PO Box 2222 Kolonia, Pohnpei, FM 96941 Kpress@mail.fm
Transparency and navigating the complexities of FSM’s future
An exclusive conversation with FSM’s President SiminaBy Bill Jaynes The Kaselehlie Press
September 14, 2023
Palikir, Pohnpei— Since assuming office in May, FSM President Wesley Simina and Vice President Aren Palik have been tirelessly focused on a key mission: forging stronger communication and unity between the FSM National Government and the FSM States. Amidst their busy schedules, which included crafting a trimmed National budget and assembling their administration's cabinet, they had limited availability for interviews with international media. However, on September 14,
President Simina granted his first official interview of the administration to The Kaselehlie Press.
What are the transparency mechanisms of the Simina-Palik Administration
“Transparency is just to make sure that people understand what’s going on in their government,” President Simina responded when asked about his administration’s mechanisms for transparency. “We’re fortunate to have just hired someone.” The SiminaPalik administration hired Yolanda Joab Mori to be responsible for public
WCPFC’s Technical Compliance Committee meeting begins amid calls for greater transparencyBy Bill Jaynes The Kaselehlie Press
September 21, 2023
Pohnpei, FSM— The Technical Compliance Committee (TCC) of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) began its 19th meeting in Palikir, Pohnpei yesterday morning. Although it was the 19th meeting of the committee, this marked the first in-person gathering of members since 2019 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
TCC19’s outcomes, including any recommendations it adopts, will be submitted to the Commission’s 20th Annual Session in the Cook Islands this December. Alongside the Scientific Committee, which convened in August
2023, the TCC plays a crucial role in overseeing the world’s largest tuna fishery. During the meeting, members have the opportunity to provide updates on their on-the-water surveillance activities and evaluate the functioning of the Commission’s monitoring systems, such as the vessel monitoring system (VMS) and the high seas boarding and inspection scheme (HSBI).
This process occurs within the framework of the Commission’s Compliance Monitoring Scheme, and its results serve as a “report card” for the organization. TCC19 will also assess submissions from Members regarding vessels suspected of engaging in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, a core annual task of the TCC.
TCC19 provides the opportunity for Members to reflect on the progress of development of the Commission’s compliance work, and consider any
adjustments that may be needed to strengthen the Commission’s
New U.S. Ambassador Jennifer Johnson embarks on Pacific diplomatic journey
when FSM President Wesley Simina officially accepted her credentials in a ceremony in Palikir. That evening, Ambassador Johnson introduced herself in her first appearance as the fully accredited U.S. Ambassador to the FSM at a reception at her residence, much to the relief of Deputy Chief of Mission Alissa Bibb, who has been serving as U.S. Chargé d'affaires.
Ambassador Johnson joined the U.S. State Department in 2000 and has served overseas in leadership positions at U.S. Embassies and consulates in Cuba, Chile, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey. She has held domestic positions at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York, the Executive Secretariat, the Bureau for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and the Bureau for Global Talent Management. Ambassador Johnson is joined in the FSM by her husband, Pat, and her two daughters, Marin and Nola.
Ambassador Johnson introduced herself and her objectives in her speech:By Bill Jaynes The Kaselehlie Press
August 13, 2023
Pohnpei, FSM— Since the departure of former U.S. Ambassador to the FSM Carmen Cantor more than a year ago, after which she assumed highlevel duties in the Pacific region for the U.S. State Department, the United States has been without an Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia. That changed on the U.S. side when the U.S. Congress confirmed Jennifer Johnson for the position. It changed in the FSM on the morning of August 13
“First, I'd like to pay my respects to the traditional leaders, Vice President Palik, Speaker and members of the FSM Congress and their spouses, the Honorable Cabinet Members, officials and representatives of the national government, members of the diplomatic corps, Governor Oliver, officials and representatives of Pohnpei State Government, heads of resident international organizations, NGOs, friends, other distinguished guests; thank you for coming.
“And I'd like to introduce you to my family. We have Pat, my husband. My daughters, Marin and Nola. I want to thank them for coming on this exciting adventure with me to the middle of the Pacific. And I'd also like to take a moment to acknowledge my amazing embassy team who organized this reception and has done so much to make sure that we have a wonderful, smooth arrival. And to our DCM, Alissa, who you all know so well, who has run the embassy for the past 14 months, she's done a great job. I'm so happy to be here working with her.
“I'm honored to be here as President Biden's representative and the 12th U.S. ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia. My interest in the Pacific Islands goes way back when I was a student in Australia, and it's
Symbol of Resilience: Pohnpei Emergency Operations Center handed overBy Bill Jaynes The Kaselehlie Press
September 21, 2023
Pohnpei—The Japanese government today handed over the completed section of the new Pohnpei Emergency Operations Center. The area designated for emergency vehicles, as well as the downstairs office and meeting areas, has already been finished. The Government of Japan, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program, funded these sections of the building along with the structure itself. The budget allocated for the construction, up to its current state, was nearly $1.4 million.
The upstairs area, intended to accommodate living quarters for emergency responders, is still under construction. Pohnpei State is funding the completion of this upper section.
Pohnpei Director of Public Safety, Patrick Carl, emphasized, "It stands not only as a physical structure but also as a symbol of our resilience, unity, and preparedness in the face of adversity. Together, we will continue to work tirelessly to protect our beautiful island and its people, making the Pohnpei Emergency Operations Center a beacon of hope and safety for generations to come in Pohnpei."
"Japan has allocated $7.4 million to the Enhancing Disaster Climate Resilience (EDCR) project of the FSM to bolster capabilities against unexpected emergencies," said Japan's Ambassador Michigami Hisashi. "Under this EDCR project, we have already successfully completed several initiatives, including providing radio equipment to 68 outer islands, repairing broken deep wells, and supplying water tanks and water trucks to all states. This operations center represents the culmination of this significant project. I've been looking forward to today's ceremony since attending the groundbreaking ceremony last September. The center will be utilized by the government's Disaster Committee for efficient coordination of emergency responses and will also serve as a new fire station. I am confident that this facility will play a central role in Pohnpei State's responses to disasters and emergencies."
Jaap Van Hierden, the United Nations' multi-country resident coordinator, remarked, "From its construction to its handover, the Pohnpei Emergency Operations Center is not only a reflection of the hard work and dedication of EDCR projects and implementers but also a promise of a more disaster and climateresilient future for the citizens, residents, and visitors of Pohnpei and the Federated States of Micronesia. This Emergency Operations Center is not merely a construction endeavor; it is a testament to our collective commitment to protecting lives, preserving livelihoods, and enabling resilience against the backdrop of everincreasing emergencies. It speaks to our collective commitment to eliminating threats to human security and protecting the gains of sustainable development. Indeed, Pohnpei's Emergency Operations Center symbolizes the hope and resilience of the people of Pohnpei State."
Kevin Petrini, UNDP's Country Manager and Deputy Resident, mentioned that the EOC project was conceived over four years ago, working closely with State and National counterparts to identify priorities. "For Pohnpei State, the construction of this new facility was chosen to enhance the readiness capacity of state disaster responders. This facility has become even more critical since COVID-19, as we can all recognize its impacts on various types of disasters. I hope that this facility will enable Pohnpei State Governors and the disaster committee to effectively and efficiently coordinate future emergency responses," he said.
Vice President Aren Palik highlighted the significance of the project, saying, "This project addresses the most serious existential threat to our nation, climate change. Climate change, as we all know, threatens our livelihood and our survival as a people and as a nation. Climate change jeopardizes our economic, social, and political stability and sustainability. So, on behalf of President Simina, I wish to reiterate our nation's strategic commitment to aggressively addressing climate change at all levels, from global negotiations to the community and grassroots levels. We are committed to addressing climate change-related challenges at the frontlines, where our people are feeling the greatest impact. Disaster preparedness is key and essential in that regard, and this beautiful facility is timely and most appreciated."
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grown over the years. Serving the American people is a virtue that runs deep in my family. My grandfathers both served in World War II. One was with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, and the other received a Purple Heart while serving in the U.S. Army. My parents were school teachers, along with my sister, and my grandmother and motherin-law were nurses. My father-in-law is a U.S. Marine.
“The United States is a Pacific nation, and I love saying that. You'll hear it a lot. The Compact’s renewal comes at a time of unprecedented U.S. commitment to the Pacific Islands. We're coming off a momentous spring and summer, including the signing of three agreements related to the Compact of the economic provisions. We also share deep personal ties, and I've already heard from many of you about your connections with U.S. Armed Forces or how you remember Peace Corps volunteers who taught you in school. And, of course, there are many, many Micronesians living in the United States who enrich our communities in almost every state and territory.
“This is a very exciting time to be in the Pacific Islands, and I can't wait to work on strengthening our already deep and meaningful relationship. Let me conclude now because it's hot, and I want us to have more of a chance to visit with each other. My family and I are thrilled to be here, and I really look forward to getting to know each and every one of you and working closely with you and working closely with you.”
Vice President gave his remarks as well:
“…Ambassador Johnson, thank you for the invitation extended to us by you and your staff to be part of this very, very important occasion. President Simina and I, on behalf of the people and the government of the Federated States of Micronesia, once again welcome you and your family to our humble shores and to our very simple island nation. As President Simina said during the presidential presentation of credentials ceremony today, we are delighted to be part of this historic event of receiving and welcoming you as the new ambassador to our country, especially
at a time, as you stated, of significance, and as far as our relationship between the U.S. and the FSM government, and especially at the beginning of the Simina-Palik administration.
“As a fully accredited ambassador to FSM, I wish to reiterate that we have been looking forward to your arrival, and we look forward very much to working closely with you to further strengthen and enhance our very special and enduring relationship and partnership, friendship between the FSM and the United States of America.
Our Compact of Free Association is a very special relationship, and I think through that relationship there are three things that I kind of want to highlight that you probably would appreciate. First is that in this country, English is our primary language, so you wouldn't have any difficulty communicating with us. Many of our students have gone to school in the U.S. and graduated in U.S. universities and colleges. Also, I want to reiterate the significant relationship we have with respect to the enrollment of our children in the U.S. military. As we understand, we have a very high per capita enrollment rate in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“So, President and I hope that you and your family will also find time, as I stated today, that the four states that make up the FSM, you will have to travel to those states. That's where the people are, and I believe that having the opportunity to get out there, you will be able to collaborate with the leadership, and more importantly, to meet with the people and learn of our needs and their situations on the island.
“So, as we welcome you and your family to the FSM, your second home away from home, and also the growing diplomatic community that we have in the FSM, I say growing; there are a few, but more, we look forward to receiving more of those in our country but you will be able to also work with your diplomatic community. As a new member of our family, we welcome you again, and we assure you that we will make sure that your stay here will be very enjoyable, very productive, and very memorable. Thank you and welcome again.”
Though the diplomatic community and members of international organizations were present at the reception
attended. Pohnpei’s Governor was also unable to
College of Micronesia-FSM
The College of Micronesia Land Grant meets in Koror, Palau
On Monday, August 21, and Tuesday, August 22, 2023, the College of Micronesia-FSM (COMFSM) Board of Regents met at Palau Community College (PCC) in Koror for their quarterly meeting. Led by the Chairman of the Board, Dr. Emais Roberts, the team engaged in discussions at the meeting, primarily focusing on improving food security and economic development in the three-member countries that are part of the COM system, namely the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and the Republic of Palau (ROP).
The COM Board comprises three members, each representing the three-member countries. The current COM Board members include the Chairman, Dr. Emais Roberts, Governor of Peleliu, Palau (ROP), Vice-Chair Mrs. Suzanne Gallen (FSM), and Regent Honorable Wilbur Heine, the Minister of Education,
Sports & Training (RMI). The US Congress in 1980 designated the College of Micronesia (COM) as the land-grant college for the (former) Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The COM’s landgrant status was subsequently extended by each Compact of Free Association agreement between the three Freely Associated States (FAS), the RMI, FSM, ROP, and the US Government. The COM is often confused with the College of Micronesia-FSM (COMFSM). The COM-FSM is an FSM higher education and tertiary education services provider. The COM focuses on land-grant and Cooperative Research & Extension (CRE) activities. The COM undertakes Research initiatives and activities to enable communities to practice sustainable and productive agriculture and aquaculture as part of an approved Plan of Work. Participants at the Palau meeting
included Dr. Irene Taafaki (President of the College of the Marshall Islands), Dr. Patrick Tellei (President of Palau Community College), and Dr. Theresa Koroivulaono (President of College of Micronesia-FSM). Along with them in attendance were the COM team members, including the three CRE Vice Presidents, each representing the three colleges: Stanley Lorennij, Vice President of CMI CRE Land-Grant, Steven Young Uhk, CRE Vice President, COM-FSM, and Dr. Christopher Kitalong, CRE Vice President,
Palau Community College. Mr. Stanley Lorennij has been appointed as the new Executive Director of the COM. He will work out of the COM Central Office in Pohnpei, FSM. He will leave his current position at CMI CRE Majuro in early October to take up his new role. Land-grant and CRE researchers, coordinators, extension agents, and assistants from the three colleges also participated in the meeting. Staff at the COM Central Office also helped coordinate the meeting with the Palauan hosts.
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management framework, said Dr. Lara Manarangi-Trott, who heads up the WCPFC’s Compliance Section at the Secretariat located in Pohnpei, FSM. Equally important is the opportunity for TCC to assess Members’ individual performance against obligations and identify solutions for improvements, where needed.
