Congress Extends Emergency Declaration, Confirms Justice Chang and more

PALIKIR, POHNPEI. April 15, 2024 Congress adjourned Sine-Die its Second Special Session on April 11, 2024, and adopted the following resolutions which began with extension of the Emergency Declaration on the prolonged drought, along with resolutions on nominations and grants, among others.

To address the ongoing drought within the Federated States of Micronesia, the Twenty Third Congress adopted Congressional Resolution (CR) 23-138, and extended the Emergency Declaration from March 11, 2024 to May 30, 2024 and noted only for the states of Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap since Kosrae State has not declared a state of emergency.

Through CR 23-156, the Congress requested the United States of America to end its comprehensive economic embargo on the Republic of Cuba. The embargo was instituted in 1962 and lifting it would have positive impact on the economic and basic living of the country. The FSM established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba on September 9, 2015.

The Congress ratified the BBNJ Agreement, also known as the Treaty of the High Seas under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea to protect the ocean and promote equity and fairness.  According to CR 23-111, the BBNJ is an agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction.

Various grants were also adopted during the Second Special Session and they included:

·      CR 23-105, a grant of $254,115 from the Global Environment Facility through the United Nations Environment Programme to fund early actions to implement the Post-2020 Global Diversity Framework within the Nation;

·      CR 23-126, a grant of $114,678 from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration, to provide support for the FSM Maternal and Child Health Services Program for the budget period between October 1, 2023 to September 30, 2025;

·      CR 23-134, a grant of $170,750 from the United States Department of Interior, Office of Insular Affairs to fund the FSM Single Audit for FY 2023 as required under the 2023 Amended Compact;

·      CR 23-137, a grant of $5,155,255 from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide support for the Global Environment Facility Securing Climate-Resilient Sustainable Land Management and Progress Towards Land Degradation Neutrality Project in the FSM;

·      CR 23-141, a grant of $159,467 from the United States HRSA, Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, to support and fund community mental health services within the FSM;

·      CR 23-146, a grant of $1,500,000 from the World Health Organization (WHO) to fund the Nation’s health priority areas for the period of 2024 to 2025;

·      CR 23-148, a supplemental funding grant of $833,891 from the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) through the Small Islands Food and Water Project (SIFWaP) to provide financial support to strengthen the improvement of sustainable and healthy food, water security, and overall diet in the FSM;

·      CR 23-149, a grant of $545,891 from the United States Department of Interior, National Park Service to fund and support the FSM National and State Historic Preservation Offices; and

·      CR 23-150 a grant of $350,000 from the UNDP for the Multi-Country Western Pacific Integrated HIV/TB Programme under the Global Fund Grant Agreement to fund the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis within the FSM.

Along with the grants, the Congress approved several of the President’s nominations for the various heads of departments, offices, agencies and certain boards of the National Government through the adoption of the following Resolutions: 

·      CR 23-98, confirmed Chang B. William to serve as Associate Justice of the Federated States of Micronesia Supreme Court, Mr. William’s educational background and proven experiences within both the judicial and legal systems of Kosrae State had garnered Congress’ approval and trust for this crucial post;

·      CR 23-131, confirmed Akillino H. Susaia as the FSM’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland. Susaia has a long and distinguished career as FSM Cabinet Member for two Presidents and an Ambassador for another two. His last post was in Washington, D.C. as the FSM Ambassador to the United States of America;

·      CR 23-106, confirmed Chandra Ledgesog to serve as the Deputy Chief of Mission of the FSM Mission in Suva, Fiji.   Prior to her nomination, Ledgesog was with the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management (DECCEM) as an Advisor and a Project Manager;

·      CR 23-96, confirmed Hainrick S. Panuelo to serve as the Director for FSM’s Office of Veteran Affairs. Panuelo had served 20 plus years in the United States Army during which he held several positions including Chief Paralegal and Instructor Paralegal;

·      CR 23-129, confirmed Kapilly Capelle of Pohnpei State and CR 23-145, confirmed Wilson Waguk of Kosrae State to each represent their states on the Board of Directors for the National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA);

·      CR 23-132, confirmed Kandhi A. Elieisar as the National Government’s representative on the FSM Telecommunications Corporation Board of Directors;

·      Through CR 23-142, the Congress confirmed Rensley Sigrah to be a member of the Board of Trustees of the Compact Trust Fund of the FSM; and

·      Through CR 23-157, the Congress Anna H. Mendiola was confirmed to serve as the National Government’s representative on the Joint Trust Fund Committee.

Along with the confirmed resolutions, the final resolutions adopted during the Second Special Session of the 23rd Congress authorized the resubmission of the following nominations:

·      CR 23-109, to resubmit the nomination of Gardenia Aisek for the position of Secretary of the Department of Education;

·      CR 23-139, to resubmit the nomination of Roger S. Mori to serve as a board member on the Compact Trust Fund of the FSM; and finally

·      CR 23-155, for the resubmission of Anna H. Mendiola’s nomination to be a Trustee of the FSM Compact Trust Fund.

All adopted Congressional Resolutions have been transmitted to then President along with its intended recipients.  The Second Special Session of the 23rd Congress adjourned sine-die on April 11, 2024, with all measures adopted and passed sent to the President for his action.

In accordance with Public Law No. 13-59, the next Regular Session of the Congress will be on May 11, unless decided otherwise by the Speaker.

 

*     *     *   

 

Information about the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia is available through the:
CONGRESS PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
P.O. Box PS-3 | Palikir, Pohnpei 96941 |  Tel:  (691) 320-2324/2325/2326
e-mail: cpio@congress.gov.fm | website: www.cfsm.gov.fm | website support: webmaster@congress.gov.fm

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