated that it was a coincidence that the grand opening of the Okat Bridge took place, in the New Year 2016, which marks the FSM’s 30th Anniversary of our FSM Independence.

He stated that the new bridge is and would become a permanent landmark in Kosrae.  It would stand as a symbol of the strong partnership between FSM and China and the friendship of our people and would not only symbolize a strong connection and a permanent bridge between FSM and China but would actually improve the connection and access from the main island of Kosrae with the important commercial area and would encourage business and commercial development.

He reiterated that the FSM highly values and enjoys its diplomatic relationship with China, which was forged 27 years ago and that the FSM has remained committed and will continue to respect China’s policies, including One-China Policy.

He concluded his statement by thanking the officials and workers of Sichuan Road and Bridge Group Cooperation Company, the project contractor, for their hard and excellent workmanship.

While in Kosrae, Vice-President George held meetings with the leadership of Kosrae as well as with Ambassador Li and his staff.  He was accompanied to the ceremony by Second Lady Antilise George and representatives from the Departments of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure (TC&I).

1st China-FSM Economic and Trade Commission Meeting

Palikir, Pohnpei (Dept. of Foreign Affairs).  On January 25, 2016, Zhang Xiangchen, Deputy China International Trade Representative and Vice Minister headed a Ministry of Commerce delegation to the FSM to attend the 1st China-FSM Economic and Trade Commission meeting in Pohnpei. The purpose of the meeting is to promote economic and trade opportunities between FSM and China.

Prior to the convening of the Commission, the Vice Minister paid a courtesy call on President Christian.

Secretary of Foreign Affairs and co-chairman of the meeting, T.H. Lorin Robert opened the meeting at 9:30 a.m. at Cliff Rainbow Hotel and welcomed the delegation again to the FSM. Secretary Robert thanked the Government of the People’s Republic of China through T.H. Zhang Xiangchen for initiating the historic occasion, commencing the first ever China-FSM Economic and Trade Commission Meeting. He further stated he takes pride to be part of the meeting knowing that FSM was the second country in the Pacific Islands to ever establish such meeting with China. Secretary Robert continued by stressing the importance of the meeting to further strengthen the Sino-FSM relations.
T.H. Zhang Xiangchen responded by thanking Secretary Robert for the hospitality extended to his delegation upon arrival. He reiterated his appreciation to the FSM Government for the opportunity to sit down face to face to strengthen the bilateral relations between FSM and China. He further touched on a number of important issues that will enhance the working relations between the two countries.

There were a number of agenda discussions led by the co-chairs that solicited focus issues relating to their respective areas. Additionally, there were a number of interventions from Secretary of Resources and Development, T.H. Marion Henry, Secretary of Education, T.H. Kalwin Kephas, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Carlson Apis, and Mr. Akillino Susaia on matters pertaining to relevant issues. 

The meeting concluded with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by Secretary Robert and T.H. Zhang Xiangchen, Deputy China International Trade Representative on behalf of their respective governments.

For more information, please contact the Department of Foreign Affairs in Palikir at (691)320-2613. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

President Christian Receives the New Australian Ambassador

 25 January 2016, Palikir, Pohnpei – H.E. Peter M. Christian, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, received the Letter of Credence from newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Australia to the FSM, Mr. George Andrew Fraser on Monday afternoon at the President’s Conference room.

(L-R: Vice President George, President Christian and Ambassador Fraser)
In welcoming the newly appointed Ambassador, President Christian opened dialogue by stating his congratulatory remarks for the accreditation of Ambassador Fraser and expressed appreciation towards Australia for being a strong supporter of the FSM. The President indicated that the FSM stands ready to engage in elements both at the bilateral and regional level, primarily for FSM to reciprocate its friendly ties by establishing its first office in Australia.

Within the framework of strengthening development and nation-building efforts, both sides exchanged views that would ensure the bilateral relationship to strengthen between the two governments.  President Christian, also indicating that the continued assistance from Australia would be measured by FSM’s national development plan, also noted that stimulating economic growth in the FSM is one of the most important issues on the Nation’s agenda.

President Christian reiterated his appreciation towards Australia and wished Ambassador Fraser success in his new post.

Accompanying President Christian were, Vice President Yosiwo George, Secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs; Lorin Robert, Secretary of Department of Justice; Joses Gallen, Chief of Staff Leo Falcam Jr., and staff.