“The Secretariat, in performing its functions outlined in the Convention, continues to respond to Members’ requirements year to year to ensure the WCPFC fisheries are managed sustainably,” said Rhea Moss-Christian in her opening address at the TCC meeting. With the increased demands for streamlining and efficiency, the Secretariat’s 2023 system upgrades provide members with greater control and responsibility over their data reporting requirements. Adding to this is the experience gained through two analytical consultancies that have demonstrated the value of the available data yet to be most effectively utilized by this organization. In other words, the potential to work smarter is there.
“This organization has changed dramatically since the Commission first met in 2004 and tasked the TCC with establishing the regional observer program and the VMS program, as matters of priority. The state of the fisheries that we are charged with managing is strong. Our accountability to stakeholders remains at the forefront of our work. As we continue to learn from the experience of our compliance review and the annual review of our progress, let us also look at ways to redefine our work to keep pace with the increasing demands that global awareness brings, and to do better in our respective roles within this organization,” she said.
WCPFC Chair Dr. Josie M. Tamate of Niue said that the work product report of the TCC meetings is an important one for the WCPFC. She said that it is a “reportcard” on the implementation of the Conservation Management Measures and whether or not the requirements and obligations are being met.
“There are those on the outside who are looking for ways to question what we do; there are also comments that the WCPFC is working in secret,” Chairperson Dr. Tamate said. “We all know that is not
true because our work is guided by the processes and systems we have established over years. We are all committed to ensuring that the fish stocks under the WCPFC mandate continue to be sustainable because for some of the SIDs, fishery is their only resource and that they are dependent on that for their people’s livelihood. Your presence here this week, whether in person or via zoom, is a strong signal that you are committed to making sure our fish stocks are managed and responsibilities are met. On that, I want to thank you all – members and observers including, for your ongoing commitment and support for the WCPFC and its work.”
After the opening statements, the real work of the TCC began, but not before the room was cleared of all outside observers. Michael Klein, communications representative of Accountability.Fish, was one of those. Before he left the room, he read a prepared statement he had traveled all the way from Iceland to read in the likely event that he would be ejected from the meetings.
“WCPFC represents nearly 60% of our planet’s tuna supply, making its decisions far-reaching and indeed global in scale. Yet for another year, members have chosen to keep observers out of one of the most critical meetings you hold,” the statement said.
“The public has every right to understand WCPFC’s decision-making processes and the outcomes thereof.
“Consequently, Accountability.Fish has a right - and a responsibility - to call this secrecy out, and, for as long as it continues, we intend to call it out openly, publicly and throughout our interactions with the commercial, political and social actors with whom we engage,” the statement continued.
“This secrecy is corrosive to WCPFC’s credibility, both in terms of its overall legitimacy and as a credible player in ocean sustainability…There can be no accountability without openness. Without accountability, there is no sustainability,” the statement concluded.
Rhea Moss-Christian, Executive Director of the WCPFC, highlighted the significance of observers like Accountability.Fish within the organization, emphasizing their representation of key stakeholders and
influence on consumers and markets.
She also noted that no objections were raised by WCPFC members regarding Accountability.Fish’s request for observer status. Under WCPFC’s rules, as the default approach is to keep meetings open unless otherwise decided. TCC holds a portion of its meeting in closed session due to the consideration of non-public domain data in the compliance review process, which has specific document classifications governing access.
Moss-Christian explained that a significant portion of the TCC’s six-day meetings involves members thoroughly reviewing and discussing each other’s performance. The Secretariat dedicates weeks to compiling data submitted by members throughout the year into an easily accessible format for the entire membership.
She emphasized that the organization’s substantial investment in compliance evaluation doesn’t reflect an attempt to hide information. The final compliance monitoring report is made public annually after careful review by all members to prevent misinterpretation and maintain the Commission’s supportive compliance approach.
Moss-Christian clarified that the TCC’s compliance review process also considers the unique requirements of developing states, particularly small island developing states (SIDS). Observers are encouraged to consult with the Secretariat and Members on any unclear processes or issues.
Regarding Accountability.Fish’s concerns about transparency, Moss-Christian mentioned that the WCPFC supports transparency and accountability and is working toward including observers in the compliance review process. She said that longstanding observers like Pew, WWF, and The Ocean Foundation have voiced similar concerns, and the WCPFC is collaborating with them to address member concerns about making non-
public domain data available to the public.
Moss-Christian urged Accountability. Fish to educate themselves about WCPFC fisheries and the annual efforts of members to ensure sustainable management. She also encouraged a more consultative approach to engage with the WCPFC membership, aligning with the organization’s operation style and demonstrating Accountability. Fish’s seriousness about being a part of the organization.
“No one is disputing AF’s core message,” Moss-Christan said. “The WCPFC also supports transparency and accountability, and this is reflected in many areas of the organization’s work and in the positions expressed by the Members. AF is painting the membership with a broad brush of condemnation, accusing the members of “hiding” and “secrecy”. When this message comes through to a meeting where delegates are spending 11-12hr days going through their data in significant detail, the AF message borderlines disrespect but more dangerously, it puts the membership at risk. Many WCPFC members are working closely with industry and retailers to meet transparency and traceability demands. AF can easily find information on these efforts, if they’re willing to look.”
Michael Klein, of Accountability.Fish in response to the Director’s similar statements in an article published by “Atuna”, “We understand that WCPFC does a lot of hard and diligent work and in no way have we ever disparaged that.
“But when claiming that a secret meeting isn’t taking place in secret when they
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threw the observers out for three days, even the WCPFC can’t make 1+1=3.
“In Pohnpei, I heard a lot of talk about a ‘process’ for making the ‘process’ more open over time. But ‘open’ and ‘secret’ are binary. You’re either one or the other. And from a sustainability perspective, if you are not open, you are a black hole in the overall sustainability picture. The WCPFC can’t have it both ways.”
Klein said that he is a communications specialist consulting with Accountability. fish whose stated goal is to “gain access to the RFMO (Regional Fisheries Management Organization) process to support economic and environmental sustainability, drive accountability and transparency, and give communities, consumers and employees a fairer share of the pie.” Accountability.Fish doesn’t only target the WCPFC. It also seeks to increase accountability in all of the world’s RFMOs. “We are not ‘anti-fishing’”, Klein said. “We are proaccountability.”
After three and a half days reviewing two years’ worth of data, TCC opened its meetings for the final two and a half days. Most of the other NGOs with observer status were present as soon as the meeting was again opened on Saturday afternoon. Accountability.Fish was not one of them but only because Mr. Klein had previously booked to depart on that afternoon.
The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) is one of five global tuna regional fisheries management organizations, responsible for the conservation and sustainable use of highly migratory fish stocks, particularly tuna, in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Established in 2004, the WCPFC comprises 34 member countries and territories, and seven cooperating-non-members dedicated to promoting the sustainable management of the world’s largest tuna fishery. The WCPFC Secretariat is headquartered in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.
The TCC meetings are scheduled to end on September 26 as The Kaselehlie Press goes to press.
• Pohnpei-based position
• Attractive expatriate package
• Join the principal development organisation in the region
The Pacific Community (SPC) invites applications for the position of Senior Finance Officer within its Micronesia Regional Office (MRO) located at its regional office in Pohnpei, Micronesia
The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 27 country and territory members. In pursuit of sustainable development to benefit Pacific people, our unique organisation works across more than 25 sectors. We are known for our knowledge and innovation in such areas as fisheries science, public health surveillance, geoscience, and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
The Micronesia Regional Office (MRO) situated in Kolonia, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), is the main hub for SPC's projects and partnerships with the Micronesian members of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the Republic of Palau, and the United States territories of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and Guam. The MRO opened in January 2006.
The role – the Senior Finance Officer will be responsible for the provision of financial services and advice to the Regional Office’s activities and the technical divisions’ programs and projects housed within the Regional Office.
The key responsibilities of the role include the following:
1. Financial administration
2. Compliance, risk management and business processes
3. Procurement and grant services
4. Coordination and office administration
For a more detailed account of the key responsibilities, please refer to the online job description.
• Degree in accounting, finance, business administration or public administration.
Essential experience and skills
• At least 7 years’ experience and demonstrated competence in same field.
• Demonstrated experience in the use of financial management information systems (FMIS) and other financial monitoring tools.
• Experience in coordination and delivery of financial services to large projects with multiple donor and agency/division participation.
• Experience in provision of advice to project managers/coordinators on financial matters and areas of risk and compliance.
• Excellent working knowledge in Microsoft Office tools specifically Excel.
• Ability to work under minimal supervision.
• Fluency in English.
• Valid driver license.
Remuneration – the Senior Finance Officer is a Band 10 position in SPC’s 2023 salary scale, with a starting salary range of 3,256–4,004 SDR (special drawing rights) per month, which currently converts to approximately USD 4,363–5,365. Remuneration of expatriate SPC staff members is not subject to income tax in Federated States of Micronesia; Federated States of Micronesia Nationals employed by SPC in Pohnpei will be subject to income tax.
Benefits – SPC provides a housing allowance of USD 1,000 USD –2,000 USD. Establishment and relocation grant, removal expenses, airfares, home leave, medical and life insurance, and education allowance are available for eligible employees and their recognised dependents. Employees are entitled to 25 days of annual leave and access to SPC’s
Provident Fund (contributing 8% of salary, to which SPC adds a matching contribution).
Closing date: 15 October 2023 –11:00 pm (Noumea time)
Job Reference: CR000100
Applicants must apply online at http://careers.spc.int/
For your application to be considered, you must provide us with:
• an updated resume with contact details for three professional referees
• a cover letter detailing your skills, experience and interest in this position
• responses to all screening questions
• Please answer all of the screening questions, if you do not answer these questions your application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed at shortlisting stage.
1. What do you believe are the three most important financial management areas of work in an intergovernmental development organisation such as SPC, giving regard to current risks, challenges, and its organisational aspirations? How would you approach these areas of work? Provide examples of your past work experience to support your answer.
2. Briefly describe your experience in reporting on all financial transactions in an approved format and meeting reporting deadlines.
3. Briefly describe your experience in training or capacity building in the field of financial management and accounting and working with local Pacific Island partners and stakeholders. Please indicate how financial and supporting documentation is best managed and recorded.
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information. President Simina said that he wants her to treat the task in a straightforward and neutral way.
“We’re grateful that she accepted it. Early on we thought we would be having a hard time finding someone after all these things that happened. But we're very grateful to Yolanda for accepting to take on the challenges of this position. And we have made it clear to her that what we want to do is to report the facts, what's happening, and to make it more consistent as well, just to bring out, and not to be an advocate like I said, not to advocate anything or something, just to report the best thing,” he said.
Accusations from the former FSM President
The “things” to which the President referred were former President Panuelo’s accusations against members of the government and of Chinese activities in the FSM that leaked to the international press while Panuelo was still the sitting President of the FSM. More recently, an interview of former President Panuelo conducted by his former press officer, Richard Clark was published by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The former President warned that the FSM could see democratic backsliding and made additional accusations.
President Simina said that he didn’t want to cast aspersions on the former President or his administration. “It’s interesting. As a former President, you have your points of view and things like that, and I don’t want to take that away from him. He’s entitled to his points of view. But when you were (once) in this position in this office, I would say…it’s important that you keep that in mind that you were the president before. He used to be in this office. He should be more careful in what (he) comes out and says. I guess he’s the former president. He’s entitled to anything he’d like to say…I don’t know (if) he has some really good reliable sources, …but for me as a former president, if I were him, I should be a bit more careful in how I come out and just throw things out,
but he’s entitled to his view.”
Acceptance of Chinese Ambassador’s credentials
During his administration, former President Panuelo had refused China’s appointment of Ambassador Wu Wei to the FSM citing concerns of Ambassador Wu’s involvement in Chinese security agencies. President Simina, however, accepted Ambassador Wu’s credentials in the first credentials ceremony of his administration.
“So, when that (Ambassador Wu’s appointment by China) came to my office, I sent it back to the Department of DOJ and foreign affairs because I understand at the time he was not accepted by the former president,” President Simina said. “So when they looked at it, they said, ‘Well, we don't know where the former president got his idea from. But from the beginning, the foreign affairs and DOJ actually cleared (the credentials). Actually, it's in writing that they recommended that the former president accept the credentials. But for some reason he decided on his own information, I think, he decided not to accept that recommendation. But originally, initially the recommendation by Foreign Affairs and DOJ is to accept.
“So, I went back and I said there must be something you missed. You have to look carefully why a former president didn't accept it. And it turned out they said there was nothing that they could tell. Of course, there were those positions that this Mr. Wu held in their government, but that's not unusual. I mean, that's something that happens all over. So, I asked, and they came back and (both departments) recommended again that I accept. So that's what I did.”
Information and Intelligence Service
President Simina said that while the legal structure for the Cybersecurity and Intelligence Bureau still exists within the FSM Department of Justice, the head of the bureau resigned, though some employees of the bureau still work within it. He did, however, rescind the executive order establishing an information and intelligence service. “There was actually an executive order by the former president creating an
intelligence service office within the president's office, which is kind of funny. I think it should be within the Department of Justice,” President Simina said though he did not mention any plans to create a new one within that department.
