World Tuna Day: "Our Tuna, Our Legacy"

Statement
By
H. E. Wesley W. Simina
President
Federated States of Micronesia

World Tuna Day
May 2, 2024

 

          My fellow citizens, on behalf of Vice President Palik, and I extend to you all warm greetings of Kaselehlie, Ran Anim, Lenwo and Mogethin. Kamorale and Happy National Tuna Day!

          May 2nd marks the 8th year since the United Nations General Assembly adopted UNGA Resolution A/RES/71/124 on December 7, 2016, proclaiming May 2 every year as World Tuna Day. The FSM joins our United Nations family by celebrating May 2 as National Tuna Day throughout the Federated States of Micronesia.

          This year’s theme, ”Our Tuna, Our Legacy,” underscores our shared responsibility in celebrating National Tuna Day. I encourage all citizens of our respective States to join us in commemorating May 2 by organizing various activities that highlight the importance of tuna in our lives as a young island nation. Your active participation is crucial in making this celebration a success.

          Tuna is a major source of protein for our people and a source of livelihood for our local fishermen and national economy. On average, we generate $65 million a year from the sale of licenses to foreign and domestic fleets. Today, we can see the impact of our Onshore investments, employment, and other spin-off benefits visible in our states particularly in Pohnpei and Kosrae. The adoption of the first FSM National Oceanic Fisheries Investment Policy, which all five governments of this federation have endorsed, now provides clear guidance to us all on how we move forward together to increase our benefits through collective action and cooperation to improve the investment climate in fisheries. I would like to thank the four Governors of Pohnpei, Yap, Chuuk, and Kosrae fortheir confidence in this policy. Your national government is ready to work hand-in-hand to achieve new levels and greater benefits from our tuna resources.

          My fellow citizens, our tuna serves as a crucial source of nutrition for our nation and the global community, sustaining our livelihoods and ensuring food security. Let us recognize the importance of this resource and work together to safeguard its continued availability for generations to come. To this end, conservation and management guided by a sustainable development policy of our tuna ensures they remain healthy and resilient to fishing pressure and development. Of course, we face many challenges to achieve our long-term goals, such as the most threatening matter we all face today: Climate Change. Climate change is not only an existential threat to our people and islands, but also to the migration and distribution of tunas. While there is clear evidence that climate change will change the distribution of tuna fishing biomass over time, we are engaged at national, regional, and international fora to protect our rights and the rights of securing our EEZ and the benefits we enjoy through various actions, including the permanency of our maritime boundaries. This, I believe, will ensure that the fishing opportunities in the coastal and tuna fishery today remain with the FSM over time as the impact of climate change takes hold as the result of human-induced changes.

          This also highlights the need for a better understanding of our tuna. I call on all our fishermen catching tuna in the FSM to be on the lookout for tags on the tuna. Bring the tagged tuna to your fisheries offices! Although for a small fee, your tuna will go a long way as your contribution to improving our understanding of our tuna resources to ensure we are able to pass on a healthy resource to the next generation.

          My fellow citizens, today, the FSM, in partnership with the Waitt Foundation through Blue Prosperity Micronesia, is working on setting aside conservation areas through Marine Spatial Planning programs, which aim to protect vulnerable marine areas and ecosystems. It is our belief that marine spatial planning will undoubtedly assure that our finite fisheries resources can be developed sustainably and protect the ecosystems in which they thrive.

          As we celebrate this year’s National Tuna Day, I encourage all citizens to actively engage in all National Tuna Day activities organized by your respective States and contribute to ensuring greater understanding and appreciation of the legacy we must chart for ourselves and for the future generations of the FSM.

 

PRESIDENTIAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION NO. 2024-001

The President
Palikir, Pohnpei
Federated States of Micronesia
 

PRESIDENTIAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION NO. 2024-001

        WHEREAS, El Nino was predicted to impact the Federated States of Micronesia this year;
 
        WHEREAS, the nation has been experiencing extremely and unusually low levels of precipitation and it is anticipated that this condition will continue to intensify in the coming months;
 
        WHEREAS, the impacts of lack of rain are causing rain catchment and rivers systems across the nation to run dry; and for the inhabitants especially in the Outer Islands who are dependent on these systems, the threat of sustained decline in water supply is causing tremendous impact upon sanitation and public health;
 
        WHEREAS, the forecast of rainfall across FSM is already showing that the rainfall levels will continue to decrease, hence, the government must act swiftly and immediately in order to prevent any further devastation upon people, livestock, crops, and properties; and
 
        WHEREAS, the State of Yap, State of Pohnpei and State of Chuuk have declared an emergency according to their respective state laws on the basis of the adverse effects and impacts described above.
 
