Friday, May 27, 2016

2016 Federated States of Micronesia Integrated Agriculture Census’ 2nd Training of Trainers

27 May 2016 - State agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and livestock agencies and representatives from research extension and statistics field offices along with supporting staff from the FSM Department of Resources and Development convened on May 23, 2016 for a week-long training workshop in Kolonia, Pohnpei to train the State Trainers for the 2016 FSM Integrated Agriculture Census (IAC) to fully prepare their respective State enumerators on the IAC materials to count natural resource information across the FSM.

Agriculture, forestry, fisheries, livestock, research extension and statistics representatives from the States of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap attended the workshop facilitated by the FSMR&D’s staff from the Division of Statistics and Division of Resource Management and Development), with support from the FSM National Congress, Food and Agriculture Organization to the United Nations (FAO), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), India Government and US Department of Agriculture (USDA).  This multi-donor project is to support the 2016 FSM Integrated Agriculture Census with data collection of agriculture (crops and livestock), forestry and fisheries information from all households in the four FSM States.  This information will be compiled at State and National levels to guide Government line agencies and policy-makers on developing sectoral interventions and development partners on technical assistance projects/programs.

“Census is the mother of all information gathering,” Statistics Assistant Secretary Mathew Chigiyal stated during his opening remarks. “This effort requires teamwork between National and State line agencies and within each State amongst the resource agencies because the success of this Census depends on this teamwork and each team is dependent on each other for a successful outcome.”
The workshop included presentations from both national government support staff and state resource management experts in the field in which they gave an overview on team preparation, materials, support tools and lessons learned from the pre-testing trial to assist the 2016 FSM IAC State Trainers. 
“I am one of those from Agriculture who insisted on this Census and this training gives me the confidence to learn from our pre-testing experience and carrying out the Census in July,” said Adelino Lorens, Pohnpei State Agriculture Division Chief.
“This workshop allows for a face-to-face time in coordinating with the Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap State Managers to develop a detailed training plan for our supervisors and enumerators,” said Marlyter Silbanuz, FSMR&D’s Agriculture Program Manager.

For additional information please contact Alissa Takesy at FSM Department of Resources and Development at (691) 320-2620/2646/5133 at

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bluewell Reinsurance Directors paid a courtesy call on Vice President Yosiwo P. George

May 2016: Palikir, Pohnpei - Vice President Yosiwo P. George received a courtesy call from Bluewell Reinsurance Director and President, Mr. Toshikatsu Konno and Director and Secretary, Mr. Akira Nakao in the afternoon of Monday at the President's Conference Room.

In welcoming Mr. Konno and Mr. Nakao along with their delegation, Vice President George expressed his appreciation for the afforded visit and for Japan's corporate investment by doing captive insurance business in the FSM. During the brief meeting, both ends discussed development efforts through business expansion. In 2006, the FSM Congress enacted legislation that would allow captive insurance corporations to establish captives in the country. A number of Japanese-based corporations that has a vested interest in FSM's growth and development have differentiated the FSM from other domiciles for its unique and favorable tax structure. The FSM has developed a preeminent status as an appealing jurisdiction for Japanese businesses and as a result, the FSM captive insurance domicile has attracted almost twenty Japanese owned companies, either licensed or approved.

Owned by Sumitomo Corporation, Bluewell Reinsurance (Micronesia) Ltd. is one of many FSM-licensed captive insurance companies doing business in the country.  

Accompanying Vice President George was Special Assistant Herman Semes Jr.

The Honorable Yosiwo P. George's State Visit to all FSM States

The Honorable Vice President Yosiwo P. George recently completed his State Visit to all the FSM States, which started from 17 April to 16 May 2016.  To ensure the Administration’s effort in enhancing relations with the States by Nation-building, Vice President George and his delegation met with leaders from the State Governments, to continue building the working relationship with the State governments.  This is the first time that all States would be visited by Vice President George to follow up particularly on the previous official State Visit by H.E. President Peter M. Christian. 

Led by effective discussion with the Leadership, the Visit allowed high officials from both ends to discuss issues and challenges from the FSM States. During the joint-leadership courtesy call, a wide spectrum of issues was highlighted. The Project Management Office, status of the FSM Trust Fund, ODA priorities, Infrastructure sector grant projects and concerns relating to JEMCO were among many other areas of concern that was discussed.

