Grant contract signing ceremony for the project for construction of new recycling center, Pohnpei State

13123131213232132132On March 19, 2020, the signing ceremony for the Project for Construction of New Recycling Center, Pohnpei State was held at the Embassy of Japan to provide Environmental Protection Agency, Pohnpei State with the funds up to US$87,609 under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects by the Government of Japan.

This project will construct a new recycling center for efficient recycling activities, contributing to improved traffic and hygiene environment in Pohnpei State. The new recycling center will be able to collect and pressure 4 million additional cans compared to the current recycling center.

At the ceremony, the Hon. Feliciano Perman, Lieutenant Governor of Pohnpei State expressed his gratitude to Japan for its continues support for the people of Pohnpei.

Ambassador Sobashima Hidenobu stated that Japan decided to finance the construction of a new recycling center, as the current recycling center was not collecting a large number of cans properly, causing traffic and environmental problems and hoped that the new recycling center would improve the traffic and environmental problems and nurture the culture against littering.5 Group photo of the participants 2

Mr. Henry Susana, Executive Officer of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressed his appreciation for the cooperation from the Embassy of Japan and a JICA volunteer and looked forward to the completion of the project.

The ceremony was also attended by Mr. Stuart Penias, Secretary Board of Directors of EPA, Ms. Shirley Ligohr, Overseas Development Assistance, Mr. Patrick Pedrus, Public Information Officer, Mr. Brad Soram, Specialist, EPA, and Mr. Josep Victor, Specialist, EPA, ; all from Pohnpei State Government, as well as Mr. Okiguchi Ryota, JICA Volunteer and members of the Embassy of Japan in the FSM.

Pohnpei Cultural Day – A photographic retrospective from happier days

An opinion by Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

 

March 31, 2020

Capture2Pohnpei—Due to the insidious threat of COVID-19 that has engulfed the world, official Pohnpei and FSM Cultural Day events were canceled this year.  While it is vital that we all remain safe as the threat looms over the nation, one can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia at what was temporarily lost.

All too many people seem not to be taking the threat seriously and are stridently continuing to gather in large groups such as at church services, sakau markets, and in other places. With school canceled, many students are still assembling in large groups of their friends, roaming from place to place. People are still sharing betel nut and are still spitting in the streets. But it is vital to everyone that we ALL realize the seriousness of the threat and take directed precautions such as diligent hand washing. You may be young and healthy and you may think that you are invulnerable but not all of us are. To date 69,309 people have died from this terrible virus. Nearly 1.3 million people have been diagnosed with a certainty as having the disease but no one knows how many millions of people have either not yet showed symptoms who will eventually get the disease or who are carriers who will never display symptoms.

We just don’t know, and perhaps, the not knowing is the scariest part of all. I have seen written opinions saying that we are perfectly safe since the government has shut down the borders.  But we can’t know that and to assume that is true is to throw caution to the wind like so much confetti.

If you don’t care about yourself, please show care for the other people on your island by heeding what is for now only a strong recommendation from the government rather than a directive. Don’t count on someone else. Do it yourself. There may yet come a day when the government will be forced to lock down by directive.

There WILL come a day when we can once again gather together, and that will be a joyful day.  For now, we have our memories and anticipation of things that will one day come again.  Meanwhile, enjoy some photos of happier days and smile.Capture1

Building a community with a shared future for humanity by joining hands in combating COVID-19

by H.E. Huang Zheng, Chinese Ambassador to the FSM

The COVID-19 outbreak poses both a great threat to the life and health of the Chinese people and people around the world, as well as a formidable challenge to global public health security. In the face of this major test,with the personal commitment of Chinese President Xi Jinping and strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee,the Chinese people have put up a tenacious fight against the outbreak,which have resulted in a growing positive momentum in epidemic control across the country.