Research vessel moratorium
On the established moratorium on research vessels within the FSM’s EEZ, President Simina said, “So far it’s still in place. We're looking at whether to keep it in place or to modify it to some extent, just to make sure that we have better policy in place, procedures in place, on how to accept applications for research vessels or something like that, and that it's not only applicable to (just) one nation. The research thing is many of these countries participate in that and are coming out to do research on their own.”
Deepening the Blue Economy MOU
He said that there are no plans to change the already made decision on possibly acceptance of the Chinese authored “Deepening the Blue Economy” MOU. “There is no plan,” he said. The decision has been made.
Domestic Affairs: Constitutional Amendment implementation
Switching from the subject of foreign affairs to topics of a more domestic nature President Simina confirmed that the nine constitutional amendments had in fact been passed by the people of the FSM and the certification of the National Election Director is legally in place. “Together with the DOJ, Department of Justice we're looking into which of those nine amendments require some kind of an enabling legislation to make sure that they are effectively implemented and which ones do not need any because they are self-executed. We’re still looking at them.”
Fisheries Revenue Sharing with FSM States
We mentioned that there had been comments that the constitutional amendment on fisheries revenue sharing with the States would essentially gut the national governments budget and operations.
“It will,” he said. “Right now, with our fiscal year 2024 budget that we
submitted, it was actually submitted based on that assumption that the fishing fees would have to be shared with the States.
So what we submitted is that's what happened…we've done a lot of cutting in our budget. But we're also looking at other sources where we can try to make up for that, and one of them is something we just agreed in Yap (at the Chief Executive Council)”, he said, “that the national government gets some of the compact funding. And hopefully Congress will agree if they put in legislation that the national government will get eight percent. So that's what happened. That's what we agreed to in Yap at the Chief Executive Council (CEC) and Presiding Officers' Meeting. We sort of agreed that the States will contribute something to the National government, because the National government is also assuming a lot of the responsibilities on implementation of the compact, the next compact. That's what we foresee.”
He said that at the CEC it seemed clear that “they only want the money. They don't want to contribute to things like the surveillance program. It's expensive because we send out the boats which actually are the ones making sure that the fishing is done legally, not illegally. And…right now there is nothing from them to contribute to that responsibility of the national government. We’re still shouldering all the expenses for all these programs and yet half of the funding has gone to the States.”
“…I had a meeting with the mayors of Chuuk, a bunch of them when I was visiting Chuuk during my State visit and I thanked them for their effort in passing a lot of these proposed constitutional amendments including like dual citizenship, those things. And of course, I also thanked them for making the 50 percent fishing fees go to the State governments. And I said, of course you will get a lot of money, the municipalities, because there is this constitutional provision in the Chuuk Constitution giving a mandatory percentage to the municipalities. But then I also told them, OK, you have to understand that you also approved something else. You also approved an independent prosecutor, so you have to be careful how you use your money
...Simina exclusive (2)
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because he will come after you,” President Simina said and laughed.
Plans for development of the FSM’s Private Sector
“Well, right now, I think everybody understands that the private sector is the engine of our economy. So, what we’re looking at is how to be sure that we engage our private sector in all this decision making on policies, taxes,” President Simina said. “We have actually revised the tax task force, and certainly the private sector will be involved so they can contribute to that. And one of the main issues which we have yet to start working on, but I think it’s something we need to address, is the foreign investment. It's a difficult. Yes, it requires all the states to participate with the national government. So that will take some efforts to really do it right. We need to do it. Of course, I mean just having the Compact in place that would do a lot to enhance the private sector.
“On top of that, infrastructure is always important. As in we can talk about tourism, all these things, but you've got to have the infrastructure in place. And of course, we just established the airline task force again. Geography is our disadvantage. We all know that and volume too. So, we need to continue to see how we can make the environment conducive to investment and the growth of our private sector.
“It's far more, you know, it's more challenging with our, the way we are set up, even structurally as a nation, government-wise, it is an impediment. And of course, we want to make sure that some of these things that we can do as a national government, our role is just to make sure that we make the private sector, you know, able to grow.
And it all boils down to how the private sector wanted to do things themselves…And of course, taxes always either or make it better or make it worse,” he said.
President Simina said that the international arena does seem to be
taking the FSM’s concerns regarding climate change seriously. “I think there’s progress in the way that the global community is handling the climate change issue,” he said. “Throughout the world, we’ve noticed that there is a lot of change in the way that people think and they are starting to do things that they wouldn’t have done 10 years ago… and for use, we’re only limited by our resources and what we have. We will to call and seek assistance from our donor partners to make sure that they continue to support. And we have all these different kind of funding mechanisms that are available and the COP-28 that's coming up, that’s going to be important in continuing (those mechanisms).
On the actual availability of those funds for use, President Simina said that it is difficult for small countries to be able to receive the funds just due to capacities in meeting the requirements but that Micronesia Conservation Trust had certainly met some and has been receiving funds for use. “We’re working on it. It’s a lot of work but we’re getting there.”
He said that one of the most dramatic Constitutional Amendments that was passed by the people of the FSM was one that the Constitutional Convention had not proposed but that was proposed by the FSM Congress the “right to a healthy environment”. “People don’t realize what that entails. It just made FSM one of the first nations to make the climate change environment a constitutional right… I’m proud to say that I was one of the one who sponsored that and Chairman Figir…It was passed and approved by the people. So now the challenge is how to make it work,” he said.
The fiscal cliff
The outcome of the financial provisions of a newly amended Compact of Free Association with the United States is now entirely in the hands of the U.S. Congress as they work to approve the budget of the United States that includes the financial agreements made under the Compact that both countries approved. “For us it would be a fiscal cliff,” President Simina said referring to the possibility that the US Congress could potentially not approve the provisions. “It will be just a drop off of funding source. National government would be OK,
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement Office (PNAO) is seeking to hire a VDS/VMS Officer to assist in the efficient and effective delivery of the VDS Program activities.
• Assist in the management and administration of the VDS.
• Manage, Monitor, and Report on Vessels MTUs and FAD Buoys in FIMS.
• Review, verify, and update manual positional data in PNA FIMS for VDS error correction.
• Maintain data integrity in FIMS received through FIMS Users.
• Conduct VDS trainings and workshops.
• Provide technical support to Parties, industry, and other FIMS users, as requested.
• Manage relations with PNA VDS/ VMS Service Providers.
• Review the technological requirements and scoping documents to ensure the effective and efficient operation of the VDS.
• Report to Parties at the PNA Annual and Special PNA meetings.
• Perform other duties as assigned.
• High School degree or equivalent,
• Training qualification as fishery officer/observer.
but it's our States. A large portion of their operational cost come from the Compact funding. Once that's out, they will not have money for the hospitals, for the nurses, doctors, for the teachers, this kind of thing. That could be terrible. To see that happen for even one month, that's not going to be good.”
It's what he told the largest Congressional delegation ever to have visited the FSM when they visited a month ago. “They know. They know exactly those things. That’s what we told them. I think it's something that's an eye-opener for them when they came out here. They witnessed things. They saw things on their own and talked to us. I think they went back more educated on the situation in our area than before.”
What would President Simina like the FSM to look like in four years
“We just want to make sure that there are better opportunities for our people and people will be able to afford things for themselves. And we will continue
• Training in IT or relevant subject area.
• Relevant degree (desirable)
• A minimum of two-years’ experience in VDS administration at Party level.
• Experience in the operation of databases, spreadsheets, word processing, and reporting systems.
• High level computer operating skills.
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English.
• (Detailed job description is available on PNA website: www.pnatuna.com ) The successful applicant will be offered a three-year contract with a comprehensive renumeration package with the possibility of extension.
The position is open to anyone, but preference is given to PNA nationals.
To apply, please submit a letter of interest to the CEO, a brief CV and 2 reference letters to email@example.com. All applications must be submitted electronically. Manual applications will not be accepted. Closing date to submit applications will be Sunday, October 15, 2023.
to strive to make the States and the National government collaborate even more. As you know, unity is the theme of our administration, the Palik and Simina administration. We want to make sure that the States and the National government continue to work together on things that are important to us. We feel that through unity, that can strengthen our relationship. I think that’s very important to the future of our administration, and what we did, for example, going out doing our visits, we learned a great deal from them like what are their priorities.”
An hour after the interview concluded, President Simina and his entourage left for the airport to travel to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly and to Washington D.C. for the U.S. – Pacific Summit.
President Simina agreed to provide media access to his administration during his term.
Australian student Sophie Rowan thrives in FSM through New Colombo Plan
Australian Embassy to the FSM
September 14, 2023
FSM-- Meet Sophie Rowan, (click for video) a dedicated Australian university student who has made a remarkable impact during her time in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) as part of the prestigious AU New Colombo Plan. Her journey is a testament to the power of international education and cultural exchange.
Sophie Rowan was selected as one of the successful applicants for the New Colombo Plan, which affords Australian students the opportunity to study and gain work experience in the vibrant and culturally rich FSM.
During her semester-long stay in Pohnpei, Sophie embarked on an educational adventure, pursuing studies in Public Health and Micronesia Studies at the College of Micronesia-FSM. Her academic pursuits were complemented by practical experience gained through a placement at the Pohnpei Department of Health Services.
Working in collaboration with Dr. Eliaser Johnson, Sophie played a crucial role in collecting vital health data and conducting policy research as part of the Pohnpei State Health Review. Her contributions have left a lasting impact on health initiatives in the region.
Expressing her gratitude, Sophie shared, "I am so grateful for all of
the wonderful people who have welcomed me into the community. I'm so happy to be in Pohnpei and couldn't have chosen a better place to call my home away from home. Kalahngan Pohnpei!"
Remarkably, following the conclusion of her placement, Sophie Rowan has decided to return to the FSM, a testament to the profound connection she has forged with the community and the significance of her work.
The FSM eagerly anticipates her return, as she continues to make a meaningful contribution to the nation's development. Sophie's story serves as
an inspiration for future generations of Australian students seeking to broaden their horizons through international education opportunities.
Find out more about the program
FSM artists shine in NAIDOC Facebook reels competition, “Paying Homage to Elders”
Australian Embassy to the FSM
September 15, 2023
FSM—In a celebration of artistic talent and heartfelt tributes, this year's winners of the NAIDOC Facebook Reels competition, Oscarson Ozky Ikalap and Madlima Elirose Leben, have been recognized for their outstanding contributions.
Second Secretary Rachelle Wood,
on behalf of the Embassy, extended her heartfelt congratulations to the deserving champions, Oscarson Ozky Ikalap and Madlima Elirose Leben, for their exceptional entries in the competition. Their creative works were part of the competition themed 'For Our Elders,' dedicated to honoring the esteemed elders of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).
Mr. Ikalap's winning entry featured a
soulful song, expressing gratitude to the elders for their role in paving the way for the generations to come. The video can be viewed here: Video Link. https://www.facebook.com/ozky.ikalap/ videos/1257050324975613
Ms. Leben's entry, a beautifully composed poem, paid homage to FSM elders and leaders, capturing the essence of their wisdom and contributions. The video can be accessed here: Video
Link. https://www.facebook.com/ reel/276058451836343
These creative expressions serve as a testament to the rich cultural heritage and deep respect for elders within the FSM community. The Embassy applauds both winners for their poignant contributions and extends its appreciation to all participants who shared their stories and talents during this meaningful competition.
Yellowfin Tuna reign supreme in first-ever Dr. Alexander
Panuelo Memorial Tournament
Pohnpei Fishing Club
September 16, 2023
Pohnpei—28 boats registered to participate in the first ever, Dr. Alexander Panuelo Memorial Tournament. The tournament was sponsored by Blue Nile, Mangrove Bay, Ocean View Plaza/ West Wing, Best Buy/One World Plaza/ Paranui, Panuelo Gas Station, Rain Water, Ambros, Inc/Budweiser.
The overcast weather was perfect for fishing. The presence of some birds scouring the water for the bait fish they eat meant that fishing grounds could be found. As a result, all of the biggest fish of the tournament were large yellowfin tuna but none was large enough to win the club’s yellowfin jackpot which currently stands at $1200 for a landed yellowfin over 140 pounds. Neither did any angler land a marlin on the day and so no one has yet won the marlin jackpot for a marlin above 450 pounds which now stands at $10,000.
However, Phillip Ioanis won the
tournament and received $700 cash and a $50 gift certificate from Panuelo Gas for the biggest fish of the tournament—a 51.2-pound yellowfin tuna. Second place went to Mihlo Doses on Sounkawai, with a 44.4-pound yellowfin. He won $600.00 and a $50.00 GC from Panuelo gas station. As usual, Marvey Spencer, Junior won a prize, this one the third-place prize with a yellowfin of 24 pounds. He won $500. All of the big fish winners were awarded a $50 gift certificate in addition to the cash prize. Fourth place in the big fish category was Leason Nickolas for $400 with a 23.4-pound yellowfin tuna. The fifth-place prize of $300 went to Wilmar Aquino for his yellowfin of 22 pounds.
Species prizes were also awarded for the first biggest and second biggest fish caught of each species. First prize for each species was $200 and the second prize was $100. All big species prize winners additionally received a $25 gift certificate.
Marvey Spencer, Jr. again won both the first and second prizes in the yellowfin tuna category with fish of 13 and 12.4 pounds.
