Monday, November 30, 2015

FSM Hosts the 2015 Joint Committee Meeting with the US

Palikir, Pohnpei – On Friday November 20th, the Federated States of Micronesia hosted the annual Joint Committee Meeting with the United States of America, commonly referred to as the JCM. The meeting was held at the Pacific Missionary Aviation (PMA) auditorium in Kolonia with high-level attendants from both Governments, and continues to serve as a platform for the two countries to jointly discuss issues of importance and of common interest, specifically as it relates to security and defense matters as prescribed in Title III of the Amended Compact of Free-Association Treaty.

The meeting commenced with an opening remark by T.H. Samson E. Pretrick, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Head of the FSM delegation to the JCM. He welcomed all visiting delegates to the FSM and affirmed that the defense and security arrangement between the two countries is a vital element of the bilateral partnership between the FSM and the United States. Sincere appreciation of the FSM for the level of security protection accorded to its territory and people, as part of the extension of the American defense umbrella, as highlighted.  The Deputy Secretary reflected on the recent tragic incidences in France and affirmed that continuing collective efforts are needed to enhance the global fights against terrorism. A moment of silence was called for to honor the victims of the tragic event.

Fitting for the occasion, the Deputy Secretary also reflected on FSM’s citizens’ continuing enlistment into the US Armed forces and affirmed that the FSM continue to be proud of their service and for their sacrifices and contributions to combating injustice and in expanding the benefits of democracy and rule of law around the globe. A wreath-laying ceremony for participants of the JCM was held to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Among others, some of the issues that were discussed included efforts to improve and strengthen maritime security, updates on the enlistment of FSM citizens into the US Armed Forces, updates on the current works of the FSM Transnational Crime Unit (TCU), and works on efforts to implement projects under the HA-FSM and the Civic Construction Action Detail (CCAD) programs. For the former, the upcoming project to renovate the Pohnpei State Correctional Facility under the HA-FSM program was discussed. Highlights on successes of recent engagements with the US Coast Guard were reported, as well as updates on the ongoing military build-up in Guam and the recently Pacific Partnership Mission held in the FSM last summer. As part of the report of the Mission, Mrs. Bernolina Hedson, Nurse/Midwife of Pohnpei State Hospital, and Mr. Benito Cantero of the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs also reported on respective experience and success stories of the Mission, with affirmation of the immense contribution of the Mission to local capacity-building. For the first time in the JCM process, the issue of veteran’s benefits was also discussed.   

With the Deputy Secretary was Acting Secretary Clayton Lawrence of the Department of Justice, FSM Ambassador to Washington D.C. Asterio Takesy, FSM Consul General in Guam Robert Ruecho, FSM Consul General in Hawaii Kandhi Elieisar and other national officials. The Governor of the State of Pohnpei, T.H. Marcelo Peterson was also in attendance along with other state officials.  Heading the US delegation was Her Excellency Ambassador Doria Rosen and Rear Admiral Bette Bolivar, Commander of the Joint Region Marianas and US Defense Representative to the FSM, and other supporting delegates.

Friday, November 27, 2015

For FAS citizens in Hawaii: Register For Health Insurance on Nov 29th


810 N. Vineyard Blvd

Bring documents: Passport, I-94 Social Security and Income information
PARKING: We will be in the dining room at Palama Settlement.  From Vineyard heading West, turn into our campus just after Pua Lane.  There is a small parking lot in front of the swimming pool.  We also have parking behind the gym and another lot on Palama Street which is just past our property.  The Dining room is located behind our iconic Rath Building that fronts Vineyard.  Attached is an aerial map.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Public Announcement

***Notification to citizens and consumers regarding commercial Long Distance phone calls INTO the Federated States of Micronesia***


November 24, 2015 

FSMTC wishes to advise the general public and especailly its valued customers that we have been informed that some calls outside of FSM to Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae and Yap phone and mobile numbers are failing to reach intended called party. Examples of call failures are the called number rings indefinitely, is going to wrong country (party) or hangs up. FSMTC would like to advise that any customers experieincing this to please know that there are steps you can take to resolve the issue:
  1. 1)  Caller should contact their long distance provider to inform them their calls to FSM are not successfully going through.
  2. 2)  Caller can also advise their long distance provider or operator to route their calls via these recommended carriers: AT&T, TATA, SPRINT, and NEXHOP.
  3. 3)  Caller can also contact FSMTC customer service to report who their long distance provider is and the nature of the call problems they are having. (email
FSMTC also wishes to inform customers abroad that this issue with getting in touch with their colleagues, friends and family back home in the FSM is not a result of any technical network problems at FSMTC, but rather a commerical voice call routing issue that needs to be corrected on the caller provider’s end. Please be assured we are also communicating with operators all over the world to resolve this issue immediately and place great priority on connecting your calls to FSM.
Thank you.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Latest Statisical Highlights

