President Christian & Vice President George meet with Asian Development Bank Deputy Director General
- Category: News
- Published: Friday, 17 May 2019 06:07
- Written by Bill Jaynes
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FSM Information Services
PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On April 4th, 2019 His Excellency Peter M. Christian, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Honorable Yosiwo P. George, Vice President of the FSM, met with Mr. James Lynch, Deputy Director General, Pacific Department, of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The purpose of the meeting was to discuss ADB country programming in the FSM, including a combined total of 26 million dollars of grant funding available for 2019 and 2020.
Mr. Lynch described how ADB’s engagement with the FSM over the past few years has focused on three areas: energy, water, and education. President Christian, in turn, asked if it would be possible for that money to be used on infrastructural projects on the premise that such projects necessarily feed into energy, water, and education access and quality.
“You can’t go wrong with basic infrastructure,” President Christian said, “because where the road leads, the economy follows. Better roads means better houses, better sewer systems, better education response and better healthcare response….” President Christian followed up by asking if the combined 26 million from ADB for 2019 and 2020 can be used in such infrastructure projects.
“I think it’s…very much contingent on what the government’s priorities are,” said Mr. Lynch in response.
President Christian noted, for example, that in Yap multiple schools need paved roads to improve access and multiple bridges need to be rebuilt; and in Pohnpei State, the Jesuits have donated the former Pohnpei Agriculture & Trade School (PATS) complex to the National Government, and the current administration has been wanting to turn it into a new dedicated vocational education school—the FSM presently lacks such a dedicated vocational education institution.
President Christian further highlighted that infrastructure development can often have numerous positive side effects. “For example…every time we let a road be made of coral, we have to go out and re-dredge a reef in order to cover the road—but if we pave these roads, then we’re not just providing good access road, we’re saving the reefs from further degradation.”
“That’s a really interesting angle,” said Mr. Lynch. “This is one of the most interesting and innovative approaches [we’ve heard of].” Mr. Lynch emphasized the importance of ADB’s mission to the FSM, to include the future establishment of a Pohnpei-based FSM Country Office which will “give [ADB] more physical presence on the ground to really provide [FSM] the support that’s necessary.”
“Let me say that I appreciate this meeting,” President Christian said, “we will ensure we remain vigilant that this money we’re saying we have is used effectively…and I’d like to immediately tell the FSM states of Kosrae, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Yap that this is your share…but we recommend the best thing is to use it for roads.”
The meeting concluded with Mr. Lynch advising that ADB will “come up with a roadmap within 30 days that will help FSM allocate these resources…and the states comply with the timeframes we’ll set forward.”
The FSM National Government is committed towards providing essential services to the citizens of the Nation, and believes that FSM’s national sovereignty necessitates that genuine partnerships with foreign nations and independent organizations focus on development projects that enhance both the quality of life, and the quality and quantity of opportunity, for all who call these islands home.