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[FSM News] 2023 Planning Committee Holds Inaugural Meeting

Thursday, April 11, 2013

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sitting, L-R: Mr. Lipar George, Kosrae State Representative; T.H. Alik L. Alik, FSM Vice President; H.E. Manny Mori, FSM President; T.H. John Ehsa, Pohnpei State Governor; T.H. Johnson S. Elimo, Chuuk State Governor; T.H. Sebastian Anefal, Yap State Governor… Standing L-R: Senator Bob Skilling, Kosrae State Legislature; Mr. Michael Kulesza, First Secretary of the Australian Embassy; Mr. Miguel Ordonez, Deputy Chief of Mission at US Embassy; Ambassador Zhang Lianyun, China Embassy; Ambassador Eiichi Suzuki, Japan Embassy; Mr. Hans Van Rijin, Asian Development Bank Representative; Mr. Leo Falcam Jr., President’s Chief of Staff

Palikir, POHNPEI (FSM Office of SBOC) – The 2023 Planning Committee held its inaugural meeting on April 9, 2013 at the Cliff Rainbow Hotel Conference Room. The Committee, which was established by Executive Order No. 40 on March 6, 2012, is comprised of membership from the executive leadership of the FSM National and four State Governments. For this inaugural meeting, representatives from the five legislative branches of government across the nation were also invited, as well as the resident Diplomatic Corps.

During his keynote statement, President Manny Mori conveyed that the nature of the loose federation of the FSM also lends to significant challenges in the implementation of the nation’s development goals. President Mori went on to highlight that the convening of the committee provides a clear indication of the desire to address those and other challenges in light of the looming expiration of economic provisions of Title Two of the Amended Compact in 2023 as well as the expected shortfall of the Compact Trust Fund.

The three State Governors and one Governor-representative present were invited to give opening remarks, all of whom touched on their hope to find workable solutions to the challenges expressed by the President and the vision and need to move forward as a nation. Other sentiments expressed by the State Governors ranged from the recently concluded Long Term Fiscal Frameworks and burden-sharing, a re-visitation of the FSM’s budget distribution formula, increased revenue enhancement measures and the notion that revenues must be transferred to the States where services are closer to the people.

Ambassador Eiichi Suzuki also gave opening remarks as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, represented by Ambassador Zhang Lianyun of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Deputy Chief of Mission Miguel Ordonez of the US Embassy and First Secretary Michael Kulesza of the Australian Embassy. Ambassador Suzuki indicated that last November, during the FSM’s Development Partners’ Forum there was recognition of many issues to overcome. He noted that he followed discussions on the formation of the committee, looked forward to seeing its progress and was pleased to bear witness to the inaugural meeting and the potential of the committee. On behalf of the Diplomatic Corps, Ambassador Suzuki expressed his fervent wish that the committee successfully achieves its goals for the transition period and indicated continued support of the FSM’s ongoing development efforts.

The meeting continued the next day in the President’s Cabinet Room, where the members confirmed President Manny Mori and Governor Lyndon Jackson as co-chairmen. The committee also endorsed the Terms of Reference, which calls for the development of a Comprehensive Action Plan in addressing the fiscal and economic challenges leading up to and post-2023. Members were also provided an overview of the resources available to the committee, specifically an appropriation by the 17th FSM Congress in the amount of $150,000, which amounts to 60% of the initially proposed budget for the Committee’s work. As Secretariat to the Committee, the Office of SBOC was tasked to work with key development partners such as the Asian Development Bank to secure technical expertise to support the Committee’s work including that of a Macroeconomist, Sector Specialists and a Development Planner. The 2023 Planning Committee will present its findings and recommendations to the State & National Leadership Conference for consideration and adoption after 12-18 months. Once endorsed by the leadership, the Action Plan will be shared at the next FSM Development Partners’ Forum planned for late 2014.

A significant portion of the second day’s discussions revolved around the expected challenges in implementation of the Action Plan. Members acknowledged that implementation challenges will include the securing of necessary legislative action.

For a copy of the committee’s Terms of Reference, please visit the Office Statistics, Budget and Economic Management, Overseas Development Assistance & Compact Management (SBOC) website at www.sboc.fmor for further information, contact the SBOC Division of Compact Management at (691) 320-2823 or emailssalle@sboc.fm.

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