        NOW THEREFORE, I, Wesley W. Simina, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, by the authority vested in me pursuant to the Constitution and the Laws of the Federated States of Micronesia, including in particular Article X Section 9 of the FSM Constitution and 41 F.S.M.C. 705, et seq., hereby declare, direct and decree as follows:
 
        1. The Government hereby declares a national emergency; as such, the resources of the National Government are committed to supplement the available resources using foreign assistance, and such domestic resources as are needed, subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
 
        2. The National Emergency Task Force (the "Task Force") is immediately constituted to take immediate steps and to act as required pursuant to the emergency and shall systematically develop a plan to alleviate or mitigate the adverse effects of the emergency, determine the most effective manner in addressing the emergency situation given the limited available resources of the National Government, and take such immediate steps to support relief efforts and citizens severely impacted by the emergency.
 
        3. The Task Force shall be headed by the Secretary of the Department of Environment, Climate Change, and Emergency Management (DECEM), and assisted by all the Cabinet Members in the Executive Branch. The Task Force is mandated to implement such immediate measures as are necessary to contain the damage caused by the persistent drought and closely monitor the vulnerable population especially in the outer islands.
 
        4. The Disaster Relief Fund under Sub-Chapter II Chapter 6 Title 55 of the FSM Code, the Disaster Assistance Emergency Fund in accordance with the Amended Compact, and other emergency- related funds available are activated to be used to assist, support, and supplement the National and State relief efforts.
 
        5. The competitive bidding required in the Financial Management Act and Regulation, to the extent otherwise applicable to any government procurement, and the import tax for purchases and donations in connection with procurements relating to the declared emergency, are hereby waived as long as the emergency declaration persists.
 
        6. The Task Force is mandated to coordinate with State authorities in implementing any emergency response and keep the President timely informed of any progress or development relating thereto.
 
        7. In accordance with the emergency declaration, $1, 288, 824 is hereby decreed into the Disaster Relief Fund. The decreed amount shall be sourced from the existing appropriation of the same amount under Section 9 (1 l)(g) of Public Law No. 23-46. Additional funds may be decreed at a later time. Decreed funds may be allocated to individual states according to their respective needs as approved by the President. Allotment shall be issued according to the approved allocation.
 
        8. Procurement of any goods used in foreign aid project relating to the emergency shall be exempt from import tax pursuant to 54 F.S.M.C. §222. State authorities and agencies are urged to waive any port charges, including wharfage, freight and other fees and charges in connection with the transport of relief equipment, supplies and materials needed by or relating to the emergency.

Update on Progress of the Compact of Free Association Act of 2023

March 4, 2024

Public Statement:
Update on Progress of the Compact of Free Association Act of 2023

The Office of the President is pleased to inform the public that significant progress has been made regarding the COFA Amendments Act, which has been included in the six-bill FY24 appropriations package recently released by the House of Representatives.

As Congress prepares to vote on this package to avert a potential partial government shutdown on Friday, March 8, we are informed that Speaker Johnson intends to present the appropriations bills collectively, as a single legislative package also known as a “minibus”, streamlining the legislative process for swifter passage, contingent upon sufficient support from both chambers.

The COFA Amendments Act, remains identical as the version previously approved by the House and Senate committees of jurisdiction in November 2023, with minor adjustments related to Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. The new language in the VA provisions mainly stipulates the necessity of government-to-government agreements between the United States and each of the three Freely Associated States (FAS) countries to facilitate expanded veterans care and services. More information on this will be shared in due course.

The bill ultimately retains all core elements, including mandatory funding, education provisions, and the inclusion of CIFA (Compact Impact Fairness Act) without alterations.

In terms of next steps, should the package pass in the House this week, it would then proceed to the Senate for final approval, before it would go to President Biden to be signed into law.

This turning point is the result of months of collective efforts of many people and the engagement and collaboration between our governments, demonstrating our shared commitment to advancing our mutual interests and the strong and enduring partnership between the FSM and the United States.

The FSM government is optimistic about the forward movement of the legislation. President Simina stated, "This development reinforces our confidence in the strength of our partnership with the United States. We are committed to working together to ensure the successful implementation of the Compact, which is vital for the well-being of our citizens and the stability of our region."

