HONOLULU, Hawaii —The Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) recently met in Honolulu, Hawaii on September 4th, 2019 and adopted Resolution 2019-1, which approved an allocation of $56,689,446 for the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) in Compact Sector grants for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. JEMCO further authorized use of Public Infrastructure Sector assistance for a number of infrastructure projects for FY2020, including: ADB Water Project Matching, Kosrae Project Management Office (PMO) Rehabilitation, Yap Catholic High School Science and Library Supplements, Designs for the Lelu Causeway Emergency Repairs, and the College of Micronesia-FSM’s campus in Chuuk State.
The meeting provided FSM the opportunity to present to JEMCO updates on the sectors of education, health and infrastructure, highlighting the sector accomplishments for FY2019, noting the challenges encountered and outlining plans going forward. In his remarks, JEMCO Chairman Mr. Nikolao Pula acknowledged that “we have come a long way,” addressing the magnitude of issues tackled in the era of the Compact of Free Association (COFA), as Amended, and appreciating the progress realized today. Among these are the establishment of sector management information systems for education and health, some of which are the first to be implemented anywhere in the Pacific, and which are key in informing sound policy decisions.
JEMCO expressed its appreciation for the progress in the infrastructure sector, noting that professional project management capacity is established in the FSM States and National Government, a positive step toward advancing on the backlog of Compact infrastructure grants. The FSM is expected to make headway in its infrastructure grants with $58 million in projects to start construction between January, 2020 to June, 2020.
JEMCO is the oversight committee created by the amended COFA between the FSM and the United States. JEMCO is a five-member committee, two from the FSM and three from the United States. JEMCO is chaired by Mr. Nikolao Pula of the US Department of Interior, with Mr. Lorin S. Robert, formerly Secretary of FSM Department of Foreign Affairs and presently Special Consultant to the President on Foreign Affairs, serving as Vice Chairman. Members on JEMCO include Mr. Leo Falcam Jr., the Chief of Staff to the President of the FSM and Chief Negotiator for the Joint Committee on Compact Review & Planning (JCRP), Mr. William Gallo from the US Department of Health and Human Services, and Ms. Suzanne Lawrence from the US Department of the State, the newest addition to JEMCO.
The meeting included several high-level government officials in attendance from both the US and the FSM, including Ambassador Akilino Susaia of the FSM Embassy in Washington DC, Assistant Secretary Douglas Domenech of the U.S. Department of Interior, Ambassador Robert Riley of the U.S. Embassy in the FSM, Governor Marcelo K. Peterson of Pohnpei State, Lt. Governor Arthy G. Nena of Kosrae State, Speaker Austen T. Lambert of Pohnpei State Legislature, Floor Leader Jerry Fagolmal of Yap State Legislature, and Senator Bob Skilling of Kosrae State Legislature.