FSM Delivers Statement to US on Compact Progress
Represented by SBOC Director Fabian Nimea and Ambassador to the US Yosiwo George, FSM highlights the "enduring bond" between the two countries
PALIKIR, Pohnpei (Office of SBOC/FSM Information Service): July 10, 2008 - On June 10, the FSM gave its views to the United States Congress on the progress of the implementation of the Amended Compact of Free Association between the two nations, continuing with the consistent Mori Administration themes of democracy building, unity of purpose, sustainable development and global integration.
The FSM statement to the US House of Representatives, Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs was delivered by Fabian Nimea, Director of the Office of Statistics, Budget & Economic Management, Overseas Development Assistance and Compact Management (SBOC), and Yosiwo George, FSM Ambassador to the US.
The remarks were well-received by US officials and representatives present.
George gave introductory remarks for the FSM, highlighting, amongst other issues, the continuing bond between the two nations as it relates to the free movement of its respective citizens to live and to work, and especially the continuing service within the US Armed Forces of FSM people.
Nimea started by reiterating the theme of unity, noting that the Compact has since its inception been a "unique expression of unity between peoples who share essential values and beliefs," and that the FSM has achieved great progress toward two of the three overarching goals of the Compact: the maintenance of peace and security along with the establishment of stable, democratic governments within the former Trust Territory of the Pacific region.
"In the decades of the 1980's and 90's," stated Nimea, "few places on Earth provided a better example of emerging, democratic self-government than the Freely Associated States." The Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshal Islands - the two island nations that lie adjacent to the west and to the east, respectively, of the FSM - are the two other island groups that are considered Freely Associated States with the US.
The FSM noted its reassurance of the continuing interest of its biggest and most consistent development partner toward the FSM's overall advancement over two-plus decades, and "the generations of dedicated US officials who have nurtured its progress."
A third goal for the FSM is the steady progression toward economic self-reliance. On this point, the FSM has increasingly sought to add some depth to the discussion in terms of what is realistic and even advisable within an integrated global community of nations. Although there has been a steady, perhaps relatively slow movement toward this end, stated Nimea, total economic self-sufficiency and independence should likely not be a goal that either the US or the FSM should aspire to.
Instead, the FSM has increasingly opted for a macroeconomic policy that works toward achieving a healthy balance between self-reliance and economic interdependence, both with the US mainland and internationally; what Nimea in his statements to the US Sub-committee referred to as, "a healthy degree of 'self-reliance' within the world community," and "becoming a more meaningful participant in the emerging age of Globalism."
It is a policy, advanced by President Mori and stated by Nimea, based upon the uniqueness of the FSM geographically, economically, culturally and politically amidst the changing global environment and economy of today.
In addressing the issue of the imbedded goal of eliminating Compact assistance from the US by 2023 through the advancement of private sector growth and the realized earnings from a national Trust Fund capitalized over a twenty-year period, Nimea stated that the reality after five years into the Amended Compact shows the need to reassess that assumption.
Nimea referenced a series of recently published reports by the US Government Accounting Office, the oversight arm of the US Congress, that the four distinct FSM State Governments (Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap) and the FSM National Government have paid close attention to as they make steady progress on better accountability and reporting on Compact assistance and implementation.
Nimea and George alluded to the "tremendous contribution" of key US federal offices, including the ongoing support of the Interior Department's Office of Insular Affairs, the Department of State and the Department of Health and Human Services. The OIA, stated Nimea, has been "scrupulously fair" in its ongoing dealings with the FSM in support of the collaborative environment that the two nations have been working as hard as ever to foster.
Nimea remarked on work from the FSM side that the nation has achieved through the development and implementation of a 20-year Strategic Development Plan, the development and implementation of an Infrastructure Plan and more recently, a broad reorganization within the national government aimed at achieving "greater focus" domestically and abroad, as well as the government restructuring of two of the FSM States - Kosrae and Chuuk - as a means to balance out the macroeconomic structure of the nation.
In their remarks, the FSM team also touched upon Tax Reform and the proposed Fiber Optic Project as examples of positive growth initiatives, while on the other hand, issuing clear testimony on the negative effects on sustainable development and self reliance from a combination of the annual decrement of Compact grants, inflation, a lagging investment climate and the unrelenting food and energy crisis' in the region.
Though there is no single answer to the myriad of challenges, Nimea noted, the FSM seeks to keep open the constructive dialogue on common interests and unity between the two countries, and to continue the push toward the ultimate development goals that will be continue to be advantageous for both nations.
For further information on this release, please contact:
FSM Office of the President Public Information: Press, Radio, Video P.O Box 34 Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941 Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092 Fax.: (691) 320-4356 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.fsmpio.fm/