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Thursday, October 31, 2013
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Friday, October 25, 2013
FSMDOJ (October 25, 2013): On October 22, a panel of Traditional Leaders of Pohnpei met with the FSM Secretary of Justice along with senior staff members from the Division of National Police to discuss a proposed national anti-human trafficking campaign and seek assistance from the Traditional Leaders in launching the campaign. The meeting was chaired by the Honorable Salvador Iriarte, Iso Nahnken of Nett Municipality. The Chair expressed his greetings and appreciation of the presence of the Traditional Leaders, the FSM Secretary of Justice, National Police, Senator Nakasone, IOM representative Emeliana Musrasrik, and those representing Pohnpei State agencies.
The Chair thanked Ms. April Dawn Skilling, the FSM Secretary of Justice, and thanked her for her efforts in combating human trafficking in Pohnpei State and there rest of the FSM. Following the exchange of formalities, Secretary Skilling conveyed her appreciation for the opportunity to meet with the Traditional Leaders. She then provided a concise definition of human trafficking and human smuggling and informed the Leaders that all four States and the National Government have passed anti-human trafficking legislations.
The Traditional Leaders received copies of the National law and Pohnpei state law governing human trafficking as well as supporting documentation including the U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report, as it relates to the FSM, and a summary of the Tier system world-wide ranking of countries in their fight against human trafficking. Secretary Skilling explained the Tier system ranking and discussed steps necessary to move the FSM off the Tier Two Watchlist. The Traditional Leaders were informed that if the FSM remained on the Tier Two Watchlist another year, it would automatically be downgraded to Tier 3, which could affect the receipt of all non-humanitarian aid from the United States.
More importantly, discussions took place that included the need to protect FSM citizens from being trafficked within and outside of the country. Secretary Skilling explained that allegations of trafficking in persons for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor had surfaced and were being investigated in several FSM states.
Two short video public service announcements were shown to the Traditional Leaders in further explanation of human trafficking and its devastating effects on society, communities, and the individual victims. A matrix explained the results of a survey they conducted showing what services and assistance were available in each Pohnpei municipality to assist in the protection of human trafficking victims.
The FSM Department of Justice outlined its proposed national Public Awareness campaign against human trafficking that it intends to launch in January 2014. The campaign is based upon the United Nations Blue Heart campaign and the UK Human Trafficking Centre Blue Blindfold campaign. The proposed campaign will include a nation-wide poster contest for 8th through 12th graders, a Presidential Declaration for a national anti-human trafficking day and a request for a Congressional resolution in support of it, blue heart pins, public service announcements, and community-based discussions involving schools, churches, and other community and civic groups. of the FSM.
The Iso Nahnken explained that the Traditional Leaders had a responsibility to keep their people safe and asked to be kept informed of further developments in the anti-human trafficking campaign spearheaded by the FSM Department of Justice.
The FSM Department of Justice plans to reach out to the leaders and communities in all of the FSM states during the month of November.
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FSMDH&SA (October 25, 2013): On October 14-18, a training on the new Substance Abuse Prevention Skills Training (SAPST) curriculum conducted by Joshua Phillip, a consultant from the Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies (CAPT) West Regional Team based at the University of Nevada, and the Training of Trainers were held at Yvonne Conference room in Pohnpei State. The trained trainers included Hilda Tefdelap from Yap, Florencio “Bobon” Walliby from Chuuk, Artina George and Kennedy Nedlic from Pohnpei and Shiro Sigrah from Kosrae. The training curriculum was developed under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for the Application Technologies.
The training is designed to prepare practitioners to reduce the likelihood of substance abuse and promote well-being among individuals, within families, workplaces, schools, communities and across island nations. The SAPST supports the need in the Pacific for workforce development around substance abuse prevention and demonstrates its direct connection to behavioral health. This approach supports the integrated behavioral health used approach in the Pacific, which promotes positive mental health and preventing substance abuse or misuse.
There were 25 participants from the National and States SAMH programs, Strategic Prevention Framework –State Intensive Grant ( SPF-SIG ) Advisory council members, Evidence Base Intervention group, SPF-SIG sub-recipients and NGOs attended the training. The Training of Trainers will begin providing the SAPT in the communities with the guidance of the FSM Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program and CAPT West Regional Team.
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Economic Partnership Agreement: Discussions between the Pacific–ACP Group and the European Commission ends in stalemate.
FSMR&D (October 25, 2013): A meeting of a core group of Senior Trade and Fisheries Officials from the Pacific-African, Caribbean, and Pacific (PACP) Group and the European Commission (EC) was held on October 14-15, 2013 with a Trade and Fisheries Ministerial on October 17, 2013 in Brussels, Belgium to further discuss the comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU).
Before the formal meetings took place, Papua New Guinea, the biggest EU trading partners in the Pacific Region and the only PACP that has ratified and implemented the interim EPA (iEPA), formally announced that it was withdrawing itself from the comprehensive EPA negotiations. PNG’s main reason was that the comprehensive EPA, as it stands so far, does not provide enough guarantee than what was secured in the iEPA. In addition PNG, like many other countries that are members to the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), is not in favor of conservation and management measures of fisheries resources being discussed in the EPA negotiations.