Nigel Williams took the top wahoo prize with a 20.4-pound fish. His fish was followed by Karen Wonders’ fish of 19.4 pounds.
Phillip Ioanis had the top skipjack tuna at a respectable 16.4-pound
fish. His was followed by the fish caught by Nick Gilmete, which was 14.6 pounds.
Dr. Yepye Ezperanza had the biggest barracuda at 13.2 pounds. It was followed by Sean Ryan’s fish of 10 pounds.
Marvin Mihkel landed the biggest mahimahi at 11.2 pounds. Marvey Spencer’s brother Dave had a 9.4-pound fish for second place. Dave Spencer also landed the only grand trevally of the tournament, taking home the first prize for his fish of 6.2 pounds.
The tournament sponsors also awarded a prize for the top lady anglers of the tournament with first and second prizes the same as those of the species category. Calany Torres won both of the prizes for 11-pound and 8.8-pound skipjacks.
The top prizes for Junior Angler were $50 for first and $25 for second. The Spencer boys won the two prizes with Dave Spencer’s 11-pound skipjack in first and Marvey Spencer, Jr.'s 6.4-pound barracuda.
In their effort to ensure that all anglers eventually have an EPIRB of their own, the Pohnpei Fishing Club awarded four more EPIRBS to club members. The EPIRBS were awarded to Jimmy Silbanuz of the Nanmadol; Pelenter Route, Jr. of the Jumanji; Willy Elias of the Soun Kawai; and Gloria Yamada of the Ale Kehlail.
Each boat that entered the tournament received a 12-pack of Bud Light and a case of water from Rain Water.
Many thanks to everyone who helped out with the weigh-in and keeping track of the scores. We want to thank Mangrove Bay for allowing us to have the weigh-in at their facility.
Lastly, once again thanks to our sponsors, Blue Nile, Mangrove Bay, Ocean View Plaza/West Wing, Best Buy/One World Plaza/Paranui, Panuelo Gas Station, Rain Water, Ambros, Inc/Budweiser. We couldn’t do these tourneys without them.
The next tournament is the Budweiser Tournament on October 14.
Australia’s AUD170 million investment bolsters gender equality across the Pacific
Australian Embassy to the FSM
September 18, 2023
Suva, Fiji— Last week, Pacific gender advocates, Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) gender focal points, and implementation partners came together in Fiji for a crucial gathering to assess the strides made over the past two years in advancing gender equality across the Pacific region.
The intensive four-day workshop provided a platform for an in-depth exploration of the vast knowledge and experiences of partners involved. The central themes of the workshop were collaboration, collective learning, and fostering a shared vision aimed at promoting greater women's leadership and #GenderEquality. It served as an opportunity to spotlight Pacific-led strategies and make informed decisions about the strategic actions needed for the years ahead.
Australia's unwavering commitment to supporting the Pacific family and its partners in accelerating #GenderEquality and achieving positive outcomes for women, girls, and gender non-conforming individuals was a prominent focus of the discuss ions.
The Pacific Women Lead (PWL) initiative, funded by Australia, is a substantial five-year investment totaling AUD170 million, designed to
propel gender equality in the Pacific region. It represents a significant commitment to fostering a more inclusive and equitable society where gender disparities are actively addressed and dismantled.
Australia, Asian Development Bank, and FSM collaborate to empower Math teachers
Australian Embassy to the FSM
September 19, 2023
FSM-- In a testament to international collaboration and dedication to education, this summer marked a significant milestone for teachers in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Thanks to a robust partnership between Australia, the Asian Development Bank, and the FSM education sector, educators are now equipped with valuable mathematics resources and newfound teaching skills, aimed at enhancing student engagement through handson mathematics using locally sourced materials.
Under the banner of the "Improving the Quality of Basic Education" (#IQBE) project, more than 60 teachers and school leaders hailing from Kosrae and Pohnpei states participated in a specialized workshop, designed to enhance their mathematical proficiency. Additional training sessions are on the horizon for Chuuk and Yap states in the upcoming academic year.
These workshops, in conjunction with the 2023 Micronesian Teachers Education Conference, introduced a session titled "Teaching Mathematics
Through an Indigenous Lens." The primary objective is to bolster students' foundational learning by incorporating hands-on activities that utilize local and indigenous materials.
PIDB’s mission to foster economic growth highlighted in welcoming delegation from Micronesia
Furthermore, the IQBE project has taken proactive steps to support educators in the FSM. They have already distributed over $200,000 worth of mathematics resources to elementary school classrooms throughout the FSM this year, ensuring that teachers have access to the tools they need to inspire and educate their students effectively.
This initiative reflects a commitment to the professional development of FSM teachers and aims to elevate the quality of mathematics education in the region. As the 2023-2024 school year commences, the FSM expresses its pride in supporting its dedicated educators and wishes them success in their endeavors.
Pohnpei State Public Information
September 13, 2023
Pohnpei—In a gracious reception filled with camaraderie and shared goals, the President of the Pacific Islands Development Bank (PIDB), Lindsay Timarong, along with Rosa Weilbacher, Manager of Administration, and Mr. Walden Weilbacher of the APIL/ Ayuda Foundation, extended a warm "Kalahngan" to distinguished guests. The event saw the presence of Governor Oliver, Speaker Yamaguchi, members of the Pohnpei Delegation, Vice Speaker May, and Representative William from the Chuuk State Legislature.
The occasion held particular significance as Governor Oliver serves as a member of the Board of Governors for the Pacific Islands Development Bank, while Director Elnei holds a position on the Board of Directors. The PIDB's mission and purpose revolve around contributing to the acceleration
of economic and social development among member states and nations. This collective effort encompasses various regions, including Pohnpei State and other states within the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The PIDB's mandate is to promote economic cooperation, foster sustainable development, and create opportunities for collaboration among these entities. In alignment with this mission, the warm welcome extended to the visiting delegation reinforces the commitment to strengthening bonds and advancing the shared objectives of economic and social progress.
For further information about the Pacific Islands Development Bank and its mission and purpose, visit their website at https://pacificidb.com/missionpurpose/
Koa Moana Marines renovate Kosrae hospitalCpl. Trent A. Henry 1st Marine Logistics Group
September 6, 2023
Tofol, Kosrae--U.S. Marines with Task Force Koa Moana 23 renovated the Dr. Arthur P. Sigrah Memorial Hospital in Tofol, Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia, June 20 to Sept. 6, 2023.
The Dr. Arthur P. Sigrah Memorial Hospital was built in the 1970s and its last major renovation was more than 20 years ago. According to a 2021 site survey, with no maintenance done to the building, it had severely deteriorated.
“In terms of the operability, some of the rooms, because of the bad conditions, the walls were falling apart, the roof leaking … we used to have one consultation room, but now we have four since they came in and fixed it up,” said Dr. Tholman Alik, the director of the Department of Health Services of Kosrae. “The leaks coming from the roof were so bad that we had to shut down some of the spaces, but now they are fixed and we have access to the rest of those areas.”
Some areas in the hospital suffered from major deterioration including leaks, mold, termite and rodent infestations, damaged plumbing and rusted roof panels. The numerous issues risked safe working conditions and a sanitary environment for both the hospital staff and the patients in their care.
“Planning for this project was difficult because while we did a pre-deployment site survey, we were planning from 1,200 miles away,” said 1st Lt. Campbell Kerr, a native of Kansas City, Missouri and the Kosrae detachment officer in charge with Task Force Koa Moana 23. “Luckily, we were able to work hand in hand via email with state leadership to determine the requirements for the project.”
While the Marines had their work cut out for them, the end state would be a huge benefit for the Department of Health Services and the people of Kosrae.
“The biggest thing this renovation will bring us is the improvement of the facility itself in terms of cleanliness, safe working environment, a suitable working environment and tending to patient care,” said Alik. “It allows us to feel inspired and motivated to be healthcare workers in a clean
environment like this. From the patient side of it, I would think that they would appreciate being in an environment that is so clean and I think it would definitely be very helpful and encouraging for them as well to just be in a place that is much cleaner than it used to be. That will definitely help them to recover.”
According to Alik, in Kosrae, it is very difficult to find contractors to get projects done.
“I don't know how we could have done it without them,” said Alik. “I think it was the right call, we are very fortunate to have them accept our request to do the project. The nurses, the support staff, everybody working in this hospital had the experience and opportunity to
work alongside them. It really gives us a new surge of energy and motivation to build on this, in terms of the working environment and cleanliness.”
In addition to the hospital renovation, the Marines also worked on other community projects and participated in community relation events.
“We also participated in their expo by building stages for their performances and then we've also improved their playgrounds,” said Cpl. Jujawn Banks, a native of Port Huron, Michigan and a bulk fuel specialist with the task force. “The key takeaway of us being out here, especially at this time in this brutal heat, is ensuring that we can show people that despite the climate and weather, we can
still come and assist in any project that they need.”
Task Force Koa Moana 23, comprised of U.S. Marines and Sailors from I Marine Expeditionary Force, deployed to the Indo-Pacific with the goal of strengthening relationships with Pacific Island Partners. This summer is the first time the task force has gone to the Federated States of Micronesia.
"Interacting with the community here in Kosrae has been nothing but positive," said Kerr. "The excitement when we first got here was pretty extreme. The people here are extremely grateful that we were holding up our end of the bargain for our partnership with the Federated States of Micronesia."
Pohnpei's Court of Land Tenure welcomes new Principal Judge, Jackson Smith
Pohnpei State Public Information
September 22, 2023
Pohnpei-- In a significant development for the judicial system in Pohnpei, the honorable Jackson Smith has assumed the role of Principal Judge of the Court of Land Tenure. This milestone follows his nomination by Governor Oliver and subsequent confirmation by the 10th Pohnpei Legislature.
Chief Justice Nelson A. Joseph presided over a brief swearing-in ceremony held at the Court of Land Tenure, marking the official assumption of duties by Principal Judge Smith.
Task Force Koa Moana’s ‘Semper Fidelis’ spirit shines in Pohnpei firing range revival
Pohnpei State Public Information
September 14, 2023
Palikir, Pohnpei—A significant moment of collaboration and gratitude unfolded in Pohnpei as Governor Oliver, Speaker Yamaguchi, and Director of the Department of Public Safety, Patrick Carl, joined U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hillery and Captain Kevin Justice for the official handover of the newly renovated Pohnpei State firing range.
The extensive renovations of the Pohnpei State firing range were undertaken by the U.S. Marines of Task Force Koa Moana, who worked
diligently to bring the range up to Marine Corps standards. The project, totaling $50,000.00, covered the cost of supplies and materials essential for the comprehensive renovation. Remarkably, the Marines offered their expertise and labor in firing range renovations free of charge, exemplifying their commitment to supporting the local community.
During the handover ceremony, Governor Oliver expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Marines for their dedicated efforts in rejuvenating the firing range. In his address, he stated, "I'm sure this place will be utilized properly and appropriately," highlighting the critical role the Department of Public
Safety plays in safeguarding the public.
The Pohnpei State Government, represented by Governor Oliver and local officials, extended their sincere appreciation for the invaluable assistance
and unwavering support provided by the Marines of Task Force Koa Moana. Their dedication and expertise have not only revitalized the firing range but have also strengthened the bond between the United States and FSM.
Pohnpei’s long-awaited Administrative building renovation gains momentum
Pohnpei State Public Information
September 20, 2023
Peilapalap, Pohnpei— Governor Oliver recently held a pivotal meeting with Chinese Government officials, heralding the commencement of long-anticipated renovations for the Pohnpei State Administrative building. This significant development is set to transform the administrative hub and necessitate the relocation of several key offices within the building.
At the heart of the discussions was the impending renovation project, scheduled to commence by year's end. The project aims to revitalize the infrastructure of
the Pohnpei State Administrative building, enhancing its functionality and visual appeal.
One notable aspect of the renovation involves the relocation of the Governor's Office, along with other offices situated within the building. Spearheading this intricate process is Mr. Wincener David, Special Assistant to the Governor. Mr. David, who formerly served as the Director of the Department of Health Services, brings a wealth of experience to the task.
As plans for the office relocations take shape, the general public can anticipate updates regarding the new office locations. Transparency and clear communication will be a priority to ensure a smooth transition for all parties involved.
Governor Oliver and U.S. Ambassador exchange courtesies, reaffirm strong partnership
Pohnpei State Information Office
September 15, 2023
Peilapalap, Pohnpei— Pohnpei had the privilege of extending a warm welcome to the U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Her Excellency Jennifer L. Johnson.
In a cordial reception hosted at the Governor's conference room, Governor Oliver and Ambassador Johnson exchanged pleasantries and reaffirmed the strong partnership between the United States and FSM.
Governor Oliver graciously welcomed Ambassador Johnson, along with Deputy Chief of Mission Alissa Bibb and Military/Political Analyst Lynn Pangelinan, during the introductory visit. In his remarks, Governor Oliver expressed heartfelt gratitude for the ongoing assistance and support provided by the United States, underscoring the importance of the enduring partnership between the two nations.
In a gesture of mutual respect and appreciation, Ambassador Johnson returned Governor Oliver's copy of "Profiles in Courage," a timeless book authored by President John F. Kennedy. This particular copy, signed by President Kennedy's daughter, Caroline Kennedy, who currently serves as the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, was presented to Governor Oliver during the visit.