Together with the rest of the global community, the FSM Government and people and many overseas Chinese have made important contributions to the efforts in China in fighting the virus, to whom we’d like to extend our sincerest gratitude. Nowadays, there are no newly reported local cases in China, which vividly showcases the institutional strength of socialism with Chinese characteristics in pooling resources for major undertakings. Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO,noted that China is setting a new standard for global public health security response. However, global situation deteriorates rapidly,with outbreaks simultaneously spotted in various countries and cities. The pandemic is even approaching Pacific island countries including the FSM, which is indeed worrying. At the moment, the global community needs to hurry up in carrying out international cooperation and conforming a strong synergy in combating the pandemic.

China has always been upholding the vision of building a community with a shared future for humanity initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping. We attached high importance to international health cooperation from the very beginning and China’s efforts have bought precious time and earned important experience for the whole world. In responding to its domestic outbreak, China has provided timely updates on the epidemic in a spirit of openness, transparency and accountability. We shared the genetic sequencing of the virus, worked closely with the WHO, neighboring countries and other countries concerned, and invited international experts to join this fight. Now, the Knowledge Center for China's Experiences in response to COVID-19 (website: https://covid19.alliancebrh.com/) is officially online. All countries are welcome to share China’s experiences.

China will continue to expand cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels against the epidemic and keep up good communication with the WHO. We will explore transnational epidemic prevention and control by China and countries concerned by better coordinating competent departments responsible for health, quarantine, transportation and border control, promptly sharing epidemic updates, containment measures and research findings, and intensifying joint R&D of antiviral drugs and vaccines. China has donated 20 million US dollars to the WHO, in support of its global action in fighting the virus. China will also assist countries and regions undergoing a spread of infections as much as we can and live up to our role as a responsible major country.

The history of human civilization is a history of fighting diseases. COVID-19 is yet another sobering reminder that in this age of globalization, the future of countries are closely connected and building a community with a shared future for humanity is the right way to go. No country can spare itself from the global community in the face of major infectious diseases among other non-traditional security challenges. We must join hands in promoting global public health governance. China will put into practice its concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and respond to global public health challenges together with the international community collectively. Meanwhile, China firmly opposes any conduct of politicization or stigmatization of diseases. China supports the central role of the UN and WHO in responding to health emergencies and in improving the global public health governance system, where public health issues should be moved up on the international agenda, major international health projects be implemented, and a Silk Road of Health be taken forward.

Building a community with a shared future for humanity is the core of Xi Jinping Thoughts on Diplomacy, which has become a major guidance to China’s major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics,and been written into several UN resolutions. This vision is winning growing support from a large number of countries and is gradually becoming a global consensus shared by the international community. In response to this pandemic, the Chinese people have made important contributions to the world public health security with its own efforts and sacrifice, which depicts a vivid image of building a community with a shared future for humanity.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized, those communicating with hearts, their friendships last. In response to the ongoing global COVID-19 spread, China will neither flinch nor stand aside. Severe as the situation may be, confidence is most valuable; tough as the job may seem, hope lies ahead. The Chinese people will stand, unite, and communicate with hearts with the people of the FSM, on the basis of One China principle, mutual respect and common development. By standing together, we will surely seek greatness from difficulties, continue to deepen China-FSM Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and our Great Friendship and win the final success in combating the COVID-19 pandemic together.

My fellow Micronesians: Through peace, friendship, cooperation, & love in our common humanity we will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic as a stronger nation & a stronger world

FSM Information Services

Message from the President

My fellow Micronesians,

Mogethin, Ran annim, Len wo, and Kaselehlie.

As I near the end of my 14-day quarantine period and reflect upon today being the two-month anniversary of our original Public Health Emergency Declaration on January 31st, and as our Nation witnesses ever-changing daily norms at home and abroad, it strikes me as appropriate that we review where our canoe is today and where we imagine our canoe might be going in the near future over  the course of these challenging times during this COVID-19 coronavirus Pandemic.

Let us firstly review our accomplishments immediately followed by our intentions, for the former  are many and the latter are plentiful still. As of today, March 31st 2020, the Federated States of Micronesia remains COVID-19 free. Nor do we have any Persons Under Investigation at present. This is at least partly the result of dedicated stewardship across all levels of our society, from the Executive and Legislative Branches of the National Government to the respective State Governments and even at the municipal level. In particular, our Department of Health & Social Affairs and the FSM COVID-19 Task Force, along with the respective State Departments of Health

& State COVID-19 Task Forces, have shown exemplary professionalism and a patriotic sense of duty in carrying out their solemn mission to protect the health and wellbeing of our Nation’s citizens and residents.