Gross domestic product (GDP) is one of the primary indicators used to assess the health of a country's economy. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period; you can think of it as the size of the economy.
In FY 2014, FSM’s GDP dropped by 3.4 percent since last year. This resulted from a major decline in the construction industry at -2.7 percent and transport, storage, and communication industry at -0.6 percent. 
In third quarter of 2015, the number of arrivals into the FSM was 8,387; indicating an increase of 8.6 percent compared with the first quarter.  The average monthly arrival for 2015 is 2,000.  The main destination of arrival is Pohnpei State recording slightly over 50 percent compared with the other states.
The three top reasons for visiting are seamen and crew (42%), tourism and visitors (36%), and business and employment (19%).
US citizens continue to dominate the number of arrival into the FSM in 2015 at (22%), followed by Asia (20%), Philippines (17%), and Japan (11%).
International merchandise trade for FSM saw a drop in both exports and imports. The value for exports in FY 2014 decreased by 20.4 percent compared to FY 2013, mainly due to the drop in the export of tuna.  The value for imports, during the same period, had also decreased by 13.7 percent. There were less construction materials and fuels being imported during that period. 
Consumer Price Iindex
FSM is comprised of four states, Kosrae, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Yap and home to 102,843 people. The CPI measures the rate of price change of goods and services purchased by households in each of the four states.
The annual inflation rate for third quarter of 2015 showed a negative 1.0 percent compared with the same quarter in 2014; indicating a slight decrease in the prices of goods and services.  This is attributed mainly to the decrease in the price of electricity.  The other contributing items to the decline are imported food items, services and etc.  By contrast, the prices of clothing and tobacco went up by 6.8 and 0.09 respectively.
In fiscal year 2014, the total number of employed persons in the FSM was 14,817.  This is a decline in employment by 2.3 percent compared with fiscal year 2013.  This is due mainly to the decrease of employment in the construction and the public administration sectors. 
Agriculture Census
The Department of Resources and Development in collaboration with its counterparts in the states is finalizing the preparation and planning to conduct a nation-wide census in agriculture.  Like the census of population  and housing where every household in the FSM were visited and the people in the FSM were counted, the agriculture census will do the same except that what will be counted or estimated are the livestock, poultry, plants, fish and area of arable lands.  This will be the first agriculture census in the FSM to let us know what land and sea resources we have, how they are being used and what could still be potentially developed.  Not knowing this information, policies on the utilization and development of these resources will be at best ill-informed.  In July 2016, around 500 contracted workers or enumerators will be visiting every home throughout the states, including the outer islands, to conduct the census.  The Department of Resources & Development is finalizing the public awareness programs for the census but in the meantime, it is seeking the assistance and cooperation of the people in the FSM to help in the implementation of this important exercise.

Further information on the reported statistics, please contact the following:

Department of Resource & Development
Secretary: Hon. Marion Henry
PS12, Palikir, Pohnpei State, FM 96941
Phone: (691) 320-2646
Fax: (691) 320-5854
Division of Statistics:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Public Awareness: FSM Insurance Board

The Insurance Board or Commission of the Federated States of Micronesia is mandated: (1) To regulate insurance business, (2) To undertake the licensing and supervision of insurers, insurance agents, insurance solicitors and insurance brokers, (3) To protect the interest of policyholders, and (4) To promote the soundness, stability and development of the insurance system in the FSM. By legal requirement, “insurance business” shall not be carried out in the FSM, unless the insurer, agent, broker or solicitor is authorized, meaning it must first be registered or licensed. “Insurance business” is defined under Section 102 of title 37 FSMC.  Registration and licensing are prerequisites to engaging in insurance business and the objective is to ensure the insurer, agent, broker or solicitor is sound and safe so the policyholders are afforded some degree or assurance of protection. 

The captive insurance system in the Federated States of Micronesia continues to experience growth. Currently, there are seventeen (17) captive licenses, and eight captive management firm licensees. It is anticipated that by end of 2015, there will be eighteenth (18th) captive licensees. Early this month, the Insurance Board attended and made a presentation at the FSM Captive Insurance Council’s seminar in Tokyo. It is hoped by and through such efforts, additional captive applicants will see FSM as a favorable captive domicile for their captives.  

The Insurance Board is also responsible for regulating the commercial insurance system of the country. There are currently five foreign insurers registered in the Federated States of Micronesia for life, non-life and Property and Casualty. Below is the registered insurer with respective licensed agent:  

                                INSURER:                                                             AGENT
1.       Liberty Mutual Insurance Corporation              Moylan’s Insurance
2.       Dongbu Insurance Company                               Moylan’s Insurance 
3.       FirstNet Insurance Company                               Moylan’s Insurance
4.       NetCare Insurance Company                               Moylan’s Insurance
5.       Pacific Indemnity Insurance Company              Actouka Insurance

Individual Assurance Company (FSM), Inc. has also been licensed, conditionally and temporary, as a domestic insurer by the Insurance Board.   

