Tuesday, October 2, 2012

JEMCO Adopts Three Resolutions at Annual Meeting

Palikir, Pohnpei – FSM Information Services
October 1, 2012

Palikir, POHNPEI (FSM Office of SBOC) – The Joint Economic and Management Committee (JEMCO) met on September 19, 2012 in Honolulu Hawaii for its 2012 Annual Meeting.

Out of the three unanimous resolutions passed, the most notable was the retraction of a previously adopted resolution capping scholarship funding. JEMCO Resolution 2011-4, passed by the Committee at the 2011 Annual Meeting, resolved to limit Compact-funding for scholarships at $1 million, which would have been a one-time cut of over $1.2 million and affected more than 100 current scholarship recipients. Given efforts by the FSM Office of SBOC and National Department of Education to further clarify previously submitted data to OIA, JEMCO has now resolved to phase-out the funding cap over a four-year period rather than instituting a one-time cut-off.

Vice Chairman Lorin S. Robert began his opening remarks with a moment of silence in honor of a recently fallen FSM soldier in Afghanistan, Army Spc. Sgt. Sapuro Nena of Kosrae. Vice Chairman Robert assessed that “despite unflagging US assistance and the dedicated hard work of both governments, we are approaching the halfway point of the Amended Compact’s financial provisions and the momentum toward our social and economic goals has yet to be established.” He went on to note that the challenges that the FSM faces in nation-building have been made more difficult by the global economic downturn of the past few years. “But whatever has brought us to the point where we now stand, the message is clear: Ten more years of business as usual, ten more years of focus by this Committee primarily on unaccountability without more practical and direct encouragement with our economic development, is certain to leave us standing far short of our mutual Compact goals in 2023.”

Chairman Nikolao Pula noted during his opening remarks that at this half-way point of the Amended Compact, several challenges need to be considered. First, the FSM as a whole must better manage the annual Compact funding decrements through a long-term fiscal framework. Second, serious reform is needed in Chuuk, particularly in education. To this end, Chairman Pula indicated that he looks forward to meeting with the Chuuk State Leadership in November to discuss a credible education reform process, appropriate ways of tracking and necessary monitoring with the end goal of delivering better education to the children of Chuuk. Third and finally, Chairman Pula expressed concerns regarding the timing of the JEMCO Meeting and reiterated his appeal to staff and relevant officials for the timely submission of information in order for JEMCO to make informed decisions and avoid unprecedented unfunding of programs.

The one month postponement of this year’s annual JEMCO Meeting allowed more time for both FSM and US staff to exchange necessary information that would help guide decisions and budget allocations. Both Chairman Pula and Vice Chairman Robert expressed appreciation for all the work that went into making information available prior to the meeting. Chairman Pula concluded the meeting by congratulating the three governments that have completed the LTFF exercise and indicated that he looks forward to hearing about the remaining two, Pohnpei State and the National Government.

To request a full copy of the JEMCO Outcome document or for further information, please visit the Office of Statistics, Budget and Economic Management, Overseas Development Assistance & Compact Management Division of Compact Management’s website at www.sboc.fm or contact the SBOC Division of Compact Management at (691) 320-6260 or email slowe@sboc.fm.

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