FSM Integrated Agriculture Census Pilot Testing Training held at the former Pohnpei Agriculture and Trade School Campus in Madolenihmw, Pohnpei.

The Pilot Testing Training for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Integrated Agriculture Census Project officially opened on Monday morning, January 18, 2016, at the former Pohnpei Agriculture and Trade School (PATS) Campus in Madolenihmw, Pohnpei. 

The integrated agriculture census project is a nation-wide effort to enumerate household activities in agriculture, forestry, livestock and fisheries. It will provide a much-needed statistical profile of the country in these sectors and enable the assessment of FSM’s capacity in food security.  The census is the first of its kind; a multi-sector cooperative effort which will create an opportunity to empower our natural resource management and statistics agencies in evidence-based policy management and development.

During the five-day training, the State Trainers will be coached on team management elements of this project, review the census questionnaire, practice in mock exercises and then field test the questionnaires in the pilot exercise.
This Training was facilitated by the FSM Department of Resources (FSMR&D) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Services Agency (USDA-NRCS). The twenty-six training participants were from – Chuuk Department of Agriculture, Chuuk Marine Resources Department, Kosrae Department of Resources and Economic Affairs, Kosrae Island Resource Management Authority, Pohnpei Office of Economic Affairs’ Division of Agriculture, Pohnpei Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry, College of Micronesia – FSM’s Pohnpei Cooperative Extension Services, Yap Department of Resources and Development’s Divisions of Agriculture and Forestry and Marine Resources, and National Statistics’ Chuuk, Kosrae and Pohnpei Field Offices.

The Training was opened by Mr. Mathew Chigiyal, Statistics Assistant Secretary, on behalf of the Department Secretary Marion Henry and welcomed by Ms. Alissa Takesy, Resource Management and Development Division, where they paid their highest respect to the land, traditional leadership, church leaders and communities in Madolenihmw for hosting this nation-wide training endeavor.

 “This training is a milestone for our Agriculture Policy and ‘a dream come true’ for those of us who have been in this work (agriculture) for years” explained Mr. Adelino Lorens, Chief of Pohnpei State Agriculture Division.  “This census will help us to take stock of our natural resources, guide us in developing them, and put them on reserve for traditional use as we are experiencing in this sakau (kava) ceremony hosted by our Pohnpei State hosts” said Assistant Secretary Chigiyal at the closing reception.

Ms. Marlyter Silbanuz, FSMR&D Agriculture Program Manager, and Ms. Brihmer Johnson, FSMR&D Statistician, concluded the training with each State training team selecting their pilot testing enumeration area, scheduling their respective field exercises and providing feedback to the training facilitators to finalize the census questionnaire and progress towards the census enumeration schedule in July 2016.  On behalf of the Department and training facilitators, Ms. Takesy gave the closing statement and expressed her sincerest appreciation to the Madolenihmw local community members of Nanwei, Temwen, Leihak,  Tamworohi, Keprohi, Pohnauleng, Mand, and Pohnmweli  for volunteering their time in taking part in the pilot testing.

For details, please contact the Department of Resources and Development, by email: fsmrd@fsmrd.fm or telephone: +691 320-2620/2646/5133.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

President Christian visits Mwoakilloa and Pingelap Atolls

As part of his commitment to engage and dialogue with the FSM people, President Peter M. Christian visited the Eastern Islands of Mwoakilloa and Pingelap from January 12-15, 2016. Accompanying President Christian were Pohnpei State Senators Maske Jim of Mwoakilloa, Daniel Isaac of Pingelap, and Cindylina Lekka of Nukuoro. The timely visits took place immediately following those Municipalities’ recent inaugurations of their new Governments.  

On both Mwoakilloa and Pingelap Atolls, President Christian first engaged in open forums with residents, followed by formal meetings with Municipal officials.   President Christian and his entourage also conducted site visits to the airstrips and the elementary school facilities on these Atolls. 

Common to these public facilities in both locations was the need for some repair and improvement work to ensure the safety of travelling visitors, citizens, and school students. President Christian assured municipal officials of both Atolls that he will do all he can to assist in these efforts; he also urged officials that as a first step, it would be appropriate that these requests for improvements are forwarded to the Governor of Pohnpei State and the Pohnpei State Legislature.