Following PNG’s withdrawal from the comprehensive EPA negotiations, the EC questioned the relevance of pursuing the negotiations of a comprehensive EPA with the PACPS without the participation of the key player in the PACP Region. As a direct consequence, the meeting of Senior Trade and Fisheries Officials of both Parties on Trade in Goods and Fisheries was suspended. Nevertheless, both Parties agreed to hold an informal meeting to exchange information and share policy objectives on conservation and management of fisheries resources.
At the outset of the informal meeting, the EC stated that is was committed to development in the Pacific including the granting of flexible rules of origin to PACPS for access of their fisheries products into the EU market; however, this must be in a sustainable manner, and should particularly be in line with the recent EU Fisheries Strategy in the Pacific Region adopted by the EU Parliament. For the EC, PACP demands in the comprehensive EPA negotiations (mainly the extension of global sourcing fisheries rules of origin to fresh and frozen fish fillets) were viewed as excessive by its stakeholders; raising endless questions on the implications for fish stocks and the EU industries. According to EC Senior Officials, stakeholders in the EU, in particular the EU Parliament, were expecting commitments from PACPS on conservation and management of fisheries resources, and not just statements of intention.
PACP Senior Officials assured the EC that conservation and sustainable management was a major concern for PACPS given that fisheries resources are their primary and only resource in most cases. PACPS informed the EC that they have taken the steps to develop conservation and management measures (CMMs) that are based on scientific information at the sub-regional and regional level and that such management measures would be better addressed in the context of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and not in the EPA. However, PACPS indicated that they were willing to undertake commitments regarding the transparency of their conservation and management measures. PACPS also reiterated that they will abide by the principle of non-discrimination regarding the management of their fisheries resources.
After explanations and clarifications were given from both sides, the EC reiterated that negotiations for the comprehensive EPA would remain suspended until two key issues are resolved: 1.) PNG participates in the comprehensive EPA negotiations; and 2.) PACPs making commitments to conservation and sustainable management in the EPA.
The FSM was a part of the core group that met with the EC in Brussels to represent the Freely Associated States (FSM, Republic of Marshall Islands, and Palau). Its representatives were Mr. Marion Henry, Secretary of the FSM Department of Resources and Development (FSM R&D), Mr. Eugene Pangelinan, Deputy Director for NORMA, Mrs. Camille Movick-Inatio, Assistant Secretary for Trade and Investment (FSM R&D), and Mr. Jean Bertrand Azapmo, Trade Policy Adviser (FSM R&D).
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Thursday, October 24, 2013
FSM TC&I (October 23, 2013): In March of 2012, the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) by request of the FSM Department of TC&I, under the Human Resources Development Program and funded by the Government of Japan Extra-Budgetary Contribution to APT has selected the Federated States of Micronesia as recipient of US Dollars $56, 000 Grant in-Aide to establish a Telecenter (Internet Access) at the Dispensary (Health Clinic) and High School on Woleai Atoll, Yap State. This is a pilot project to connect rural communities to Internet via Pac-Tel V-Sat Satellite System.
This small scale ICT Project is a joint multi-partnership and cooperative effort between APT and Government of Japan (as the donors) and the National Government (Department of Transportation, Communication & Infrastructure-as leading agency, Department of Health and Social Affairs, Yap State Health Services and Woleai Municipal Government, as the recipients. FSM stakeholders meeting was held in Yap in January of 2012 and all relevant parties accepted and agreed to move forward with the project for Woleai Atoll. Delay of the project is due to several reasons: difficulty in delivery, installation, late arrival of some of the equipment from Australia and conflicting schedules of the ship with the overseas expert availability. Now the schedule of the project is confirmed for February and March of 2014.
In preparation for the project implementation early next year, Mr. Yosuke Uchiyama (KDDI, Japan Rep) the Project Coordinator visited Pohnpei last week for purchasing, testing of the equipment and other necessary work for the project. In addition, Mr. Uchiyama delivered and was accepted by Secretary Francis I. Itimai, Department of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure an additional 11 laptop computers donated by KDDI, Japan in support for the project.
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013
FSMIS (October 23, 2013): President Manny Mori said he signed three Congressional Acts into law today “grudgingly”.
Congressional Act No. 18-21 and Congressional Acts No. 18-23 change the use of funds previously appropriated for public projects in Chuuk State and Pohnpei State. The former deals with funds originally appropriated during the 16th Congress under an allocation that became law on January 21, 2011. The latter deals with a public law that first became effective on June 15, 2012 during the 17th Congress.
For both measures, the President pointed to the lack of committee reports explaining the rationale for shifting funds or changing their uses. He has consistently urged Congress to exercise more transparency in formulating their projects by conducting public hearing that would involve other parties who will play a role in implementing and receiving the projects and programs.
The third item is Congressional Act No. 18-22, which has become FSM Public Law No. 18-22.
The President expressed in his signing message:
“The Congressional Act changes the use of $1,000,000 appropriated for capital project for the Outer Island Airport Upgrade in order to allow the Seaport Upgrade. Deep down in m y heart I know this amount of money is too small to upgrade both the seaports and airports at the same time. We are actively seeking ODA funding to satisfy both of these very essential infrastructures. I urge Congress to continue its funding support for these kinds of projects in the subsequent budget allocation. I thank Congress for passing the Congressional Act.”
These new public laws will soon be available on the fsmcongress.fm site.
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