Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

United Nations Joint Presence launches office in FSM

Palikir, POHNPEI, (FSM Information Service): December 1, 2008 - A UN Joint Mission consisting of representatives from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) came to Pohnpei to formally open their new office in Kolonia and held a ceremony and press conference at the AMCRES building on Monday, December 1, 2008.

The agencies were represented by Mr. Najib Assifi, Director Pacific Sub-Regional Office and UNFPA Representative, Dr. Isiye Ndombi from UNICEF, and Mr. Toily Kurbanov from UNDP, who each gave remarks celebrating this historical event for the Federated States of Micronesia. The opening of this office is in response to the request by our National Government for a stronger in-country UN presence.

Instead of opening up three separate UN offices, this Joint Presence will deliver as one through the Joint Presence Initiative, which is the first time ever that these agencies will represent each other. This allows for one In-Country Development Manager, Mr. Okean Ohemes, to be the gateway to these three UN agencies. The Joint Presence will operate in seven countries based on program size, country size and their development status. The seven countries are: Vanuatu, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Nauru, and Tuvalu. Our office in FSM will be hosted by UNFPA, who will also represent the other agencies.

The ceremony was opened with a prayer from Rev. Bender Enicar, followed by welcoming remarks by The Honorable Governor of Pohnpei State, Mr. John Esha, who was proud for Pohnpei State to be host to the office of the UN Joint Presence. Mr. Najib Assifi gave the first set of remarks and focused on what the Joint Presence will do to contribute towards the country's development plans and strategies. He said, "First and foremost, will be our drive to achieve development results and support the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in line with national plans and priorities." He ensured that the impact of these efforts will be "clearly visible in this Federation."

Mr. Assifi was followed by Dr. Ndombi from UNICEF who also focused on the obtainment of the MDGs. He claimed that "the launch of the Joint Presence here today is a milestone in UN reform in the Pacific. It is a practical approach to accomplishing things better, born out of the idealism of what the United Nations represents in the world." He said, "We are very excited about this event because of the promise it holds and is now being realized. The promise to be able to increase and leverage resources and support for the achievement of results for and with children, young people and women, those most vulnerable, most in need of support."

The third set of remarks was given by Mr. Toily Kurbanov from UNDP, who explained more about what the Joint Presence will do in FSM. He said, "Our primary task is to connect countries with the UN's global knowledge and policy advice capabilities", and "the presence will give us (the UN agencies) and the country (FSM) an added advantage of being on the ground, being in constant dialogue with our counterparts, understanding each other better and, therefore, being able to provide much better advice." Kurbanov stated that their goal with the "Joint" part of the presence is to complement each other, so that instead of providing separate advice they can offer more integrated, more effective solutions to complex challenges of the day.

Finally, FSM Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Lorin S. Robert gave the keynote statement on behalf of the National Government and said that "we (the FSM National Government) attach great importance to this morning's ceremony as a significant first step in our on-going efforts to make our UN membership more meaningful and mutually beneficial." He also said that "this is an initiative that we welcome very much for bringing the UN programs and activities much closer to the people of this nation." And finally, "Each UN agency will play a significant role in complementing the efforts of this nation, and I want to thank them on behalf of the people of this grateful nation, for their contributions in the past, their commitments now, and their continued support in the days yet to come."

The Joint Presence Office in Kolonia is located on the second floor of the AMCRES building and Okean Ohemes, Country Development Manager, can be contacted by email at , by phone at (691) 320-4192, or mail at P.O. Box 2466 Kolonia, Pohnpei 96941.

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