Vice President George also made site visits in the respective States.  In Chuuk, he visited the Kimiuo Aisek Truk Lagoon Museum and other businesses. While in Yap, Vice President visited the Canoe house in Yap, Toru Village and Maap to see the canoe built by Master Navigator Pius “Mau” Piailug.  Vice President George also visited Yap Sport Complex, and toured Fisheries Maritime Institute (FMI) where FMI Director, Mr. Matthias Ewarmai, welcomed him. 

Vice President George was accompanied by FSM Department of Resources & Development Secretary Marion Henry; FSM Department of Finance and Administration Secretary Sihna Lawrence; FSM Department of Health and Education Secretary Magdalena Walter; FSM Department of Education Secretary Kalwin Kephas; Special Assistant to the Office of the President Mr. Herman Semes, Jr.; Assistant Secretary Eugene Amor of the Office of Budget and Economic Affairs; Chief of Budget Mr. John Sohs of the Office of Budget and Economic Management; Program Manager for Investment Florian Yatilman of the FSM Department of Resources and Development, Division of Investment and Trade, and Mrs. Fancely P. Solomon, Admin Specialists, FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs.

FSM Policy Revamp for Fisheries Aims to Double "Blue Gold" Millions

Pohnpei, FSM: A new comprehensive national Fisheries Policy for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is firmly set on accessing up to US85m in annual revenues from its ‘blue gold’ oceanic fisheries sector.  That figure was flagged amidst all the numbers, data and acronyms dominating a just-ended national Fisheries seminar in FSM. Standout quotes during the seminar included a straight and clear reminder on the reason for the current renewed focus on FSM's budget-boosting Tuna resources-- "Fish is our blue gold".
As leaders from Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap think through and share their four days of talking Fisheries with the lead government officials in the sector, the new term, coined on the opening day of the seminar, will keep coming to mind as they look to opportunities at state level and their fit at national level, for investment opportunities in FSM’s fisheries.

“Fish is our “blue gold” and fisheries has become our biggest revenue generator, increasing nearly 300 percent since the introduction and implementation of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Vessel Day Scheme (VDS),” Vice President Yosiwo P George had noted in his opening statement. He said revenue from the sale of fishing days has increased substantially, but "the overall FSM economy has not grown, as one would have expected. The challenge is therefore how can we best use our valuable days to achieve higher economic growth? What kind of fisheries and related policies do we need to put in place to maximize the overall economic benefits of our fisheries resources to support economic growth?"

Vice President George had not minced words in his keynote to the “Aligning Fisheries Policy to Support Economic Growth in the FSM” first national seminar for FSM. Highlighting the role of the Vessel Day Scheme led by FSM and the seven other Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) plus Tokelau, he and the meeting organisers are keen to see its transformational impact on the national budget grow
even more returns to the national purse.

"In 2014, fisheries access revenues were $47.5 million, which comprised 36% of the total government revenues.  I am advised that, with the number of vessel days that FSM can expect into the future, straight maximization of fishing access revenues could yield USD70 million or even as high as USD85 million per year to the FSM. As we face the termination of the current Economic Assistance package under the Compact of Free Association (CFA) this income source will have significant importance to the FSM’s future political economy.  That is the challenge that the fisheries sector has to be conscious of; that this is a resource managed by government for the benefit of the people of the FSM."

Acknowledging that opening up FSM to potential fisheries investment partners would require updates to law and policy, the Vice President told leaders the changes needed must be seen "as an opportunity to not only seek benefits to the states we represent but to appreciate our shortcomings and strive for a cohesive policy that all can benefit even if it means one central fisheries development location or two. We can all still benefit, the challenge is where, how and what can we offer as individual or collective stakeholders."

"We need to think about creating jobs, new business and security in investment to diversify our economic base. We also have to be mindful that our partners feel welcome and invest in the long term. Short-term gains are not sustainable when you ask me to put millions in a fish processing facility or any other investment of the like. We need to re-strategize and focus; changing our approach to fisheries investment," he says. “While we strive to increase our returns, we must also exercise due diligence to ensure that our partners deliver what they promise us and nothing less”.

Throughout the seminar, co-conveners Director of FSM's National Oceanic Resource Management Agency, NORMA Eugene Pangelinan and Secretary for Resources and Development Hon. Marion Henry had echoed the need for a refreshed, whole of government approach across all states, and at many levels, to ensure the Oceanic breadwinner for FSM is managed within a revised, more comprehensive Fisheries policy.
“This is not the end of the process, this is just the beginning,” says Pangelinan of the ongoing consultations with stakeholders across and within the states.

