Monday, September 28, 2015

FSM and China Sign the Biggest Grant Assistance

Palikir, Pohnpei (Department of Foreign Affairs):  On Friday, September 18, 2015, a signing ceremony took place at the President’s conference room between Acting Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carlson D. Apis and Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Li Jie. The ceremony was witnessed by President Peter M. Christian, Vice President Yosiwo P. George and key staff of the National Government. The ceremony was on a grant assistance of about RMB 63,850,000 (equivalent of about more than 10 million US dollars) from the Chinese Government to the FSM. The gratuitous assistance is by far the biggest assistance granted from China to the FSM. The purpose of the assistance is for the provision of 15 vehicles and other projects agreed between the two parties.

Prior to the signing of the agreements, Ambassador Li called on President Christian and Vice President George. He thanked the President of the opportunity to convey the grant assistance to the FSM on behalf of the Chinese Government. He further stated that the assistance is timely delivered to the FSM during its transition period and hoped that the FSM Government will prioritize projects to utilize the assistance.

President Christian expressed his gratitude to the China government, through Ambassador Li, for the generous support and assured Ambassador Jie that he is confident that the provisions will be allocated and utilized efficiently. He further acknowledged that the good gesture of generosity is a sign of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. He further stated that the grant assistance will certainly contribute to the FSM’s ongoing nation building efforts. President Christian assured Ambassador Li that the time delivery of the provision of the fifteen vehicles to the FSM before the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in 2016 will be very much appreciated to assist the transportation needs during the important meeting.

President Christian further noted efforts on air transportation, in light of advancing accessibility to other countries with alternative services, and contributing the developing of the Yap International Airport into a more international standard airport to serve as a gateway to Asia.

For further information on this release, please contact Department of Foreign Affairs, APAMA Division at (691) 320-2613.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Secretary Kalwin Kephas attends Peace Corp-Micronesia Swear-in Ceremony

On Monday September 21, 2015, Secretary Kalwin Kephas of the FSM Department of Education represented President Peter M. Christian in a swear-in ceremony of new peace corp. volunteers, under its response program.

At the outset of his remark, Secretary Kephas thanked US Ambassador Doria Rosen and Peace Corp-Micronesia Director Robert Reid for the invitation extended for the FSM to participate in the ceremony. He welcomed the volunteers and congratulated them for their selection to be part of a program that represents America’s fundamental values and ideals, and has its roots in the promotion of world peace and friendship.

The Secretary
touched on the legacy of the program and its significant contribution to the global growth and prosperity of the United States and its peoples. A global growth that he stated is represented by the more than 200,000 Americans who have served in the program in over 140 countries. Noting the areas of assignment of the volunteers, Secretary Kephas confirmed the importance of the targeted sector areas to the FSM.

He stated that aid coordination is needed to ensure harmonization and streamlining of assistance; that information technology to support educational institutions is critical for effective and efficient information sharing and dissemination; that the role of the civil society in complimenting set development priorities is an indispensible part of economic growth for any country, including the FSM; that effective gathering of statistical data in the heath sector is needed to develop evidence-based decisions and policies. Lastly, the Secretary affirmed environmental health as an area that is also of importance to the FSM.

Working alongside people of the FSM, he encouraged the volunteers to have a rewarding and enriching experience on their respective tours. The Secretary also affirmed his desire and hope for the continued participation of the national government in such ceremonies as it provides an excellent opportunity for both parties (FSM and US) to acknowledge and highlight the people-to-people element of the partnership between the two countries. This, he affirmed, is very important and is a core pillar of the special friendship. He ended his remark by thanking the volunteers for their kind service.

The volunteers and their areas of assignments are as follow: Marshall Ferrin (Specialists in Aid Coordination, Pohnpei), Eric Muehling (Educational Website Support, Kosrae), Michelle Budwitz (Chuuk Women’s Council, Chuuk), Ronald Armstrong (Health Data, Yap) and Charles Pinkus (Environmental Health, Palau).


Monday, September 21, 2015

The Joint Economic Management Committee Holds Its Annual Meetin

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Office of the President, September 16, 2015) - On September 1, 2015, the Joint Economic Management Committee or JEMCO held its annual meeting in Honolulu, Hawai’i. At the meeting JEMCO approved three grant allocation resolutions.

The FSM request for the sector grants, excluding infrastructure, was $52,168,585 but only $50,835,415 was approved by JEMCO. The education and health budgets have been granted in full while cuts were made to the public sector capacity building, private sector development, and environment sectors.  The FSM JEMCO members stressed that the impact of these cuts, in what appear to be small grants, will be large at the State level. The committee’s final decision to cut funding to these sectors reflects a lack of sensitivity to the economic and financial situation in the States.

