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Tuesday, March 27, 2018
US, FSM, Marshall Islands Hold Mid-Year Meetings on Compact Funding
By News Release @ 12:33 AM :: 2531 Views :: National News

United States and Federated States of Micronesia Confer At Mid-Year Meetings on Compact Financial Assistance and Trust Fund

News Release from US DoI, March 30, 2018

WASHINGTON – U.S. and Federated States of Micronesia officials met in San Francisco this week for their mid-year meetings to discuss financial assistance provided for the benefit of the people of the Federated States of Micronesia on behalf of the people and government of the United States. The bilateral Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) and the Compact Trust Fund Committee for the People of the Federated States of Micronesia are both chaired by U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs Director Nikolao Pula.

The JEMCO met to discuss policy issues and progress in the health, education, and infrastructure sectors as funded by the Compact, while the Trust Fund Committee met to review trust fund investments and discuss policy options to inform transition from direct grants to trust fund distributions after 2023.

The Compact Trust Fund was established under U.S. Public Law 108-188 to contribute to the economic advancement and long-term budgetary self-reliance of the people of the Federated States of Micronesia when annual grant assistance under the Compact expires after fiscal year 2023.

Pohnpei State Government officials present at the meeting provided information regarding record rainfall in Pohnpei on March 16 and 17 that led to several landslides and damaged roads around the island, taking the life of one young woman. The JEMCO encouraged FSM officials to explore accessing the use of funding that is immediately available to the FSM through its Disaster Assistance Emergency Fund. This Fund is co-financed by annual deposits of Compact of Free Association and FSM Government funding.

“With respect to infrastructure, we are pleased to see professional project management at the national level and encourage that trend to continue for the states as well,” said JEMCO Chair and OIA Director Nik Pula. “Continued delays in effectively utilizing infrastructure assistance made available through the Compact of Free Association are missed opportunities for development in the Federated States of Micronesia,” continued Pula.

The JEMCO members discussed efforts at the state and national Departments of Education to strengthen their school accreditation processes and policies. The committee also received updates on the status of a nearly completed Education Management Information System (EMIS), a collaborative project funded by U.S. Department of Education supplemental education grants and supported by technical assistance through the Asian Development Bank.  “We strive ultimately for improved data management and analysis of education indicators to result in improved educational outcomes for children in the Federated States of Micronesia,” said Chairman Pula.     

Leadership from the national and Yap State Departments of Health shared information on progress in bringing electronic health record keeping to hospitals and clinics across the Federated States of Micronesia. Development of this program is 80 per cent completed in the State of Pohnpei which also serves as a pilot for a telehealth program. It is hoped that successful efforts in electronic record keeping and telemedicine can be replicated in the States of Chuuk, Kosrae, and Yap.

As required under the Compact of Free Association, U.S. Public Law 108-188, the JEMCO serves to ensure effective oversight of U.S. assistance to the Federated States of Micronesia and is comprised of the following members: Chairman Nikolao Pula (U.S. – Director, Office of Insular Affairs, Department of the Interior), Vice Chairman Lorin Robert (FSM – Secretary of Foreign Affairs), Leo Falcam, Jr. (FSM– Chief of Staff, Office of the President), Nicholas Dean (U.S. – Director, Office of Australia, New Zealand & Pacific Island Affairs, Bureau of East Asian & Pacific Affairs, State Department), and Subroto Banerji (U.S. – Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Region 9, Department of Health and Human Services).

“With respect to the Trust Funds, we all seem to concur that longevity of the Trust Fund is in the best interest of our two nations and that ensuring the stability and predictability of distributions in 2023 makes the most sense for U.S. assistance intended for the benefit of the people of the Federated States of Micronesia,” said Chairman Pula. “These are technical and administrative issues that the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia need to mutually agree upon as we approach 2023 and plan a smooth transition of U.S. assistance from direct grants to trust fund distributions.”

The Department of the Interior is responsible for coordinating federal policy with respect to the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and administering and overseeing U.S. federal assistance provided to the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau under the Compacts of Free Association.  The Office of Insular Affairs’ mission is to restore trust and fulfill insular responsibilities by executing activities which bolster healthcare capacity, strengthen island economies, and fulfill U.S. Compact obligations.  The Assistant Secretary discharges these responsibilities on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior.

