PALIKIR, POHNPEI. January, 2019– The Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia held a three-day workshop, from January 7 – 9, to review its Rules of Procedures with legislative procedural expert and consultant George Crawford from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The Rules of Procedures are the regulations that guide the organization of and daily conduct of business for the Congress of the FSM and are established through Congressional Resolutions.
Vice Speaker Esmond B. Moses’ opening remarks welcomed all participants and especially thanked the UNDP representatives: Consultant Crawford and the Northern Pacific Program Coordinator Suzanne Gallen for facilitating the much-needed review of the Rules. The Rules, Vice Speaker noted, have directed the Nation’s legislative work for more than 40 years and he was optimistic that the new year will usher in new ideas and new visions to guide the workings of the Congress, “as today’s world become more interconnected, so it becomes imperative that we revisit our Rules to see how it can correspond to today’s realities. This exercise will help us determine what changes, if any, is and or are needed for us.”
Consultant Crawford echoed the Vice Speaker’s optimistic view that the workshop presented the opportunity for the Congress to “review and safeguard the foundation of the institution and at the same time ensure that the Rules are adaptable to the changing times…” Crawford, whose vast experience in legislative rules and procedures – internationally and regionally, shared good practices he witnessed and encouraged the Congress to look at those which may be applicable to its own Nation.
Crawford further shared that since the Rules form the operations basis for the Congress and set precedence and positions of the Body under Constitutional mandate, it is imperative that the review of the Rules be an ongoing work of a legislative Body.
The 3-day workshop allowed the participants a detail examination of the Congress Rules of Procedures (ROP) that resulted in a few changes and amendments to be presented to the Body for adoption. Along with the UNDP representatives, the participants of the workshop included, the Presiding Officers: Speaker Wesley W. Simina, Vice Speaker Moses and Floor Leader Florencio Singkoro Harper, along with Chairman of the Standing Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations – Senator Robson U. Romolow and the go-to Member for the Congress ROP – Chairman of the Standing Committee on Education – Senator Joseph J. Urusemal. The staffs of the Congress were also part of the UNDP workshop to review of the Congress ROP.
The workshop is part of the UNDP program launched in September of 2018 entitled “Strengthening Legislatures in Pacific Island Countries Project” or SLIP. Specific to the legislative branch, the SLIP project is funded by the Government of Japan for a three-year cycle to support and strengthen six legislative bodies in the Pacific – Fiji, FSM, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The project seeks to provide support for these island parliaments or legislatures to become more effective and efficient through strengthening the work of their committees related to legislation and oversight, and building the capacities of legislators and professionalism of staff.
As one of the beneficiaries of the UNDP SLIP, the ROP review workshop was the second project for FSM Congress under the SLIP with its first held last year on Standing Committee of Congress and its responsibilities as mandated by the Congress Rules of Procedures and the Constittution of the Federated States of Micronesia.
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