While the allocations to the education and health sectors are welcome and appear to be full grants, the FSM is disappointed that the previous 10 percent in operational grants allocated to the National Government, which the FSM Congress has redistributed to the States through amendment to the distribution formula in FY2015, have not been allowed by the US to be passed through to the operational budgets of the States. This withholding of $4 million in much needed funds to the States at a time of economic and financial stress is not in line with the spirit of the Amended Compact.  The FSM National Government is hopeful that for the FY2017 budget, JEMCO will increase the operational budgets of the States to the full amount they are entitled to under the Amended Compact.

The FSM requested a grant of $66.5 million for its infrastructure program.  This grant was to implement the first year of projects, as prioritized by the States, in the updated Infrastructure Development Plan 2015. The Plan is currently being finalized for endorsement later this month. However, the JEMCO resolution only provided for three projects – two in Pohnpei and one in Chuuk, totaling $16 million, which will be available after the Plan is completed. FSM National Government sees this as stalling the country’s economic recovery.

For the prior year unallocated sector grant assistance, the FSM States had requested $12,360,052 in project grants, but only $8,736,340 of grants are being approved by JEMCO. Once again, the withholding of funds from the States when every dollar counts towards their economic recovery, does not sit well with the FSM National Government   

Overall, the FSM was disappointed in the reaction of JEMCO to the urgent needs of the FSM. Our focus was on growing the economy by creating jobs through reinstating the infrastructure program and full allocation of FSM budget requests. The outcome on the other-hand, fell short of the FSM needs. While the FSM appreciates the focus on the social sectors, it is struggling to understand JEMCO’s strategy for achieving the key objectives of the Amended Compact of economic sustainability and budgetary self-reliance for FSM. 

For more detailed information about the 2015 Annual JEMCO meeting, please contact the FSM Compact Management Division at (691) 320-6260.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Vice President Yosiwo P. George Endorsed the Charter of the Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF) and Suva Declaration

04 September 2015 (Office of the President): At the invitation of the Prime Minister of Fiji the Honorable Josaia V. Bainimarama to the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to attend the Third Leader’s Summit for the Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF), Vice President Yosiwo P. George headed a delegation to participate in the 3rd Summit for the Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF) from 2-4 September 2015 at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji.  The theme for the Third Leader’s Summit for the PIDF was “Building Climate Resilient Green Blue Pacific Economies.” During the plenary sessions at this PIDF, presentations were given on the challenges, leadership, partnership, and innovations for climate change resilient followed by the open discussions on the Pacific Path to the upcoming 21st Conference of Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Paris early December this year.  The two most important document outcomes of the Third PIDF were the approved Suva Declaration on the climate change, which represents the collective voices of the Pacific Island Countries on climate change, and the Charter of the PIDF.

While in Suva Fiji, Vice President George submitted FSM’s proposal to phase out the hydro fluorocarbons (HFC) under the Montreal Protocol in the Suva Declaration, which was accepted by all leaders. The Pacific Leaders plan to use this Declaration to garner support at key meetings such as United Nations (UN) meeting on sustainable development, Commonwealth Heads of Government, the 21st COP at the UNFCC.

At the last Friday, 04 September 2015, of the 3rd PIDF, Vice President George was amongst many leaders signed the Charter of PIDF, which launched the PIDF as an international organization. The PIDF Charter sets up the PIDF with respect to its purposes and functions; structure and processes; funding mechanisms; review process; dispute mechanism; and how it is to come into effect. The Charter was developed through many rigorous discussions, written submission, and workshops from all stakeholders. The FSM’s signing of the Charter signified FSM’s solidarity with the Pacific Island Countries in the PIDF. Pacific Island Countries that signed the Charter were: Fiji, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organizations (PIANGO).

The members of Vice President’s delegation were Mr. Berlino Martin, Charge d’ Affairs of the FSM Embassy in Suva, Fiji, and Special Assistant/Advisor to the Vice President Mr. Herman Semes, Jr.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Vice President Yosiwo P. George Leads a Delegation to the Second-India Forum for Pacific Islands Cooperation

(Left to Right: Special Assistant Herman Semes Jr., Ambassador Lalduhthlana Ralte, Vice President Yosiwo P. George and Brendy Carl)

August 31, 2015 (FSM Department of Foreign Affairs): At the invitation of T.H. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India to the FSM to attend the Second-India Forum for Pacific Islands Cooperation, Vice President Yosiwo P. George headed a delegation to India to participate in the Forum. Vice President George was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Antelise Y. George, T.H. Marion Henry, Secretary of Resources and Development, Mr. Brendy H. Carl, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asian Affairs and Mr. Herman Semes Jr., Special Assistant to the Vice President.

On the way to India, the delegation made a stop-over in Hong Kong to catch the next flight out to India. In Hong Kong, Vice President George and his delegation had an opportunity to meet with the FSM Honorary Consul, Dr. Tan Siu Lin and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Luen Thai Holding Limited and at the Luen Thai Headquarters. The delegation first toured Dr. Tan’s office and followed by a meeting with the Board of Directors. In the short meeting, Dr. Tan thanked the Vice President for his visit to Hong Kong after assuming his post as the Vice President of the FSM. Vice President George responded by thanking Dr. Tan for the warm welcome and hoped that he will continue to promote FSM in Hong Kong. The delegation departed on the same day to India.