 

PROCLAMATION FOR MARCH 08, 2024 AS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

The President
Palikir, Pohnpei
Federated States of Micronesia
 

PROCLAMATION FOR MARCH 08, 2024
AS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY


WHEREAS, March 8 has been declared International Women's Day; and,

WHEREAS, women make up almost half of the FSM population (49%); and have a vital role in the social, economic, cultural, and political development of our nation; and,

WHEREAS, women, as members of society, have equal value and dignity and should therefore have equal opportunities, freedom and choice; and,

WHEREAS, the FSM ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)in 2004 and pledged to continue working towards the eradication of all forms of discrimination against women and promote gender equality; and

WHEREAS, the legal rights of women are protected under the FSM National Constitution and the constitutions of the four states, and the FSM Government has entrenched its commitment for action to accelerate gender equality through the National Gender Equality Policy and the National Eliminating Violence Against Women Policy; and,

WHEREAS, acknowledging the 2024 UN theme of International Women's Day, being '"‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress’" the FSM will continue to work towards greater representation of women in all levels of decision-making and governmental leadership; and,

WHEREAS, post COVID-19 has and will continue to have a disproportionate impact on women as women and their families face increased economic insecurity and increased risk of violence; we. therefore, recognise the importance of gender-inclusive crisis response and women's leadership; and.

WHEREAS, our nation's faith and culture are important strengths in our advancement toward gender equality and ending violence against women and girls; and,

WHEREAS, women in the FSM have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner at least once in their lifetime; and.

WHEREAS, towards advancing women's full participation in the workplace, the FSM National Government has increased maternity leave provisions for all national government employees from 6 weeks to 8 weeks paid leave; and,

WHEREAS, to celebrate and recognize the contribution of women to the social, economic, cultural, and political fabric of our nation, the FSM National Government hereby grants paid administrative leave to all women employed by the national government on 08 March 2024; and.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Wesley W. Simina, President of the Federated States of Micronesia by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the Federated States of Micronesia do hereby proclaim March 8, 2024, as 'International Women’s Day' of this Nation and urge all citizens and residents, governments, private agencies, and organizations in this Nation to commemorate this day in ways that promote gender equality and acknowledge a women's right to safety, dignity and respect.

 

Presentation of Credentials Ceremony of His Excellency Ambassador Brian Jones of the United Kingdom to the Federated States of Micronesia

PALIKIR, Pohnpei, FSM - February 2, 2024,  marked a milestone in the diplomatic relations between the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the United Kingdom as His Excellency Ambassador Brian Jones presented his credentials to His Excellency President Wesley W. Simina. Ambassador Jones succeeds H.E. Ambassador George Edgar as the representative of the United Kingdom accredited to the FSM, based in Suva, Fiji.

The ceremony, held at the President’s Office in Palikir, was attended by esteemed guests including T.H. Vice President Aren B. Palik, the Dean and members of the diplomatic corps, national and state officials, and friends.

In his remarks, President Wesley W. Simina warmly welcomed Ambassador Jones and expressed gratitude for his visit to FSM to undertake this important engagement in bilateral relations. President Simina highlighted the significance of the occasion, emphasizing the mutual interests shared by both nations, particularly in areas such as human rights, democratic principles, and climate change.

President Simina underscored the urgent need to address climate change as a security threat to FSM, especially in light of the recent drought conditions and their devastating impacts on the islands. He emphasized the importance of international cooperation, including support and assistance from partners like the United Kingdom, in tackling this existential threat.

The President also acknowledged the historical ties between FSM and the United Kingdom, spanning over three decades, and expressed optimism about further strengthening engagement and cooperation during Ambassador Jones's tenure. He highlighted the ongoing efforts to establish a mission in Geneva, underscoring the commitment to advancing FSM's interests on the international stage.

In closing, President Simina extended a warm welcome to Ambassador Jones and his accompanying delegation, encouraging them to explore the beauty of Pohnpei and the surrounding islands during their stay in FSM.

Ambassador Jones expressed his gratitude for the warm reception and reaffirmed his commitment to enhancing the bilateral relationship between the United Kingdom and FSM. He expressed keen interest in collaborating with FSM on shared priorities, including climate change mitigation and human rights promotion.

The ceremony concluded with an exchange of pleasantries and gifts, symbolizing the beginning of a new chapter in the diplomatic relations between FSM and the United Kingdom.

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