Ambassador Johnson's visit to Pohnpei is a symbol of the United States' commitment to strengthening diplomatic ties with the FSM and its dedication to the continued prosperity of the region.
FSM takes the lead and becomes first nation to sign BBNJ Treaty
FSM Information Services
September 20, 2023
New York, New York--Today at the UN Headquarters, H.E. President Wesley W. Simina signed the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Agreement, making the FSM the first nation to do so.
After approximately two decades of discussions and five years of active negotiations, the international community adopted the final text of an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (“UNCLOS”) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, also known as the “BBNJ Agreement.”
The FSM was the first to sign the BBNJ Agreement, after it was declared open for signature by UN Under-Secretary-
General for Legal Affairs Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares.
The BBNJ negotiations have been a priority of the FSM through the FSM Permanent Mission in New York, as well as through the Pacific Small Island Developing States (“PSIDS”), the Pacific Islands Forum (“PIF”) and participation in the COP15 UN
The Simina-Palik administration thanks the hard work and dedication of everyone in the FSM government who contributed to make this significant milestone possible and looks forward to continued collaboration with the international community to effectively conserve and protect the high seas.
President Simina presents FSM's priorities to UN Secretary General Guterres
FSM Information Services
September 18, 2023
New York, New York— H.E. President Wesley W. Simina is currently in New York to attend the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. On His Excellency’s first day on the ground, President Simina and members of his delegation, including Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs Ricky Cantero, and FSM Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Jeem Lippwe had a bilateral meeting with UN Secretary General António Guterres at the UN headquarters.
President Simina thanked the Secretary General for his continuous support for the FSM and Micronesian region, including his prompt acceptance of credentials for the FSM’s Permanent Representative Ambassador Jeem Lippwe, and the establishment of the UN MultiCountry Office located in Pohnpei. On that note, President Simina submitted the FSM’s request for the provision of adequate and sustainable funding for Micronesia’s UN Multi-
Country Office in order to ensure its long-term continuity, to which Secretary General Guterres assured their commitment.
President Simina raised a number of issues of importance to the FSM to the Secretary General, including advocating for the appointment of a special representative on climate change in order to elevate the issue within the UN Secretary General’s
office. President Simina also extended a standing invitation to the Secretary General to visit the FSM, to which the Secretary General noted plans to visit the Pacific region next year. Secretary General Guterres expressed his full solidarity to the FSM, noting the region as a fundamental priority in regards to climate change, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and peace and security.
FSM’s President Simina Meets Hawaii Governor and US Military Leadership En Route to UNGA
FSM Information Services
September 15, 2023
Honolulu, Hawaii—As he made his way to the United Nations General Assembly, His Excellency President Wesley W. Simina seized the opportunity to engage in crucial discussions with key stakeholders. His diplomatic journey included a meeting with T.H. Governor Josh Green of Hawaii and a visit to the US Indo-Pacific Command Post to explore security commitments under Title III of the Compact between the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).
During his meeting with Governor Green, President Simina expressed his heartfelt condolences for the devastating wildfire that recently ravaged Lahaina, Maui. The two leaders engaged in an in-depth conversation about the ongoing relief and rebuilding efforts in Lahaina, with President Simina affirming FSM's unwavering support and solidarity through its Hawaii consulate office. The discussion between President Simina and Governor Green also touched upon various topics of mutual significance, including the status of the pending amended compact package in the US Congress, assistance for FSM citizens affected by the Lahaina wildfire, and
the possibility of health and medical personnel support for the FSM.
Following his meeting with Governor Green, President Simina made a significant visit to the Indo-Pacific Command Post. He was warmly welcomed with an honors ceremony, which included the participation of two service members from the state of Kosrae. President Simina engaged in discussions with Chief of Staff, Major General Joshua M. Rudd, and other key staff members. The talks revolved around regional peace and security commitments between the United States and the FSM, focusing on shared goals and challenges, including a
deep dive into the security implications of climate change in the region.
President Simina's diplomatic endeavors aim to strengthen relationships and cooperation in the Pacific region, addressing critical issues such as disaster management, security, and support for affected communities.
For resources and information on climate change impacts and disaster management in the FSM, provided by the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance, please visit https://www.cfe-dmha.org/
IMF’s Robert Nicholl visits FSM, commits to continued support
FSM Information Services
September 14, 2023
Palikir— In a significant diplomatic exchange, FSM Vice President, The Honorable Aren B. Palik, played host to Mr. Robert Nicholl, Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on September 14, 2023. This visit not only underscored the FSM's commitment to international cooperation but also highlighted the IMF's dedicated support for the nation and the broader Pacific region.
Vice President Palik extended a warm welcome to Mr. Nicholl on behalf of His Excellency Simina and the entire FSM population. This gesture symbolized the deep-seated appreciation for the IMF's ongoing contributions to the FSM's development.
One of the key topics of discussion during this important meeting was the invaluable assistance that the FSM has received from the IMF over the
years. This aid has spanned various critical areas, including customs and tax reforms, banking supervision, statistical improvements, and access to technical expertise through the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Center (PFTAC) based in Suva, Fiji. Mr. Nicholl's presence in the FSM served as a testament to the IMF's dedication to supporting the nation's growth and stability.
Mr. Nicholl, in his role, also represents the interests of the FSM on the Board of Directors at the IMF, further solidifying the partnership between the two entities.
The International Monetary Fund, an international organization comprising 190 member countries, operates with a mission to promote global monetary cooperation, ensure financial stability, facilitate international trade, foster high employment, encourage sustainable economic growth, and alleviate poverty.
The FSM proudly became a member of the IMF in 1993, a decision that has since
borne fruit in the form of crucial support for the nation's economic development.
During the discussions, particular emphasis was placed on the challenges facing the FSM, including developmental hurdles and the ever-pressing issue of climate change. Both Vice President Palik and Mr. Nicholl expressed their enthusiasm for continued collaboration, highlighting their shared commitment to addressing these challenges together in
The visit of Mr. Robert Nicholl from the IMF serves as a testament to the FSM's strong ties with international organizations and its dedication to addressing critical issues in partnership with the global community. As the FSM charts its path toward a sustainable and prosperous future, the ongoing support of institutions like the IMF is sure to play a pivotal role in achieving these goals.
President Simina leads FSM delegation to UNGA, advocates for gender equality and climate action
FSM Information Services
New York, New York—From September 17th to the 22nd, a delegation from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), under the leadership of His Excellency President Wesley W. Simina, participated in the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The week at the UN was marked by a series of meetings and engagements, with President Simina delivering an address to the General Assembly on the 21st. Notable highlights from the week included:
- A bilateral meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General at the beginning of the week, during which President Simina urged the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative on Climate Change.
- Participation in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit, where global leaders convened to review and advance progress toward the 2030 Agenda. President Simina used this platform to highlight FSM's commitment under the regional initiative of the Micronesia Challenge and called for increased collaboration to achieve shared SDG targets.
- Involvement in the Climate
Mobility Summit on Addressing the Existential Threat of Sea Level Rise, where President Simina emphasized that international law does not permit the reduction of maritime zones for Micronesia due to climate changerelated sea-level rise. He further stressed that sea-level rise cannot challenge Micronesia's statehood and sovereignty.
- The historic signing of the Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Agreement, with FSM being the first country to sign it. This event underscored FSM's global leadership in ocean and high-seas protection.
- Attendance at a dinner reception hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, attended by President Simina and First Lady Simina.
- A meeting between Pacific Island Forum (PIF) leaders and the UN Secretary-General, where the SecretaryGeneral commended the forum leaders for their leadership in advocating for urgent action on climate and biodiversity issues.
- A Pacific Leaders luncheon hosted by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, during which discussions revolved around the future of the KoreaPacific Islands Partnership.
- Amidst these engagements, the
FSM delegation also showed solidarity by attending the general assembly sessions when fellow Micronesian and Pacific island leaders delivered their statements.
- In his address to the general assembly, President Simina emphasized the urgent need for action on the climate crisis, stating that "As islanders, resilience is in our DNA, but our resilience is not a placeholder for continued inaction." He highlighted the significance of SDG14 concerning oceans and announced FSM as the first signatory to the historic BBNJ treaty. Regarding SDG5 on gender equality, President Simina shared Micronesia's matrilineal heritage and acknowledged the need for improvement in women's representation in government leadership roles.
Members of the delegation included Acting Secretary of the Department of
Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ricky Cantero; Acting Secretary of Health and Social Affairs, Mr. Moses Pretrick; Acting Secretary of the Department of Resources & Development, Mr. Florian Yatilman; Department of Justice Consultant, Mr. Leonito Bacalando Jr.; Department of Environment, Climate Change & Emergency Management Consultant, Mr. Andrew Yatilman; Chief of Staff, Mrs. Jane Chigiyal; Department of Foreign Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary, Mr. Iven Yaropiy; and Special Assistant to the President, Mrs. Yolanda Joab Mori.
The Simina-Palik administration expressed gratitude to Ambassador Jeem Lippwe and the entire team at the FSM Permanent Mission in New York, along with all delegation members, for their dedicated efforts in successfully representing FSM at the 78th UNGA.
FSM President welcomes new US Ambassador, pledges to strengthen ties
FSM Information Services
September 13, 2023
Palikir— In a significant diplomatic ceremony held on Wednesday, September 13th, His Excellency President Wesley W. Simina warmly received the presentation of credentials from the United States Ambassador to the FSM, Jennifer L. Johnson.
During this momentous event, President Simina characterized the occasion as "the start of a new chapter in the enduring friendship between the FSM and the United States, a friendship that has withstood the test of time." He emphasized that this relationship is deeply rooted in shared history and democratic values.
Following the credentials ceremony,
President Simina and Ambassador Johnson engaged in substantive discussions about their shared vision for enhancing the enduring friendship between the FSM and the United States. President Simina took the opportunity to present his request for support from Ambassador Johnson concerning the pending approval of the FSM's amended compact package in the US Congress. They both recognized the timeliness of the upcoming second annual US - Pacific Island Country Summit, scheduled to take place in Washington, DC later in September, as an opportunity to further these discussions.
The ceremony drew the presence of various dignitaries, including T.H. Vice President Aren B. Palik, members of the cabinet, members of the diplomatic corps, Ambassador Johnson's family, national
PICRC-JICA project team and Ngiwal State Government sign MOU on mangrove ecotourism
Palau International Coral Reef Center
The Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and Ngiwal State Government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on mangrove ecotourism promotion in Ngiwal State on September 1, 2023. This one-year commitment will run until September 30, 2024.
This mangrove ecotourism promotion is part of a three-year joint coastal ecosystem management project of PICRC and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The PICRC-JICA project team and Ngiwal State Government are implementing a pilot activity to promote mangrove ecotours Under Ngiwal State’s Sustainable Ecotourism Management Plan.
The components of the ecotourism promotion include developing an ecotourism guide manual, improving facilities, capacity building, designing the ecotour, community awareness, and environmental education for students.
team has been carrying out monitoring of mangrove ecosystem and sedimentation at Taiyo Bay and Ngerbekuu River in Ngiwal State with support from Ngiwal State Government since 2022. Significant progress has been made in developing an understanding of the importance of mangrove ecosystem and sedimentation and their monitoring for sustainable management of coastal ecosystem.
The MOU ceremony was held at Labek in Ngiwal State. After Mr. Asap Bukurrou, aquarium supervisor of PICRC, explained the plan, Honorable Francisco Melaitau, Governor of Ngiwal State, and Ms. Caryn Lkong Koshiba, Interim Chief Executive Officer of PICRC, signed the MOU.
government staff, and US Embassy personnel.
The Simina-Palik Administration extends a warm welcome to Ambassador Johnson
and her family in the FSM. They eagerly anticipate the continuation and deepening of the enduring partnership between the FSM and the United States.
September 15, 2023
(Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia) - Strengthening the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in enhancing public finance accountability in the Pacific region took center stage during a transformative discussion organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific office in collaboration with the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organizations (PIANGO) under the Vaka Pasifika project funded by the European Union (EU). The four-day workshop,
titled, ‘Building Bridges of Accountability: Designing and Implementing Adaptive CSO Interventions for Public Finance Accountability in the Pacific’ from 11-14 September concluded with resounding success.
Participants from PIANGO CSO network based in 10 Pacific Islands Countries and Territories converged in Pohnpei, the Federated States of Micronesia to engage in profound discussions about their pivotal role in promoting effective public finance management. They brought their
Building bridges of accountability across the Pacific: Civil society strengthens its role in public finance management
MCT and Five Jurisdictional Foresters secured $7.8 Million Grant for Terrestrial Resource Management Capacity Building in Micronesia
Micronesia Conservation Trust
September 17, 2023
Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia– The Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT) is thrilled to announce the successful approval of a groundbreaking grant in partnership with the five jurisdictional foresters from the United States Forest Service (USFS) Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) opportunity. Valued at $7,793,803 million dollars, this grant is set to usher in a new era of terrestrial resource
management capacity building in the Micronesia region. The IRA was signed into law by President Biden on August 16, 2022. The IRA provides funds in incentives, grants and loans to support new infrastructure investments in the areas of clean energy, transportation and the environment with a focus on capacity building for workforce development.
This grant is an instrumental step towards bolstering the sustainability of Micronesia's terrestrial resources by empowering young leaders through
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experiences from Fiji, Guam, Kiribati, Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, The Northern Mariana Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu as well as all the four States of the Federated States of Micronesia.