Since his election to the Presidency, President Christian has completed State visits to all the FSM States, as well as visits to numerous outer islands of the Federation.  In the coming months, he plans to continue his outreach activities throughout the Nation’s other outer island communities.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mr. John Fritz takes Oath of Office as FSM Ambassador to Japan

(President Christian swears in Mr. John Fritz as FSM Ambassador to Japan. Holding the Bible is Ambassador Fritz first cousin Iolani Irons. Looking on is Vice President Yosiwo George)

15 January, 2016, Palikir, Pohnpei  – The Honorable John Fritz was officially sworn in as the FSM Ambassador Plenipotentiary to Japan by His Excellency President Peter Christian on Friday afternoon at the President’s Conference room.

Emphasizing the significance of the ceremony, the Oath of Office administered by President Christian took place less than two months after the FSM 19th Congress re-confirmed Mr. John Fritz appointment to the post in November 2015.  Ambassador Fritz served as the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) in Tokyo prior to his first Japan Ambassadorial posting in 2008; he served as the Ambassador to Japan during the FSM’s previous administration, from 2008 – 2015.

In the presence of President Christian, Vice President George, Senior staff, Secretaries, family, and the FSM Honorary Consul in Fukuoka, Japan, Ambassador Fritz expressed his gratitude to President Christian and the Leadership for the confidence in him to continue to serve as the FSM’s Senior diplomat and representative to Japan.  He also assured the President of his commitment to perform his diplomatic duties to the best of his abilities, emphasizing the need to represent the Nation’s interests, and further strengthen the close ties that already exist between the people of Japan, and the two governments.

Also present at the brief ceremony were Vice President Yosiwo George, Secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs; Lorin Robert, Secretary of Department of Justice; Mr. Joses Gallen and other senior staff of the National Government.

Future Waste Management Priorities agreed upon at the final Meeting of the J-PRISM Project for FSM

Palikir, Pohnpei -The final National Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) Meeting, organized by the Office of Environment and Emergency Management (OEEM) in collaboration with the Japan Promotion of Regional Initiative on Solid Waste Management(J-PRISM), was held on December 17, 2015 at FSM OEEM Conference Room in Palikir, Pohnpei. 
5th National JCC meeting participants
The meeting brought together representatives from the State Environmental Protection Agencies/KIRMA, Departments of Public Works and Transportation and Infrastructure, National Government Department of Transportation, Communication, and Infrastructure, Office of Development Assistance, Pohnpei Waste  Management Services, Trash Kings, OEEM, JICA, and Embassy of Japan.  
Since this was the final meeting and the end of the first phase of the project, participants discussed and exchanged ideas on the remaining activities of the project, and  proposed priority actions for Solid Waste Management for the FSM states.
 Some of the priority actions included:
  1. updating Coin Deposit Legislations (CDLs) to include more recyclable products than just aluminum cans.  For example, in the case of Kosrae State  recycling,  batteries, plastic bottles, glass bottles have been included
  2. Improving sharing of information through a newsletter and/or websites
  3. Strengthening communication network among the states and OEEM
  4. Including waste management agenda through sessions during Environment Conferences and EPA Directors Meetings
  5. Sharing of State Action Plans to OEEM for policy making purposes and coordination on addressing gaps
  6. Implementing segregation of waste at the household level
  7. Implementing the Leachate Monitoring Guidelines

During the discussions, it was evident that waste management is still a priority in the FSM and the participants reaffirmed their commitment to ensure the implementation of  their State Solid Waste Management Action Plans.
The management of waste collection and operations of disposal systems, landfill development, and improved dumpsites are some of the project activities that have progressed under the 5-year J-PRISM Project.  J-PRISM Project is funded by the Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA) and is partnered with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Vice President George Attends Memorial Service for CNMI Late Governor Inos

On January 11, 2016, FSM Vice President Yosiwo George arrived on Saipan to attend the state funeral for the late Governor Eulogio Songao Inos of Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
Vice President George was among many heads of state and government officials who attended the memorial tribute on January 12, 2016 at the Borja Funeral Home.  On behalf of President Peter Christian, and the Government and the people of FSM, Vice President George conveyed sympathy to the family of the late Governor and the people of CNMI for the unfortunate passing of Governor Inos.
Governor Inos held office from 2013-2015 and served as Lieutenant Governor of CNMI from 2009-2013 before he assumed office as Governor. Gov. Eloy S. Inos passed away at the age of 66, on Tuesday December 29, 2015, following recovery from open heart surgery in Seattle, Washington.

Accompanying Vice President George was the FSM Guam Consul General, Mr. Robert Ruecho.