Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FEMM addresses economic disparities in region

MAJURO, RMI (FSM Information Service): July 17, 2003 - The Economic Ministers of the Forum Islands Countries converged in the Republic of the Marshall Islands from June 9-12 2003, for the Seventh Annual Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM).

The Ministers' discussions centered on the Pacific region's progress toward economic reforms and sustainable development. With an underlying theme of "Addressing Economic Disparities," this years meeting focused on two strategic concerns of the region.

Topping the FEMM agenda was the issue of Economic and Social Development and Environment. The Ministers reviewed the regional economic reform agendas and their impact on individual state's framework of sustainable development.

The second top issue was the Millennium Development Goals (MGD), which the region has committed to achieving by the year 2015. The FEMM deliberations were towards the integration of these goals in national policy planning process.

The Economic Policy Advisor for the Forum Secretariat, Emma Ferguson, said the idea of goals - their associated targets and progress indicators, allow countries to get a better understanding of their own developments, stage of developments and areas that need further focus.

A keynote paper provided the theme for the whole of the meeting addressing economic disparities, looking at inequities that can be created through economic reform programs and how those can be addressed and resolved in the policy process.

Among the numerous issues tabled at the FEMM was the Country Stocktake, a progress report on the areas that each Forum member country had identified as needing further action in the implementation of FEMM Action Plans. Guided by the Forum's Principles of Accountability, the Stocktake identified impediments and constraints faced by the countries and thus aided in the improvement of future economic reform process and the policies to implement the process.

The FEMM wrapped up June 12, with an Action Plan to guide the Forum countries economic agendas' before the next Economic Ministers meeting.

The concept behind the economic ministers meeting was framed by the Pacific Islands Forum leaders to examine on a broader scale, the regions economic reform issues and their impact on each government's objectives.

In 1997, the first Forum Economic Ministers Meeting was held with a broad objective of supporting the Forum member's pursuit of sustainable development through the development of appropriate frameworks and providing mutual support. The Ministers agreed that, "private sector development is central to ensuring sustained economic growth and that government should provide a policy environment to encourage this."

This has set the tone for issues of subsequent FEMMs, which has over the years covered a broader range of issues and often referred to as the engine of the Forum.

The Forum countries at the Majuro FEMM include: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The FSM delegation was headed by Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs, Sebastian Anefal with Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Kandhi Elieisar and FSM Economist, Evelyn Adolph.


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