The civil society engagement marked a significant milestone in fostering transparent and accountable budget planning and oversight in the Pacific. As a vital component of the broader Vaka Pasifika Project, an initiative generously funded by the EU. The project recognizes the pivotal role of CSOs in championing the voices of diverse and vulnerable communities across the Pacific, advocating for their inclusion in national development agendas.
Interactive sessions covered an array of topics, including techniques for analyzing budget documents, monitoring
government expenditures, and conducting meaningful public consultations. Through practical exercises and dynamic conversations, CSO representatives gained insights into best practices and innovative approaches to champion transparency and accountability in public funds utilization.
"Working with PIANGO and UNDP has helped us simplify budget information for our communities. Now, they can engage in meaningful discussions about public spending," shared Ms Pacisepa Burelevu, Finance Officer of the Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS).
The workshop also emphasized harnessing partnerships and networks to magnify the impact of CSOs in shaping transparent budget planning and oversight processes. Participants brought to the fore experiences from their respective countries, spotlighting triumphs, hurdles, and opportunities for strengthening synergy. Participants also took an opportunity to exchange ideas with a CSO representative from Jamaica who shared her expertise and experience in improving
scholarships, internships, fellowships, scientific research, and collaborations with colleges and universities. The initiative aims to equip emerging Micronesian leaders with the essential skills and knowledge needed to ensure the long-term vitality of our cherished natural assets.
The project will encompass all five jurisdictions within the Micronesia Challenge region, addressing the critical environmental and resource management capacity challenges faced across the region. It will serve as a comprehensive program of activities that engage governments at all levels, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), educational institutions, and student leaders. By doing so, it will provide invaluable resources and opportunities for the revitalization of the community forestry and watershed management sectors, ultimately delivering enduring resource management capabilities where they are most needed – within the communities of Micronesia.
Key components of the grant include:
Planning and Community Engagement: Fostering community involvement and awareness in resource management to
public financial accountability in Jamaica.
"Our organization is part of PIANGO’s National Liaison Units (NLUs). NLUs play a vital role in coordinating CSOs for effective public finance advocacy. The grant program will further boost our efforts," affirmed Mr Fuimaono Vaitolo Ofoia, Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organisations (SUNGO).
A highlight of the workshop was the development of tailored sub-grant proposals that mirror the project's objectives. Collaborative brainstorming sessions led by seasoned facilitators from both PIANGO and UNDP saw proposals taking shape, encompassing a diverse spectrum of activities. These ranged from grassroots budget awareness campaigns to advanced capacity-building workshops for policymakers.
"The workshop solidified a commitment to collective action and cooperation among CSOs in the Pacific. Participants are leaving with renewed purpose and
ensure sustainable practices.
Workforce Development: Providing training and education to create a skilled workforce capable of managing terrestrial resources effectively.
Scholarships, Internships, and Fellowships: Offering financial support and mentorship opportunities to young Micronesian leaders pursuing careers in environmental stewardship.
Scientific Research: Supporting research initiatives to further our understanding of Micronesia's unique ecosystems and biodiversity.
Coordination with Colleges and Universities: Collaborating with academic institutions to develop curricula tailored to the needs of future resource managers.
MCT, in conjunction with its partners, envisions a future where Micronesia's natural resources are managed sustainably, preserving the region's unique ecosystems for generations to come. This grant represents a significant step towards achieving that vision, fostering environmental stewardship, and building a more resilient Micronesia.
determination to implement their proposed activities effectively," highlighted Ms. Marstella Jack, Board Chair of PIANGO.
Ms. Rowena Dimaampao, Operations Manager at UNDP FSM Office stated, "This workshop exemplifies our commitment to fostering partnerships and empowering CSOs as agents of change. By enhancing their capacity, we strengthen public finance accountability, paving the way for sustainable development and inclusive growth in the Pacific."
The partnership developed between PIANGO and UNDP through the Vaka Pasifika Project with generous support from the EU underscores the collective dedication to fostering a more transparent and accountable utilization of public finances across the Pacific region. The workshop's success marks a significant step towards empowering CSOs, enhancing their role in public finance accountability, and ultimately advancing inclusive and sustainable development of Pacific communities.
President Simina arrives in DC for the US-Pacific Island Forum Summit at the White House
FSM Information Services
September 25, 2023
Washington D.C.—President Simina and fellow PIF leaders are currently in DC at the invitation of President Biden, for the second US-Pacific Island Forum Summit, to discuss the importance of the Pacific region and the future of USPacific Islands Forum relations.
In the opening plenary, President Simina spoke to the urgent issue of preserving maritime zones in the face of climate change related sea level rise, where he
stressed the importance of continued support for the landmark Declaration on Preserving Maritime Zones in the Face of Climate Change related Sea-level Rise that was passed by the PIF in 2021.
President Simina also added that economic stability is crucial to the FSM’s resilience, and that “the FSM is proud of its deep and enduring relationship with the United States, a cornerstone of the US-Pacific partnership.”, ending with a call to action to the US government for the ratification of the amended compact before the end of the fiscal year.
Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT) Expands Climate Resilience Initiatives through Partnership Agreements
Micronesia Conservation Trust
September 17, 2023
The Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT) takes a significant step towards bolstering climate resilience in the Northern Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with the signing of subsidiary agreements on September 14 and 16, 2023.
These agreements were linked with the Palau PAN Fund and the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA) to serve as executing entities for the Global Climate Fund (GCF) funded project titled "Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) for Reducing Community Vulnerability to Climate Change in Northern Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS)." The project is over $9.5 Million.
These subsidiary agreements solidify the terms and conditions governing the
utilization of GCF resources, while also establishing clear accountability measures for the participating entities in executing GCF-approved projects.
The core objective of this initiative is to scale up, replicate, and foster an enabling environment for Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) measures, focusing on locally-led climate adaptation efforts in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), each referred to as a "Host Country."
By the conclusion of the program, GCF financing will have been directed toward institutional and community capacity-building to ensure the long-term sustainability of the sub-projects funded by the Ecosystem-based Adaptation.
Dedicated Sub-Granting Facilities (SGFs)
will be operationalized in each host country to fund locally-led EbA subprojects, further cementing the project's commitment to empowering local communities in the fight against climate change.
The Micronesia Conservation Trust is dedicated to advancing climate resilience in the Northern Pacific SIDS and will continue to work in collaboration with its partners to ensure the success of this crucial initiative.
For media inquiries, please contact: Drinnette James (grantsofficer@ ourmicronesia.org)
About Micronesia Conservation Trust: The Micronesia Conservation Trust is a non-profit organization committed to conserving the natural resources and
biodiversity of the Micronesia region while promoting sustainable development and climate resilience.
For more information about MCT, please visit www.ourmicronesia.org. Follow us on social media: Facebook – Micronesia Conservation Trust Instagram – ourmicronesia
Junior Police Drills Competition celebrates discipline and dedication of future law enforcers
US Embassy to the FSM
September 17, 2023
Palikir, Pohnpei—The hard work and dedication of Junior Police Teams in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)
were spotlighted as Ambassador Jennifer L. Johnson attended the closing ceremony of the Department of Public Safety's Field Training Officer Program. The ceremony marked the culmination of a significant event, the 2nd Junior Police Drills and Ceremony Competition, which showcased the remarkable talents and discipline of young police officers.
In a display of unity and camaraderie, the U.S. Marines, who are in the region as part of Task Force Koa Moana, actively participated in the competition as judges, adding a touch of prestige to the event.
The Junior Police Drills and Ceremony Competition provided a platform for young potentially future police officers to showcase their skills, and discipline.
Ambassador Johnson's presence at the closing ceremony underlines the United States' commitment to supporting and acknowledging the efforts of FSM's law enforcement agencies. The event reinforced the importance of fostering strong partnerships and collaboration among various stakeholders to ensure the safety and well-being of the community.
As the competition concluded on a high note, the Junior Police Teams earned well-deserved recognition and applause for their outstanding performances, highlighting their potential as future leaders in law enforcement.
PICRC published five technical reports on Palau’s Marine Protected Areas so far in 2023
Palau International Coral Reef Center
To assess the effectiveness of different Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), researchers at the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) conduct long-term monitoring programs of Palau’s Protected Areas Network (PAN). So far in 2023, five PANMPA-related technical reports have been published, each one looking at the results of surveys conducted at one MPA – Olterukl MPA located in Ngatpang State, Medal Ngediull MPA located in Airai State, Ngerumekaol MPA located in Koror State, Ngermasech Conservation Area located in Ngardmau State, and Ngelukes Conservation Area located in Ngchesar State.
“Long-term monitoring allows us to understand how the MPAs benefit coral reefs, seagrass beds, commercially-important fish, and macroinvertebrates,” stated Geraldine Rengiil, PICRC’s Research Director. “From the results, we can make management recommendations to improve the MPAs and the health of Palau’s ocean.”
The technical report on Olterukl MPA presented the results of the first surveys conducted at that MPA. It found that the MPA had a higher density of clams, sea cucumbers, and fish than a nearby
unprotected site and that the protection seemed to especially benefit parrotfish. However, the area is also being impacted by nutrient runoff, sedimentation, and shipping-related damage, which affects its ability to protect seagrass and corals. Ngermasech Conservation Area and Ngerumekaol MPA have been surveyed every other year since 2015 and 2014 respectively. Both were found to be effective at protecting macroinvertebrates like clams, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers, but the impacts on fish and coral are harder to measure. Future surveys will allow researchers to better understand the dynamics that drive the changes in these areas.
Ngelukes Conservation Area and Medal Ngediull MPA have each been surveyed regularly since 2011. Both MPAs are located near watersheds and the researchers concluded that this is impacting their effectiveness. At Medal Ngediull MPA the watersheds seem to be enhancing nutrient concentration, which is causing an increase in macroalgae cover and a decrease in coral cover. Sedimentation from the watersheds also seems to be negatively affecting the MPA. PICRC researchers recommend mitigating the runoff from the watersheds. At Ngelukes Conservation Area, management of the Ngerdorch Watershed needs to improve to reduce the amount of sedimentation in the bay. An increase in the size of the Ngelukes CA is also recommended.
All five technical reports can be found at https://picrc.org/ work/technicalreports/. To discuss these findings further, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Belt and Road Cooperation Contributes to China-FSM FriendshipBy H.E. WU Wei, Chinese Ambassador to the FSM
These days, I read a short story that touched me deeply, and would like to share it with my friends in the FSM. In May of this year, at the 8th UN Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs held in New York, Ms. Korarome from Papua New Guinea (PNG), shared her story that in 2020, with the help of Chinese experts, she started to use Juncao (mushroom grass) technology to grow mushrooms. Soon she earned money, with which she built a new house and bought a new car. She also set up a large-scale Juncao mushroom farm which produced more than 200 kilograms of fresh mushrooms every week and employed 25 local workers, most of whom were women. The locals took Juncao as the grass to wealth and happiness.
The story of Ms. Korarome is an epitome of the Belt and Road cooperation with Pacific island countries to benefit the people there. The China-aid Juncao and Upland Rice Technology Project to PNG is an important assistance project under the personal attention of President Xi Jinping. In 2018, during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to PNG, this Project became a part of the Belt and Road cooperation between the two countries. At present, Juncao technology has been introduced to 9 provinces in PNG covering 6,121 farmers, and the upland rice planting area has reached 1,796.4 hectares covering 13,499 farmers. The entire Project has benefited more than 45,000 people in PNG.
On September 18, I met two Chinese experts on Juncao who were traveling to Kosrae via Pohnpei. They were members of the ChinaAid Agricultural Technical Cooperation Program (Phase XII) in the FSM, and planned to teach Juncao technology to farmers of Kosrae within two years. Like all Chinese builders participating in cooperation projects in the FSM, they looked full of passion for working in friendly undertakings, which brought me great hope for further promoting China-FSM Belt and Road cooperation to help the people of the FSM achieve a better life.
In the Autumn of 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which received a warm response worldwide. Ten years on, the BRI has become the most popular global public
good and the biggest international cooperation platform. How does the Belt and Road cooperation stand out on the world stage and continue to attract partners? Because it is peoplecentered cooperation guided by the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. Let me refer to some achievements that brightens its ten years.
A decade’s endeavor has laid a solid ground for more effective cooperation mechanisms. To date, China has signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with 152 countries and 32 international organizations. Over three quarters of countries around the world have joined this Initiative. China successfully held the first and the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation respectively in 2017 and 2019, through which national governments, local authorities and enterprises reached a series of cooperation agreements, important measures and pragmatical results. China has facilitated the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the BRICS New Development Bank, the Silk Road Fund, and many other Chineseforeign cooperative funds, and promoted the building of Belt and Road financial cooperation network. China gives full play to platforms, such as China International Import Expo, China International Fair for Trade in Services, China Import and Export Fair, China International Consumer Products Expo and so forth, to strengthen dialogue and exchanges among all parties, and promote trade liberalization and facilitation, contributing to an open world economy. Stories of BRI Cooperation mechanisms can go on and on, where all parties concerned are able to build consensus and adopt plans for future cooperation.