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U.S. and Marshall Islands Hold Mid-Year Meetings on Compact Funding and Trust Fund

$4.8 Million Allocated for Marshall Islands in FY 2018 and Prior Year Funds

News Release from U.S. Department of the Interior Office of the Assistant Secretary - Insular and International Affairs

SAN FRANCISCO (March 26, 2018) – U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary - Insular and International Affairs - Doug Domenech was in San Francisco last week where he participated in meetings between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

The bilateral Joint Economic Management and Financial Accountability Committee (JEMFAC) met to discuss policy issues, Compact budgets for fiscal year 2019, and amendments to FY 2018 funding, while the Compact Trust Fund Committee for the People of the Republic of the Marshall Islands met to review trust fund investments and discuss policy options to inform transition to trust fund distributions post-2023. Chaired by Office of Insular Affairs Director Nik Pula, both Committees cover financial assistance provided for the benefit of the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands on behalf of the U.S. Government. The Compact Trust Fund for the People of the Republic of the Marshall Islands was established under U.S. Public Law 108-188, to contribute to the economic advancement and long-term budgetary self-reliance of the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands when annual grant assistance under the Compact expires after fiscal year 2023.

“The Republic of the Marshall Islands has demonstrated marked success in utilizing Compact infrastructure funding to improve the hospitals on Majuro and Ebeye and schools throughout the Marshall Islands. By prioritizing improvement of public financial management, their government has helped ensure the long-term fiscal transparency and accountability of U.S. and other donor assistance,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “There is still room for improvement in the areas of health and education where the Compact provides significant support. I would like to see both U.S. and RMI officials continue to work collaboratively to make a positive difference for the people of the Marshall Islands.”

The JEMFAC passed several resolutions as follows:

Resolution 2018-MT-1 adopted the use of technical code requirements issued by the International Code Council for infrastructure projects funded by the Compact, and also provided $15,000 for technical capacity building for training and certification in building inspections.

Resolution 2018-MT-2 allocated $3.9 million for design and engineering of Phase 2 of the Majuro Hospital Redevelopment Project, funding of the RMI Ministry of Public Works Project Management Unit,, and will fund the provision of professional technical expertise to assist the RMI in managing the Majuro Hospital Redevelopment Project

Resolution 2018-MT-3 reallocated $740,000 in prior year unspent funding to assist the RMI Ministry of Health implement the Tuberculosis and Leprosy-Free Project in Majuro.

Resolution 2018-MT-4 allocated $193,000 of the Ebeye Special Needs assistance to purchase water carriers for the Ebeye Island community within Kwajalein Atoll.

The JEMFAC members will be deliberating further on a proposal regarding a housing program for Mid Corridor populations in Kwajalein Atoll to help address crowded housing conditions on Ebeye Island.

As required under the Compact of Free Association, U.S. Public Law 108-188, the JEMFAC serves to ensure effective oversight of United States assistance to the Marshall Islands and is comprised of the following members:  Chairman Nikolao Pula (U.S.–Director, Office of Insular Affairs, Department of the Interior), Vice Chairman John Silk (RMI – Minister of Foreign Affairs), Brenson Wase (RMI – Minister of Finance), Nicholas Dean (U.S. –Director, Office of Australia, New Zealand & Pacific Island Affairs, Bureau of East Asian & Pacific Affairs, State Department), and William Gallo (U.S. – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services).  

“With respect to the Trust Fund, I recognize there are both technical and administrative issues that the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands need to address before we approach 2023 and the transition to trust fund distributions,” continued Assistant Secretary Domenech. “I commit to helping raise these issues at the highest levels of the Trump Administration, and to working closely with the Marshall Islands as we strive for mutual agreement. The Marshall Islands continues to be one of our strongest friends and I want to ensure that the United States supports decisions and management for the future of our relationship in a sustainable way.”

The Department of the Interior is responsible for coordinating federal policy with respect to the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and administering and overseeing U.S. federal assistance provided to the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau under the Compacts of Free Association.  The Office of Insular Affairs’ mission is to restore trust and fulfill insular responsibilities by executing activities which bolster healthcare capacity, strengthen island economies, and fulfill U.S. Compact obligations. The Assistant Secretary discharges these responsibilities on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior.

 

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