There are currently two pending foreign insurer registration applications: Plateau Insurance Company and Century Insurance Company (Guam). Plateau Insurance Company is applying for registration to transact credit life insurance policy, while Century Insurance Company (Guam) is applying to transact non-life insurance business.

There are two licensed brokers, namely: Micronesia Insurance Broker Company, and Oceania Insurance Company. 

Agent represents the interests or works for the insurer, while a broker represents or works for the insured or policyholder. 

For any questions, please call us at 691- 320-3423.  



November 4, 2015

President Peter M. Christian visited Japan to attend the celebration of the 29th FSM’s Independence Anniversary held on November 4th in Tokyo. During the visit, President held a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his official residence. This was his 3rd time to meet with Prime Minister Abe in 6 months period, after taking the Office of the President in May this year. At the meeting, both leaders discussed issues of mutual interest including fisheries, transportation and tourism developments, and reassured continued cooperation in strengthening the bilateral partnership. Accompanying the President to this meeting were Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin S. Robert, Senator David W. Panuelo, Chairman of Resources and Development Committee, and John Fritz FSM Ambassador to Japan. 

President also took part, as keynote speaker, in two seminars organized and sponsored by the Micronesia Registrar Advisory Inc, (MRA). He also held meetings with members of the Japan-FSM Parliamentary Friendship League who attended the  celebration event. 

The President’s delegation comprised of Senator David W. Panuelo, Chairman of R&D Committee; Senator Victor Gouland, Chairman of TC&I Committee; Senator Robson U. Romolou, Vice Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee; Lorin S. Robert, Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Marion Henry, Secretary of R&D; Joses Gallen, Secretary of Justice; Johnson Elimo, Governor of Chuuk State; Leo A. Falcam Jr., Chief of Staff; Alik Jackson, Congress Staff Attorney; Samari W. Suta, FSM Register of Corporation; Alexander Naruuhn, Chairman of Insurance Board; Jesse Giltamag, Commissioner of Insurance Board; Reed Oliver Insurance Board Member: Chris Christian and Myron Hashiguchi representing the private sector entities.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

FSM Independence Day celebration in Pohnpei

On the 3rd of November 2015, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) celebrated its 29th Independence anniversary at the Spanish Wall field.  On behalf of President Peter Christian, Vice President Yosiwo George delivered the keynote speech followed by the opening remark of First Lady Maurina Christian.

Marking this historic occasion of the Nation’s Independence, the event was celebrated with parade, local performers and festive events.  Students from different schools in Pohnpei gave speeches on the subject of FSM Independence and explained what Independence Day means to them.

Vice President George emphasized on concrete assurances on the pillars that built the Nation and noted the vision and ideals of the founding fathers that led to the formation of the federation. It was reiterated that strong commitment is central and the shared values and aspirations that carry out Nation building efforts deems to protect its citizens and their cultural heritage.  To echo the preamble, Vice President George said the following, “to make one nation of many islands, we respect the diversity of our cultures.  Our differences enrich us.  The seas bring us together, they do not separate us.  Our islands sustain us, our island nation enlarges us and makes us stronger.” In this context, unity within diversity deems to be self-evident as FSM continues to prove the concept of a multi-cultural nation.

Commemorating the founding of the democratic government on the FSM,  “It is the 29th anniversary of our federation,” George said, “the federation for which our founding fathers were determined to exercise, inherent sovereignty of our country; the federation that had united our four island states.”  Under the trusteeship of the United Nations for many years, FSM emerged and transitioned into a self-governing nation and declared independence in 1986. Since then, FSM have gained diplomatic recognition in the regional and international arena, which allows the FSM to exercise all the rights of a sovereign nation. 

In honor of the 29th Independence anniversary, a parade was led by the National Police, kicking off the event with the raising of the FSM flags.

First Lady Maurina Weilbacher and Vice President George led the 29th Independence Day event and were accompanied by Executive Director of FSM National Fisheries Corporation, Peter Sitan; Post-Master General, Ginger P. Mida; Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Samson Pretrick and Pohnpei State Senator, Magdalena Walter.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

World Diabetes Day in the FSM

The FSM National Department of Health and Human Services made a head start by leading other communities worldwide, to globally celebrate World Diabetes Day (WDD) last Friday, November 13, to increase awareness of the growing epidemic that is making a devastating impact in the FSM.  World Diabetes Day is November 14th and is the world's largest diabetes campaign that was first introduced by its founders World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in 1991.