While in India, Vice President George and his delegation joined the delegations from the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) to visit Taj Mahal in Agra City in the Uttar Pradesh State and the Amer Palace in city of Jaipur. They also attended a number of presentations by the Ministers’ of External Affairs, Culture and Tourism, Power, Coal and renewable energy.

On August 21, 2015 at 6:00 pm in Jaipur, Prime Minister Modi opened the summit and allowed each head of delegation for a 5 minutes remark. Vice President George was the 4th to deliver his statement where he personally thanked the Government of India through Prime Minister Modi for hosting a forum that will further cemented the friendly cooperation and friendship between India and the Pacific Island Countries. He furthered touched on a number a challenges that are facing the PICs that will require collaborative efforts, such as climate change and so forth.

On August 22, 2015, a short ceremony was held in the Vice President’s room in New Delhi on a donation of $200,000 specifically for the Department of Resources and Development on a project entitled, “FSM Intergrated Agriculture Census.” Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of India to the FSM, H.E. Lalduhthlana Ralte presented a symbolic check to Vice President George to official hand over the donation. Both parties exchange pleasantries and the ceremony was concluded.

The delegation departed India for Pohnpei in the evening of 22 August 2015. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

FSM and PNG Sign Amendment to Maritime Boundaries

Left to Right:  Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, SPC Director-General Dr. Colin Tukuitonga, President Peter M. Christian

 On September 7, 2015 in Port Moresby, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea signed the Amendment to their Maritime Boundaries Treaty.  The amendment improves the treaty with new coordinates and maps in the original treaty signed back in July 1991 in Palikir, Pohnpei.  H.E. Peter M. Christian, President of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Prime Minister of PNG, the Right Honorable Peter O’Neil signed the amendment on the occasion of the 46th Pacific Island Forum held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

With the advancements of technology and mapping systems, FSM and PNG have been working together in the last few years to improve the coordinates used through a series of technical and legal meetings supported by the SPC-Geoscience Division and the Attorney Generals’ Department of Australia and Forum Fisheries Agency.  President Christian thanked those agencies for their legal, technical and financial support, which has culminated in the signing of the Amendment to the original treaty.  He expressed with appreciation that the two countries can now go to sleep and wake up not asking if someone has moved the boundaries.  

Speaking before the signing, Prime Minister O’Neil stated that “This will enhance some of the work that we are going to do in fisheries and other maritime activities between our two countries”.  Both Leaders stressed the improvement that this amendment will make on fisheries management and enforcement of their waters rich in tuna resources.  President Christian also thanked PNG for their continued leadership in other collaborative work with FSM.  These on-going efforts include: the Joint submission on the Ong Tong Java Plateau continental shelf, FSM’s Euripik Rise and Mussau Ridge submission’s.  President Christian concluded his remarks by stating that the signing of the Amendment closes a 24 year “unfinished business” on the FSM-PNG maritime boundaries and it is time to move on to other important cooperative arrangements that the two countries can mutually benefit from.

Friday, September 4, 2015

MiCare discontinues coverage for Genesis Hospital and its Pharmacy and Dentistry

Scholarship grants for SIDS (water sector)

"In August 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education jointly launched the project "Strengthening Small Island Developing States’ capacity in the water sector to cope with the effects of climate change”. The project aims to strengthen the capacity of professionals and decision makers to improve water management in SIDS, to better address future challenges such as coping with the effects of climate change."

The project beneficiaries are seeking water professionals for 2015 and 2016. For more information, please click on the following text.

Apply Here

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

President Christian Receives China's Special Envoy, H.E. Du Qiwen

On August 27, 2015, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, Peter M. Christian received Ambassador Du Qiwen, China’s Special Envoy to the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) at the President’s conference room in Palikir. The visit by Ambassador Du to the FSM was his second time this year and first time to meet President Christian after assuming his post. 

During the call, President Christian welcomed Ambassador Du Qiwen for his visit to the FSM and acknowledged his frequent visits to the FSM. He further expressed his appreciation for the continued friendship that was forged 26 years ago when China and FSM established diplomatic relations. President Christian touched on important issues relating to the bilateral assistance from China to the FSM and hope that the two countries will work together to enhance the friendly cooperation and partnership to a new level. President Christian assured Ambassador Du of the FSM’s commitment to the bilateral relations with China.  He further requested China’s assistance to the FSM for the 2016 Pacific Islands Forum to be hosted by the FSM.

Ambassador Du regarded the FSM as a good friend and important partner and expressed that China is ready to further advance the cooperation that already exists.  He assured President Christian that China will do all the necessary measures to assist FSM on its social and development efforts. He thanked President Christian for the FSM’s continued commitment to the bilateral relations.

Ambassador Du was accompanied by Ambassador Li Jie, Ambassador of China to the FSM, and other staff from the China Embassy.

For further information on this release, please contact the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs, APAMA Division.