Practical cooperation with concerted efforts has yielded fruitful outcomes. Over the past decade, Belt and Road cooperation has galvanized nearly USD 1 trillion of investment, established more than 3,000 cooperation projects, and created 420,000 jobs, lifting almost 40 million people out of poverty outside China. China’s high-speed trains, highways, bridges and ports are going abroad and world-renowned, substantially improving trade, investment and national living conditions of participating countries. Take the China-Laos Railway as an example. The railroad has a 422-km section within the Lao territory, including 197 kilometers of tunnels and 164 bridges. The Chinese construction company overcame great difficulties and successfully completed the railway construction, turning Laos from a land-locked country into a land-linked one. According to the World Bank, by 2030, Belt and Road cooperation is expected to increase trade between 2.8 and 9.7 percent for participating countries, and between 1.7 and 6.2 percent for the world, increasing global
real income by 0.7 to 2.9 percent. Groups of positive data fully show that the Belt and Road cooperation is a grand project which creates impetus for global growth and brings opportunities for world development.
China’s wisdom and global vision is benefiting the world. As the world is undergoing major changes unseen in a century, the current international situation is unstable and volatile with sluggish global economic recovery, and all countries need to join hands to tackle those challenges. Guided by the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, the BRI represents an approach to international cooperation featuring mutual respect, justice, equity and cooperation for win-win outcomes, and contributes China’s solutions to global difficulties. Belt and Road cooperation with its core concepts incorporated into documents from the UN, G20, APEC, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other international and regional organizations, has become an important practical platform to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. Facing changes in our world, our times and history, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, which have further enriched the connotation of the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and the BRI, and injected more stability, certainty and positive energy to the world.
In March 2017, when President Xi Jinping met with Peter M. Christian, then-President of the FSM, he invited the FSM to participate in Belt and Road cooperation for shared development. In November 2018, the two sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the BRI, opening a new chapter in China-FSM cooperation. Over the past 5 years, our bilateral cooperation has made remarkable outcomes. The implementation of demonstration projects and “small yet smart” programs has played a leading role in China-FSM high-quality Belt and Road cooperation and continued to deepen people-to-people connectivity between the two countries.
Under the framework of Belt and Road cooperation, China has carried out a host of projects in the FSM, such as roads, bridges, gymnasiums, government buildings and schools. Among them, the China-aid secondary road in Pohnpei is said to be the “best road in the FSM” by locals. The China-aid gymnasiums have also become local landmarks. And the China-aid Pilot Farm is widely welcomed by people of the FSM. Furthermore, China stays fully attentive to the actual needs of the FSM, and cooperates well with the local governments and communities accordingly. On such basis, multiple livelihood projects in disaster
prevention and reduction, climate change, agriculture, health and other fields have been implemented one after another, which have greatly promoted people’s well-being in the FSM.
Nothing can separate people who share the same vision. As a reliable friend of the FSM, China has always attached much importance to the Belt and Road cooperation with the FSM. The 21st century should be an era for developing countries to accelerate their development. China is ready to seek greater synergy with the FSM between the BRI and the Blue Prosperity Micronesia, expand cooperation in fields such as agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure, trade, investment and tourism, so as to advance the sustained and steady growth of bilateral relations. While promoting Belt and Road cooperation, China is willing to help and support the FSM to jointly realize the historical mission of accelerating development and revitalization.
This year marks the 34th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Over the 34 years, the two countries have been helping each other through thick and thin. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FSM provided financial assistance to China at the earliest time, to help China fight the pandemic. Recently, China suffered from typhoon disaster, and H.E. President Wesley W. Simina sent a message of condolences to China. We will always bear these in mind. Over the decades, China has provided selfless assistance to the FSM, without any political strings attached, never imposing on the latter, and never seeking self-interest and the so-called “sphere of influence”. Looking ahead, China is willing to help the FSM to the best of its ability.
Recently, the Kosrae State Legislature adopted the resolution in support of the one-China policy and the FSM-China relations, which is an extension of the FSM Congressional Resolution passed in this April reiterating its support for the one-China Policy. Facts have fully proved that China and the FSM enjoy broad prospects for cooperation, and ChinaFSM friendship crosses mountains and seas. Thereby, maintaining and developing ChinaFSM friendly relations serve the fundamental interests of the two countries.
After ten years’ forging ahead against winds and waves, the BRI is to set sail on a new journey. China will hold the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in October this year. We welcome the FSM friends to join us in the grand gathering for common development, and promote the substantive and high-quality development of our Belt and Road cooperation and usher in a brighter future of our two countries.
Blue Prosperity Micronesia and National Geographic Pristine Seas team up for groundbreaking marine science expedition in FSM
Blue Prosperity Micronesia
September 24, 2023
Palikir, Pohnpei - Blue Prosperity Micronesia (BPM) and National Geographic Pristine Seas (NGPS) are joining forces for an extraordinary twomonth scientific expedition, starting on October 14th in Kosrae. The M/V Argo will serve as the expedition vessel, traveling to Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk and finally concluding in Yap.
This initiative will combine archipelago-wide research, storytelling and community engagement to inform decision-making and showcase FSM’s rich underwater environments and deep cultural ties to the ocean. By bridging critical knowledge gaps, the expedition’s findings will inform future ocean management and marine protection efforts through development of Marine Spatial Plans. The data collected will also contribute to the
Micronesia Challenge, reinforcing the region's dedication to preserving the ecosystems on which people and cultures depend upon.
During the expedition, the team will host events in each state where community members will have the opportunity to hear about what scientists have observed in FSM’s underwater environments. Additionally, local students will be invited to join virtual Explorer Classrooms to connect with scientists aboard the M/V Argo and learn about marine science in the FSM.
The expedition is the result of an international collaboration between Blue Prosperity Micronesia and National Geographic Pristine Seas in close partnership with the FSM Government and Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Yap states. A dozen scientists from across the FSM will join the expedition to study the nation’s waters.
A documentary film showcasing FSM’s unique marine environments and cultural ties to the ocean will follow the expedition. The film will highlight FSM to an international audience, boosting its profile as a global tourist
destination and ocean conservation leader. Stay updated by following Blue Prosperity Micronesia on Facebook and Instagram at www.facebook. com/blueprosperitymicronesia and www.instagram.com/ blueprosperitymicronesia
WCPFC represented at the 8th Pacific Tuna Forum and the Blue Economy Annual Trade and Conference
Port Moresby and Manila, September 6-8. The 8th Pacific Tuna Forum took place on September 6 and 7 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, bringing together government officials, industry professionals, and heads of regional and sub-regional organizations for a two-day event featuring presentations and exhibits related to the Forum theme, “Strengthening tuna sustainability and industry development in the ‘Blue Pacific Continent’ through increased innovation, partnership and participation”.
WCPFC Executive Director, Ms. Rhea Moss-Christian, attended the Forum as one of several guest speakers and delivered a presentation entitled: “The challenges of sustainability and working towards a regional blue initiative for Tuna: The role of WCPFC.” Ms. Moss-Christian highlighted the work of WCPFC in establishing an overarching management framework for tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean and its contributions toward tuna sustainability in the region. She also emphasized the important role that small island developing State members of the WCPFC play in fisheries management, noting their significant contributions to
sustainability of the region’s fish stocks.
Other speakers included the recently appointed Pacific Oceans Commissioner, Dr. Filimon Manoni, who spoke on the implications of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies on Pacific Island countries. Dr. Sangaa Clarke, CEO of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) and Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen, Director-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), also delivered presentations relating to tuna sustainability, the role of the PNA Vessel Day Scheme, and regional solidarity. Dr. Leontine Baje of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Oceanic Fisheries Programme spoke on the impacts of climate change on tuna fisheries as well as the development of electronic monitoring programmes throughout the region. The diversity and range of guest speakers made for an informative two days with the strengthening of existing partnerships and the development of new collaborations among many stakeholders in the region’s tuna fishery.
ED Moss-Christian also attended the Blue Economy Annual Trade and Conference (BEACON) on September 8 in Pasay,
Philippines, as a guest speaker on the topic of “The role of the WCPFC in the sustainable blue economy in the Western and Central Pacific region.” BEACON provided an opportunity to explore the sustainable use and management of the Philippines’ marine and coastal resources, manpower, and security. The event brought together experts, policymakers, and stakeholders to exchange ideas, share best practices, and develop actionable plans for promoting the blue economy’s sustainable development in the Philippines. Other speakers included the Philippines Secretary of National Defense, the Philippines Secretary of Tourism, and a former Senior Associate Justice of the Philippines Supreme Court.
The Pacific Tuna Forum was jointly organized by INFOFISH and the PNG National Fisheries Authority, with cosponsorship from WCPFC and various other regional organizations. INFOFISH will host the 18th World Tuna Trade Conference and Exhibition in Bangkok, Thailand from 20-22 May 2024.
BEACON was organized by The Maritime League, a non-profit Filipino maritime foundation established in 1990 to address the need for an organization to help spur progress in the maritime sector and advance the interest of the maritime profession and the maritime industry as a whole in the Philippines.
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WCPFC’s Compliance Manager to Chair Global Tuna Project Steering Committee
Rome, 11-14 July 2023. The Inaugural Project Steering Committee Meeting for the second phase of the Common Oceans Tuna Project, titled “Sustainable Management of Tuna Fisheries and Biodiversity Conservation in the ABNJ (2022-2027)” took place from 11 to 14 July at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy. The Steering Committee Meeting brought together representatives from the Secretariats of each of the five tuna RFMOs (CCSBT, IATTC, ICCAT, IOTC and WCPFC), and the project’s executing partners representing intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, and civil society to discuss progress and plans for the next four years.
WCPFC Compliance Manager, Dr Lara Manarangi-Trott, attended and was elected Chair of Project Steering Committee to serve for a twelvemonth term (until the end of the next annual steering committee meeting).
The Project Steering Committee is responsible for providing general oversight of the execution of the Project and will ensure that all activities agreed upon under the Global Environment
Facility (GEF) project document are adequately prepared and carried out.
The project, which commenced on 1 June 2022, is the second phase of Common Oceans Tuna Project which is aimed to address urgent challenges in global tuna fisheries with a focus on the areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), by contributing to efforts that improve the status of tuna species and their habitats, reduce bycatch, generate more data and knowledge, improve cross-sectoral governance and benefit dependent communities.
The project will continue to work on three technical components of strengthening management of tuna fisheries, compliance with conservation and management measures, and reducing the environmental impacts of tuna fishing in ABNJ.
WCPFC has provided in-kind cofinancing to the project (USD$8,471,636) comprising a contribution in staff time and other operating expenses devoted to activities supporting the project objectives.
The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries
Temporary adviser joining Secretariat
Introducing Elise Stull, who has temporarily joined our team on a four-month attachment. She’ll be supporting the Secretariat through WCPFC’s busy season under direction of Executive Director Rhea Moss-Christian and Compliance Manager Lara Manarangi-Trott.
Elise is a lawyer who has worked for a decade with the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and other Pacific small island developing States on climate change, oceans and fisheries issues. She supported FSM at WCPFC’s 14th annual meeting in 2017 as well as at various fisheries and oceans meetings at the United Nations over the years.
In addition, she served as the Coordinator of the International MCS Network from 2014-2016, during which it hosted a global workshop in Auckland, New Zealand with high participation from the Pacific region.
Elise joins us from Washington, DC’s non-profit and legal community, and her attachment is voluntary. For further information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Agency (FFA) is a project executing partner, with activities to be carried out in support to the strengthening the capacity of fisheries officer to monitor and control their offshore tuna fishery. The Pacific Community (SPC) is also a project executing partner and is involved in a collaborative project with
Mercator Ocean International (MOI) and Conservation International, to improve understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on tuna fisheries globally.
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Trust Fund review
Trust Fund for the People of the Federated States of Micronesia
September 12, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Trust Fund Committee of the Trust Fund for the People of the Federated States of Micronesia (the Fund) conducted its Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) fourth quarter meeting on August 23 (EDT) and 24 (Pohnpei) via teleconference. The Trust Fund Committee Members reviewed the Fund’s investment performance from April to July 31, 2023, approved service agreements for annual accounting and audit services, reviewed and approved the fiscal year 2024 (FY24) investment and administrative expense budget, and discussed possible Committee actions for FY24.
For the April-June quarter, the Fund was up 2.6%, net of fees, (benchmark 2.8%) with a total net asset value of $1,063,483,934. For July, the most recent full month of reporting, the Fund was up a further 1.8%, net of fees, (benchmark 2.1%) and had a net asset value of $1,082,525,772. For fiscal year 2023 to July 31st, the Fund had gained 13.9%%, net of fees, (benchmark 15.5%).
The Committee approved service agreements for FY24 with Bookminders to provide accounting services and Baker Tilly to conduct the FY23 annual audit. The Committee reviewed FY23 investment and administrative expenses and approved the expense budget for FY24. The Committee also discussed possible actions to prepare for FY24.
The next quarterly meeting of the Fund will take place in early December for the first quarter of FY24.
As stated in Article III of the Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia Implementing Section 215 and Section 216 of the Compact, as Amended, regarding a Trust Fund, the purpose of the Fund is to contribute to the economic advancement and long-term budgetary self-reliance of the Federated States of Micronesia by providing an annual source of revenue after Fiscal Year 2023. For more information on the Fund, visit the official website at https:// fsmcfatf.com/
Congressional Act re-establishes National Share of Compact Funding
Congress Information Services
PALIKIR, POHNPEI. September 20, 2023 – After nine years of allocating its share of amended Compact funding to the states, the Twenty Third Congress, today passed Congressional Act 23-19 to re-establish the National Government’s share through modification of the distribution formula for the 2023 Amended Compact funding.