Amidst the concern of the growing threat of diabetes, the event was held at Capitol where free screening was provided, education and prevention were addressed and musical numbers performed by Ohwa High School students. A representative of Island Food Community shared a presentation on ways of promoting physical activity and the benefits of local food by providing information about the Micronesia One Diet All Today (MODFAT) plan.  The MODFAT dietary plan is designed to be a healthy diet that controls and prevents Non-Communicable Disease (NCDs).  This year's theme was "Make healthy eating a right, not a privilege".

According to studies, obesity and diabetes are leading health risks in Pacific Island Nations, where FSM ranks No. 2 in NCD risk factors. It has been estimated that most deaths in the country are diabetes-related.

Calling for greater action for diabetes advocacy and awareness, the Department of Health and Human Services provided participants with diabetes screening tests and various types of exercise equipment to promote physical activity. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Diplomatic Relations established between the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Kazakhstan

New York (27 October 2015): The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of Kazakhstan established diplomatic relations at a ceremony held at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations in New York.

Federated States of Micronesia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Jane J. Chigiyal, and her counterpart from Kazakhstan, Ambassador Kairat Abdrakhmanov, signed a joint communiqué establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. 
The communiqué conveys the agreement of both States for their diplomatic relations and their mutual desires to develop and strengthen relations of friendship and cooperation. The communiqué further states that their diplomatic relations will be guided by the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, dated 18 April 1961, and on the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

In a brief meeting after the signing ceremony, the two Ambassadors discussed the need to cooperate on climate change and on a wide range of sustainable development related issues.  Training and tourism were sectors identified as key areas in the new partnership. 

With the signing of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republic became the seventy seventh (77th) country with which the Federated States of Micronesia has established diplomatic relations.

Countries Agree to Use Montreal Protocol to Phase Down HFCs

Contacts: Durwood Zaelke, (202) 498-2457; Katie Fletcher, (202) 338-1300

Details to be negotiated next year
Can avoid 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide, 0.5°C of warming

Dubai, 6 November 2015 – The countries of the world agreed today to work together in 2016 to use the Montreal Protocol to eliminate the global warming contribution from one of the six main greenhouse gases by phasing down refrigerants called hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs. A long list of details are scheduled to be negotiated during a series of meetings next year during, both at an extraordinary Working Group meeting and an extraordinary Meeting of Parties.  The Montreal Protocol is the only UN treaty where all 197 countries of the United Nations participate.

“Many parties including the U.S., Mexico, Canada, island States, and the 54 countries of the Africa Group wanted to move faster with the details this week, but Gulf States and India demanded delay on details until after COP 21 in Paris next month, raising a red flag about their tactics in Paris,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, who participated in the Dubai negotiations.  Zaelke added, “If there’s a silver lining to this slow deliberation, it’s that the parties will be able to implement a strict phase down schedule much faster than usual. The market for superior substitutes is on the march and will be sweeping up the slow moving companies.”

“After seven years of efforts, we have at last agreed to amend the Montreal Protocol next year to phase down HFCs,” said Jeem Lippwe, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Federated States of Micronesia to the United Nations, who led his country’s delegation.  “This is a significant win for the climate system and for the momentum of multilateral climate cooperation heading into Paris.”

HFCs are increasing 10-15% per year, making them the fastest growing greenhouse gas in much of the world. They were once thought necessary to replace ozone-depleting substances like CFCs and HCFCs, which are now being phased out. A study by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory concluded that currently available alternatives to HFCs performed as well as or better in the hottest climates such as the Gulf.  

Phasing down HFCs will provide climate mitigation up to 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050 and avoid up to 0.5°C of warming by 2100.  This will be a major contribution to the world’s efforts to keep temperatures from passing 2°C above pre-Industrial levels, beyond which potentially irreversible and catastrophic climate impacts are expected.  The world’s temperature has already risen by nearly 1°C.

The Montreal Protocol is widely considered the world’s best environmental treaty.  It has already phased out nearly 100 chemicals that were damaging the stratospheric ozone layer, while also providing the most climate mitigation of any treaty, the equivalent of 135 billion tons of carbon dioxide. Its success has avoided $1.8 trillion in health care costs, according to Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, in his remarks yesterday at the opening of the high-level segment of the negotiations.

The past phase outs of refrigerants also has catalyzed improvements in the energy efficiency of the air conditioners and other appliances using the refrigerants, often by 30 to 60%.  Improving efficiency of room air conditioners could save enough energy to avoid building up to 2,500 medium-size power plants by 2050, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. (There are currently 2,300 coal-fired power plants in the world.)  This would avoid the equivalent of up to an additional 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2050, while also saving money for consumers.

IGSD’s Primer on HFCs is here.

**** To view Jeem Lippwee's full statement, please click here.