PALIKIR, POHNPEI. [CONGRESS PIO]. APRIL 14, 2017. Along with the 25 Acts, the Congress also adopted 14 resolutions at the end of its 8th Special Session. While most of the resolutions centered on grant assistance to the Federated States of Micronesia, two addressed international issues pending before the Body and the last two expressed the Member’s collective appreciation to the two outgoing Senators.
Congressional Resolution (CR) 19-358, thanked Vice Speaker Berney Martin for his dedicated services to the Nation since his election to the Body in the 2011. During the 2011 reorganization, Martin was selected as the Vice Speaker of the 17th Congressional Body with membership on the various committees. During the 2015 reorganization, Martin was again selected to the Vice Speakership and applauded by Members for having “filled (the) role admirably.” A role to which Congress expressed its “sincere gratitude to Vice Speaker Berney Martin for his dedicated services.”
The other appreciation resolution was CR 19-359, through which Congress thanked Senator Bonsiano Fasy Nethon for his years of dedicated services and fulfilling his role in the 19th Body as the Chairman of the Committee on Health and Social Affairs. Nethon was also elected to the 17th Body in 2011and had dutifully filled his role.
On the international arena, Congress adopted CR 19-290, which ratified the Agreement between the FSM and the European Union on the Short-Stay Visa Waiver (the “Agreement”). The Agreement was signed on September 19, 2016, to accord reciprocal privileges to citizens of the two signatories to “allow entry and stay without visa at each party’s territory for a period of up to 90 days in any 180-day period”;
The other resolution was CR 19-341, which ratified the Kigali Agreement to the Montreal Protocol. The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of substances responsible for ozone depletion. The Kigali Agreement is an amendment that added the powerful gases hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) to the list of substances to be phased out under the Protocol. It also capped and reduced the uses of the ozone depleting substances in a gradual process beginning in 2019.
In relation to the efforts of the Montreal Protocol, CR 19-350, approved a grant of $35,000 from the United Nations Environment Program to fund the Regional Hydro Fluorocarbon Phase-out Management Plan; and
Also on the regional level was CR 19-339, which approved a grant of $200,000 from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to fund the Ridge to Reef project in the FSM.
The remainder of the resolutions addressed the various grant assistance from the United States Department of Health and Human Services to the Nation through the Department of Health and Social Affairs under the amended Compact of Free Association with the United States of America.
Congressional Resolution 19-345, approved a grant $157,974 from the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) – Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), to the fund the FSM Maternal and Child Health Services program for the budget period of October 2016 thru September 2018;
CR 19-351, approved a grant of $1,469,247 from the US DHHS – Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support and fund the FSM Immunization and Vaccines for Children program;
CR 19-352, approved a grant of $137,437 from the US DHHS-CDC, to the FSM DH&SA to assist and fund the FSM Surveillance, Intervention, and Referral to services activities for Infants with Microcephaly linked with the Zika Virus project for Budget Period 3.3.17 -7.31.17;
CR 19-354, approved a grant of $386,105 from the US DHHS-CDC, to support and fund the FSM Tobacco and Diabetes program under the Tobacco and Diabetes collaborative partnership in the FSM; and
CR 19-357, approved a grant of $143,825 from the US DHHS, to fund the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention project.
The final measure was CR 19-356, which set the estimated funds available for appropriation from the General Fund at $93,129,771.
As called, the Eighth Special Session of the 19th Congress was convened for 10 days and adjourned sine-die on April 5, 2017. Unless a special session is called earlier, the next session of the Congress would be the reorganization of a new Body – the Twentieth Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia on May 11, 2017 in Palikir, Pohnpei.