Our collective Task Forces have been working in coordination and around the clock to ensure our Nation’s safety. In the coming weeks, I look forward to illuminating you all on what this looks like in terms of financial support from our friends, allies, and development partners. In the meantime, I have consented to our States’ requests to largely prohibit the disembarkation of aircraft passengers from international commercial carriers until additional quarantine facilities and isolation facilities are adequately developed.

Further, I am proud to tell you that I have very reliable information that in the coming weeks our Nation will acquire the capacity to test for COVID-19 within our Nation’s borders. I have demanded this, and we are committed to taking every action necessary to ensure its occurrence.

I recognize and appreciate that there are some who would seek to criticize the efforts of our travel restriction and quarantine processes. I would suggest to those critics to be mindful that every expert was once a beginner, and that if we measure success as the prevention of COVID-19 in reaching our shores, and the development of contingency plans for its arrival, that we have met, and continue to meet, these metrics. Pessimism, like misery, is fond of company—but it wins no friends just as it wins no battles. Our collective leadership across the Nation is committed to winning this battle against COVID-19 for you, your family, and your country. But we cannot do it alone: we need you to join us.

Your Government, far from being a single entity that is separate from you, is all around you—for  we are you, just as you are us. We are your brothers, your sisters, and your neighbors. So too, then, do we need you just as you need us. I call upon your continued participation in endeavors such as social distancing and superior hygiene practices to ensure our Nation’s long-term success against the COVID-19 Pandemic. Wash your hands; avoid large social gatherings; and, above all, maintain your Micronesian sense of empathy and compassion for your fellows. You are I as I am you. To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do.

Responding to the COVID-19 challenge in the Pacific

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Australia.

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic represents a significant challenge for governments and communities across the Pacific. It is a challenge the Australian Government is committed to tackling with our Pacific partners, in the long-term interest of the stability, prosperity and resilience of our region.

                Prime Minister Morrison told G20 leaders on 26 March that the Pacific needed to be a focus of international support. As the world’s economies, large and small, grapple with a pandemic that does not recognise national borders, co-operation will be critical.

                Australia’s response will build on our existing Pacific Step-up, which has strengthened our co-operation in helping to grow economies, build resilience, and enhance regional stability through our defence, policing and border security cooperation. We have never faced a challenge of the scale of COVID-19, but we will combat it together as a Pacific family.

                The top priority for our governments right now is to keep infection rates as low as possible. As have many Pacific nations, Australia has closed its borders to non-citizens and non-residents, and we have banned Australians from travelling overseas. Pacific islanders transiting Australia to return home are exempt from our travel ban. We have also put in place enhanced health screening for passengers flying to the Pacific.

                As a region, we need to enable the movement of a small number of international experts, as well as essential supplies, medicines and food, across the Pacific.  Australia is already taking steps, as a transit country to much of the region, to facilitate a humanitarian and essential services corridor to the Pacific, and Timor-Leste.

                Australia’s high commissions and embassies across the Pacific remain open. We have also worked quickly to ensure essential Australian advisers – in health and frontline services – have been able to stay and continue their work with Pacific governments.

                We have also been strongly engaged with Pacific partners to prepare for, and prevent, the spread of COVID-19, and to manage the broader health and economic impacts. Australia is assisting Pacific Island governments with laboratories, medical equipment, health expertise, public information campaigns and support for national preparedness plans and the World Health Organisation’s regional plan.  Our regional institutions are critical to this response, and we are working closely with the Pacific Islands Forum and the Pacific Community.

                In this unprecedented situation, we have moved quickly to reorient our development partnerships to bring forward funding for critical health services and to mitigate the economic shock.

                No country should be alone in this crisis. Nowhere is this more true than in the Pacific. Australia faces its own immediate challenges, but our support for, and partnership with, our Pacific family is essential for our regional health security and our long-term interests.