“Domestic development is an increasingly important part of the investment picture of the tuna industry in FSM,” he says, “when we look at Fisheries interests from distant water fishing nations wanting to do business in our EEZs,  the key criteria for us will be returns to the people of FSM in capital investments, job creation, and social responsibility partnerships.”

“It’s a lot of work, but we are talking about a resource bringing the world to our part of the ocean. We now want to bring more value-adding, revenue-generating fisheries activity ashore, to gain more economic opportunities and spread the benefits around.”

The FSM National Fisheries Seminar included a range of guest presenters including Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Director General James Movick and FFA Economist Dr Chris Reid, Incoming PNA Executive Director Ludwig Kumoru, of the National Fisheries Authority of Papua New Guinea, International Fisheries Consultant Stan Crothers of New Zealand (also Fisheries Advisor to Tokelau), and FSM officials. Industry insights came from Peter Sitan, CEO of the FSM’s National Fisheries Corporation, NFC.–ENDS/NORMA Press Release.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Federated States of Micronesia’s Coastal Component Workshop on the Pacific Island Regional Oceanscape Program

(FSMR&D Secretary Marion Henry giving his opening remarks and Kosrae DREA Director Lyndon Cornelius looking on)
State fisheries agencies, non-government organization, and private sector representatives along with supporting regional partners across the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) convened on May 17, 2016 at an inception workshop in Kolonia, Pohnpei to share information and lessons learned on sustainable fisheries management and provide guidance on further enhancing sustainable fisheries management through its national project objectives and deliverables.  
Coastal fisheries management/development agency, NGO, and private sector representatives from the States of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap attended the workshop facilitated by the FSM Department of Resources and Development (FSMR&D) and National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA), with support from the World Bank funding Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program (PROP).  This World Bank and Global Environment Facility Program is supporting 12 Pacific Island Countries to strengthen the management of Pacific Island fisheries, with technical assistance and backstopping from the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency at the regional level. 
The nature and economic contribution of coastal fisheries varies significantly among the four FSM States, as also do governance and management arrangements. These involve various forms of traditional, local and state control and jurisdiction.  Because of the diversity of management arrangements, an initial study building on previous studies and/or work already carried out or underway and stakeholder consultations are planned in order to develop the detailed design of the coastal fisheries component of PROP in the FSM with the national government playing a coordinating and facilitating role through FSMR&D and NORMA.
 “I challenge this group with finding a balance between sustainable use and development,” R&D Secretary Marion Henry stated during his opening remarks. “This will inform our Fisheries Investment and Development Policy and actions in response to 2023.”
The workshop included panel presentations from both state government officials and NGO experts in the field in which they gave an overview on their respective management frameworks and monitoring programs, and facilitated discussions on identifying capacity issues/gaps and opportunities. 
“It complements our joint efforts between Government Agencies and NGOs on community-based ecosystem approach to fisheries management with our local communities and pleased to note that this project can further expand on this,” said Marcellus Akapito, Chuuk Conservation Society Director.
 “This workshop is to give momentum on our collective effort and guide the consultative process of developing our priority activities within this project,” said Okean Ehmes, PROP Project Coordinator at NORMA.

For additional information please contact Alissa Takesy at FSM Department of Resources and Development at (691) 320-2620/2646/5133 at and Okean Ehmes at National Oceanic Resource Management Authority at

FSM Close-up Students Visits the Nation's Capitol

18 May 2016 – This week, a select group of fifty-one Close-up students from across all four States, made a visit to the Office of the President meeting with FSM Vice President Yosiwo P. George at the President’s Conference Room.

Vice President George welcomed the students to the Capitol and spoke to them about the tasks, responsibilities and distinctive roles of the separated branches of the Nation’s system of governance and how they intricately interact. Through engaging discussions, the students were able to explore and pose concerns regarding the Compact post 2023, securing economic development and other interests concerning the government.

Designed to give the students an opportunity to interact with Leaders, the interactive experience with the National Government allowed the students to experience a “Close-up” view and real world insight of the Nation’s capital.  The remarks made by Vice President George to the crowd of students emphasized on the importance of pursuing a higher education and using knowledge for affecting positive change in society. The visit ended with a question and answer period.

Under the direction of Secretary of Education, Kalwin Kephas, chaperons accompanied the students from each respective states. While at Capitol, the students received a tour throughout the 3 branches of the National Government.

The visiting group included eighteen students from Chuuk, eighteen from Pohnpei, eight from Kosrae and seven from Yap.  Vice President was accompanied by special assistant, Mr. Herman Semes Jr.