Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM hosts JEMCO second annual review meeting in Pohnpei

Palikir, POHNPEI (JEMCO/FSM Information Service): August 16, 2005 - The Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) convened in Pohnpei at the College of Micronesia in Palikir, August 15 - 16, for its annual review of the consolidated national budget.

The Committee or JEMCO is the implementing arm of the amended Compact, as such is mandated to ensure that the National Budget complies with the United States funding stipulations.

A joint statement issued by JEMCO provides an overview of the two-day proceedings:

The Federated States of Micronesia hosted the successful second meeting of the Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) at the Palikir campus of the College of Micronesia August 15-16. The JEMCO was established by the Governments of the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States to provide oversight for funds provided to the FSM under the Compact of Free Association. The United States currently provides over $120 million annually in assistance to the FSM, including over $70 million in Compact funds to support schools and health care, develop infrastructure, promote private sector business development, protect the environment, and build capacity in the public sector.

In their opening remarks, both Epel Ilon, Director of the FSM's newly created Compact Management Office, and David Cohen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs emphasized the important role that JEMCO plays in assuring that Compact funds are used to bring real improvements to the lives of the Micronesian people.

This year's meeting provided an opportunity for free and open discussion on a wide variety of issues related to Compact Management. Actions taken at the meeting include:

  • The approval of $12.3 million in supplemental Education Grants to support key areas such as early childhood education, teacher training and curriculum development.

  • A new initiative to set aside $2.5 million for purchasing textbooks and other instructional materials in FY 2006-2008, with the goal of providing every student in the FSM with textbooks in language arts, math and social studies within the next three years.

Joint working groups made up of staff from the US Department of the Interior, the FSM Department of Health, Education and Social Affairs, and the Chuuk Departments of Health and Education provided the updates on Chuuk's schools and dispensaries which

JEMCO had requested at their March meeting. The reports identified problems and outlined the steps that are being taken to correct them.

There was a productive discussion on the need to improve management and oversight capacity in both the United States and the FSM. There was agreement that the FSM would provide a schedule for submitting Single Audit Reports for 2003, 2004 and 2005 by October 1, 2005. JEMCO agreed on the importance of making adequate funds available to improve financial management and measure improvements that Compact funds are making in health, education and economic development.

The JEMCO agreed to meet again before the end of the September to review the FSM Governments plans for over $70 million in sector grants for FY 2006.

In addition to Office of Compact Management Director Epel Ilon, the FSM is represented on the JEMCO by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Sebastian Anefal. In addition to Deputy

Assistant Secretary Cohen, who is Chair of the JEMCO, the United States is represented by Bill Steiger, Special Assistant for International Affairs to the Secreatry of Health and Human Services, and by Howard Krawitz, Director of the State Department's Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Desk.

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