In anticipation of the new Constitutional Amendments and in preparation for the 2023 Amended Compact, CA 23-19 called for the modification of the distribution formula for amended Compact funds to allow the National Government a ten-percent (10%) share; centralize the Compact Infrastructure sector grants within the Department of Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure; and to establish transitional provisions for the amended compact portions of the Budget for Fiscal Year 2024.
The first part of the Act would modify the Amended Compact distribution formula to re-establish the National Government’s share from zero percent (0%) to ten percent (10%). The distribution formula for Compact Two had provided the National Government with the following
percentage of Compact funds: for FY 2005 and FY 2006 - 8.65%; from FY 2007 to 2013 - 10%; for FY 2014 - 5.%, and for the past nine years from FY 2015 to current FY 2023, the National Government’s share has been zero percent (0.0%).
The amendment is necessitated by the new Constitutional amendment requirement that 50% percent of the local revenue from fishing agreements be retained by the National Government and the other 50% to be divided among the States.
Historically, local revenue from fishing agreements has funded the National Government operations, the National Public Auditor, national agencies, boards, authorities and commissions, in addition to providing grants, subsidies, contributions to capital and human resource development needs for the Nation. With half of the local revenues from fishing agreements removed, the National Government is unable to assist those programs and others across the Nation reliant on funding from National Government. It is necessary therefore to increase the National Government share of available Compact funds from zero percent (0%) to ten percent (10%).
Accordingly, the amended Compact proposed distribution formula beginning FY 2024, would be as follows: Chuuk – 38.00%, Kosrae – 10.89%, Pohnpei – 25.31%, Yap – 15.80%, National Government – 10%.
It was noted that 10% share to the National Government reflects additional costs that will be borne by the National Government under the 2023 Amended Compact. Funding that was historically provided for the National Department of Education under Supplemental Education grants and excluded from the distribution formula is now part of the Education Compact Sector and subject to the distribution formula.
The National Government will also be responsible for appropriating funds for the Single Audit, either from its share of Compact Funds or domestic revenue. Finally, there will be substantial extra costs associated with the enhanced reporting and compliance requirements relating to the infrastructure projects.
The 2023 Amended Compact also includes various compliance requirements, enhanced performance and financial reporting on the infrastructure
projects along with the hiring of a third-party for the reporting. To ensure compliance with the requirements relating to infrastructure projects, CA 23-19 further called for the centralization of the Compact Infrastructure Funds for the national and four state governments within the Department of Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure (TC&I).
As such, each State Government’s infrastructure budgets would be “moved to and consolidated with the National Government’s for purposes of the Plan for the Division of Annual Economic Assistance. Infrastructure Sector Grants shall then be retained by the National Government and managed by the Department of Transportation, Communications & Infrastructure, and released as sub-grants to the States, on a project-by-project basis.”
Finally, in recognition of certain lapse dates, CA 23-19 called for transitional provisions for FY 2024 to include adjustment of dates for certain internal fiscal procedures for compact implementation along with revised Compact planning estimates and revised Compact budget request, among others.
Congressional measures readjust national tax structures
Congress Information Services
PALIKIR, POHNPEI. September 20, 2023- To cushion the Nation against the economic impacts of the new Constitutional Amendments, the Twenty Third Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia has passed measures to readjust the national tax structure.
On September 20,2023, the Congress passed Congressional Act (CA) 23-20, which called to change the percentage of revenue sharing between the National and State Governments on the collection of tax revenue.
In light of the new Constitutional Amendment requiring the revenues from fishing agreements to be divided equally between the National and State Governments, the Congress deemed it “an appropriate time to review and modify” certain aspects of the current structure of revenue sharing. Under the law, the state governments receive eighty percent (80%) of the fuel tax collected; and fifty percent 50% of taxes from wage
and salary, gross receipts and import duties, other than fuel taxes.
Through Public Law 18-107, the Congress had enacted an additional 20% to be added to the states’ 50% share of tax collected. Therefore, beginning fiscal year 2016 the states’ share of taxes collected from wages and salary, gross receipt and import duties an increased from fifty percent (50%) to seventy percent (70%). The states’ additional 20% share was deposited by the National Government into each State Government’s sub-account ‘A’ of the FSM Trust Fund with a provision that the funds are not to be withdrawn by the States. During the COVID-19 pandemic the Law was amended to allow: ”on an extraordinary basis,” the extra 20% of the net tax collected during the fiscal year 2021, 2022, 2023 …to be made it available to the States for their use instead of being deposited into the states’ subaccount ‘A’ of the FSM Trust Fund.
Taking into account the new Constitutional Amendments, the Congress passed CA
23-20, to remove the extra 20% and return the revenue sharing to its original levels prior to FY-2016. Accordingly, the State Governments will maintain its eighty percent (80%) of the fuel tax collected and its original fifty percent (50%) of the wage and salary tax, gross receipts tax, and import duties other than the fuel tax.
The other measure on the national tax structure is CA 23-21, which called to zero out the deposits into the FSM Trust Fund from major corporation tax and from fishing access fees.
Under current law, fifty percent (50%) of major corporation tax and twenty percent (20%) of all National Government revenue derived from fishing access fees are automatically deposited into the FSM Trust Fund.
According to the Committee Report (SCR No. 23-17) on the measure, “in light of recent events, this is an appropriate time to review and reconsider these automatic deposits into the FSM Trust Fund. The
Constitutional Amendment requiring the sharing of fishing access fees with the State Governments will have a substantial impact on the revenue available for National Government operations.
While the National Government is adjusting to the effects of the revenue decrease, your Committee finds this is an appropriate time to suspend the automatic deposits into the FSM Trust Fund, and notes that Congress can still make appropriations into the FSM Trust Fund as revenue allows.”
The Congress passed CA 23-21, to stop the automatic distributions to the FSM Trust Fund from the two revenue sources: taxes on major corporations and fishing access fees.
The two measures along with other Congressional Acts have been transmitted to the President to be signed into law, or they automatically become law after 30 days.
Micronesia Cleanup Day Renewable Energy Model Contest
The Micronesia Clean up Day Planning Committee in collaboration with its partners in environment namely, VITAL, SPC, JICA, U.S. EMBASSY, MCT, and the COLLEGE OF MICRONESIA-FSM congratulate the following elementary and high school students within the FSM for achieving 1st, 2nd, and 3rd winning places in the RENEWABLE ENERGY MODEL CONTEST sponsored by SPC-EU during the school year 2022 to 2023.
National level- 1st place winner (Elementary School) -Wind Energy
National level- 2nd place winner (Elementary School) -Biomass -Richard Mongkeya, Lelu Elementary School, 6th grade
National level- 3rd Place winner (Elementary School) - Wind Energy
Winners were recognized during the Micronesia Clean Up Day (MCD) Award Ceremony held at the FSM DECEM Conference room on September 13, 2023. The ceremony was attended by members of the MCD Planning committee, state counterparts at EPAs/KIRMA, national government representatives, Principals and students of winning schools, and relevant partners in environment. Fr. Burdencio of the Catholic Church in Pohnpei led the invocation and benediction with Ms. Amanda Abello guiding the audience with the FSM anthem. Assistant Secretary of the FSM DECEM Emergency Management Division Ms. Abigail Lambert provided the welcoming remarks, while an SPC representative, Assistant Secretary Overhoff, and MCD representative presented the awards to the students.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION WAS ALSO EXTENDED TO OUR PARTNERS IN ENVIRONMENT FOR THEIR ONGOING SUPPORT -
WTO told to target large-scale fleets at fish subsidies talks
Pacific News Leaders
15th September, 2023
World Trade Organization (WTO) ambassadors, government officials and civil society representatives heard a range of perspectives on the importance of allowing for development in any further agreement on fisheries subsidies in the WTO.
The WTO Public Forum session aimed to discuss both the existing Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies and the ongoing negotiations on subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.
“This Public Forum event provided for WTO Members and those in attendance, the opportunity to hear a variety of perspectives on the negotiations, including the reason to target large-scale fleets, the importance to protect small-scale fishers from losing vital subsidies, and the need to ensure that developing countries retain the ability to develop their fisheries,” said Mr Adam Wolfenden, Deputy Coordinator of the Pacific Network on Globalisation.
The panel presentation comes ahead of next week’s round of WTO negotiations on the prohibitions targeting subsidies for over-capacity and over fishing.
Mr Peter Lunenborg from the intergovernmental body, South Centre, presented a detailed analysis of the central role that large-scale fleets have in not only catching the most fish, but in receiving the majority of harmful subsidies and therefore should be the target of any outcome that aims to reduce subsidisation of fishing capacity.
On the other side of the issue of large-scale fishing, is the importance of small-scale fishing to livelihoods and sustenance across many communities, and the need to protect them from losing vital government supports.
“The fisher-folks perspective about the importance of government support for the sector is to sustain their livelihoods as well as the types of subsidies, especially those relating to capacity that are needed for fishing” Alieu Sowe, Coordinator Gambia Fisher Folks Association.
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Permanent Representative to the WTO, Ambassador Mere Falemaka, provided a perspective on the importance of Pacific fish stocks both within the region and globally. She further highlighted the need to ensure that any outcome on this issue does not lock the Pacific Island Countries out from being able to fish their own stocks.
“Developing countries, including Pacific WTO members, must not lose their right to develop and fish their own resources. This is key to delivering on the Sustainable Development Goal mandate for the negotiations but is at risk of being lost in the current direction of these ongoing talks” commented Mr Adam Wolfenden,
The panel was organised by the Pacific Network on Globalisation, Handelskampanjen, and the World Forum on Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers.
18 September 2023
Vulnerable island nations in the Pacific are in urgent need of resources to respond to the worsening climate crisis. Building on the success of mobilizing US $67 million in climate finance its first year of operation, the Climate Finance Access Network (CFAN) is partnering with the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) to expand capabilities in financing where they are most needed.
CFAN provides localized technical support to developing nations to respond to a clear gap in meeting country-identified needs around climate finance access. The result is a network that provides technical support to unlock and accelerate climate finance at scale by deploying embedded climate finance advisors at national and regional levels.
Launched in 2021 with the support of the Canadian Government, CFAN placed advisors in Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. In their first year, these advisors unlocked US $67 million in climate financing to support resilience, with an additional US $348 million investment pipeline.
“What CFAN’s Pacific advisors have achieved demonstrates that this model of highly trained, long-term, embedded support works to secure finance where it’s needed most,” said Laetitia De Marez, Senior Director of CFAN and RMI’s Islands Energy Program. “The results are clear: a robust and diverse pipeline of highimpact projects. We are excited to build on that success and support countries’ ambitions as the network expands in the region and globally.”
A generous philanthropic donor has joined CFAN and allowed the network to further extend its reach in the Pacific by deploying three additional advisors in French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), along with embedding an advisor in the Pacific Community (SPC).
“The Government of FSM is grateful to CFAN for expanding their network in the Pacific, which currently enables FSM to access muchneeded skillsets through technical assistance support,” said Belinda Hadley, Team Leader, FSM National Designated Authority to the Green Climate Fund. “With CFAN’s support, FSM will be able to raise its climate ambitions, plan and prepare for climate investment opportunities, and mainstream climate
considerations into investment approaches. As a result of CFAN's expansion, the FSM NDA office, in partnership with SPC, will now be able to better manage and enhance climate finance and realize FSM's climate ambitions, especially through its upcoming national adaption planning process.”
Advisors will begin their training in November, immediately following their placement in-country. SPC, the region's largest scientific and technical organization delivering development solutions in the region, owned and governed by 27 country and territory members, is well-positioned to serve its members through the dedicated support of CFAN’s services.
“Our Pacific Island countries and territories have consistently raised the issue of capacity constraints in being able to access the complex climate finance landscape effectively. In response, our region has received decades of fly-in, fly-out models of advisory support whose efficacy has been limited, insufficient, and often unsustainable,” said Coral Pasisi, SPC's Director of Climate Change and Sustainability. “Together with our ongoing efforts of building shared capability in unlocking climate finance flows for our members, we are delighted to be able to work with CFAN and other partners to provide a growing complement of more sustainable and networked capacity in the Pacific, enabling island nations to continue to lead on climate action and ambition.”
Existing CFAN advisors will also be extended in their respective countries for an additional three years due to funding support by the Australian Government. GGGI, CFAN’s regional implementing partner for Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, will continue to host and support these advisors.
Mr. Prashant Chandra, Acting Head of Climate Change within the Prime Minister's Office in Fiji said, “CFAN’s work in Fiji has been effective in engaging with multiple stakeholders across the development landscape, from line ministries and private sector to indigenous landowners and regional organizations. So far, CFAN in Fiji has developed a project pipeline of over US $100 million in focused sectors like renewable energy, climate smart agriculture, water, eco-tourism, resilient housing, and coastal adaptation, some of which have already secured funding for implementation. For Phase 2, we are expecting CFAN to assist in increasing access to climate finance for Pacific Island countries for vulnerable and target areas and also ensuring long term sustainability of its program in the Pacific region.”
More information on the work being done by CFAN advisors in the Pacific can be found at https:// cfanadvisors.org/where-we-work/
Pacific countries on the frontline of climate change get support to unlock climate financing for the future of the region