UN: A three-day workshop on sanitation solutions for the urban poor in Pacific Island States was set to begin this week in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI).The workshop brings together local government officials from the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati and Tuvalu. Participants will be introduced to selected practices and key lessons from Indonesia and the Philippines on sanitation for low-income urban communities.Participants will also be introduced to some of the practices that have been developed in other countries of Asia. The objective of the workshop, tentative set for January 12-14, 2009, is to encourage the adaptation and replication of innovative practices in urban sanitation in the participating countries.
TAIWAN: This continuing drama relates to the problem of diplomatic recognition. At present, only 23 nations recognize the ROC, and most of these 23 are tiny and poor with minuscule populations. The vast majority of the nations of the world, including the larger and influential slates, recognize the PRC. Here in the Pacific, the nations recognizing the ROC are Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, Palua, the Solomon Islands and Nauru. Representing the PRC are Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Tonga and Vanuatu. Both the PRC and the ROC give massive financial aid to these struggling Pacific nations as well as free travel abroad for their respective leaders and their families. Financial aid comes in the form of road building, airport construction, agricultural and fishery assistance, and the like. When the government of the Marshall Islands, for example, ousted its long-time president earlier last year, the new president questioned the wisdom of maintaining ties with Taiwan and hinted he would switch sides and recognize Beijing instead. He has backtracked on this, however, and says he will continue recognizing Taiwan after being told the PRC will financially bail out the nation's only air carrier, Air Marshall Islands, which has not been in operation since last year because its three airplanes have been laid up with engine and other problems.
CDC: The U.S. next month will launch a human papillomavirus vaccination campaign aimed at preventing cervical cancer in the Pacific island nations of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau, Jean-Paul Chaine, regional epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The program, which will cost $9 million, will fund HPV vaccinations for more than 30,000 girls ages 10 to 18. Although officials intended to launch the program in early 2008, implementation was delayed by funding obstacles, Chaine said. Some of the island states could launch the vaccine campaign as early as next month, he added.Cervical cancer was the second most prevalent cancer in the Marshall Islands in 2007 and is estimated to affect women at a rate six times greater than in the U.S., Chaine said. The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that cause most cases of cervical cancer and genital warts. According to Agence France-Presse, the three countries targeted for the program have "compacts of free association" with the U.S., which allows them to qualify for many U.S.-funded health and education programs.
DOIJanuary 8, 2008 – The Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne, today announced the apportionment of $16.935 million for historic preservation grants to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories and the three freely associated states of Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.Grants may be used for a broad range of activities such as historic property inventories, resource protection planning, nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, monitoring compliance with Federal historic preservation requirements, technical assistance to private interests that seek to preserve and protect historic resources, assisting local government preservation programs, and acquisition or development of historic properties. The Department of the Interior’s National Park Service will administer these funds as part of the Historic Preservation Fund. Amounts made to each jurisdiction are listed below: Micronesia $148,766, Marshall Islands $86,217, Palau $86,217
JAPAN: The Japan government will be providing its first-ever multi-million dollar cash grant to the Marshall Islands in early 2009. Japan Charge d’Affaires Kazuyuki Ohdaira said Tuesday that the Japanese cabinet has approved a $2.2 million grant to support energy needs in the Marshall Islands. The agreement requires the Marshall Islands to chip in an additional $1.1 million to the fund. The new grant follows consistent Marshall Islands votes of support for Japan at the International Whaling Commission, the backing of Japan’s bid for seat on the United Nations Security Council and a state visit the president of the Marshall Islands made to Japan earlier this year.This is the first large non-construction or fisheries grant from Japan. Since the 1980s, all large Japan grants have been provided in the form of construction projects, such as docks, roads, and a new hospital, or for fisheries development activities. Japan is the third largest aid donor to the Marshall Islands behind the United States and Taiwan. “This is the first time for the Marshall Islands to receive this type of grant aid from the government of Japan,” said Ohdaira. “This grant has been decided thanks to the long-standing close relationship between the two nations as well as to both countries’ efforts to further strengthen the relationship (through) efforts like the successful visit of President Litokwa Tomeing to Japan last April.”
GUAM: Gov. Felix Camacho has signed into law a bill that paves the way for the government of Guam to take legal action against the federal government for reimbursement of $400 million in Compact Impact funds. In an earlier interview, Blas said Guam has spent a total of $400.87 million for the social services rendered to Freely Associated States citizens between 1987 and 2007 but the amount that the federal government reimburses to the island is not commensurate to the actual cost of hosting Micronesians. According to the Compact Impact Reconciliation Report, Guam spent $269 million from 1987 to 2003 for medical, educational and security services provided to FAS citizens. "The total amount owed to Guam now is $400.87 million when we include the un-reimbursed amounts from 2004 to 2007," Blas told Variety during an interview last August. Guam has been receiving $14 million in Compact Impact money every year since 2004. That amount is part of the $30 million that the federal government releases annually and shared with Hawaii and the CNMI, which are also affected by migration of FAS citizens migration. David B. Cohen, former deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Interior, disagreed with the local government’s claim that the federal government owed Guam money. “I don’t agree that Guam is owed $400 million,” Cohen told Variety in an interview during his visit to Guam last month. He said the law authorizes reimbursements for the impact of migration from Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, but did not require Congress to appropriate funds for that purpose. “So that’s not a debt,” Cohen said. Cohen said Guam incurs costs just as other states do, but in return, there are benefits that come with the overall package. “Guam is incurring expenses because of decisions that are made by the federal government, but all of us do.
WHO:Abnormally high sea levels beginning 8 December 2008 caused flooding in several coastal communities in Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia. The tidal surges and prolonged heavy rain were brought by a tropical depression in the area. A tidal wave last 10 December also swept parts of Solomon Islands affecting up to 3 000 people destroying their livelihood and food supply. In Marshall Islands, people were evacuated and temporarily sheltered in schools. Tidal surges washed away crops and damaged agricultural land. Extent of infrastructure damages is yet to be confirmed. Disruption of communication networks hamper assessment and delivery of relief.The floods contaminated drinking water systems and damaged sewage systems. Marshall Islands - Having assessed the impact of the floods, the government has declared a state of emergency. - The government continues to communicate with international NGOs and UN agencies for possible international support. - Local NGOs have contributed food and other supplies to people affected. Official request for UN assistance has not yet been issued from the Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands but international agencies including the World Health Organization are in close communication with the governments of affected countries for assessment of needs, possible assistance and technical support.
PACIFIC FORUM: Papua New Guinea will be hosting a special meeting to discuss the Fiji issues on January 27, which will be attended by all Pacific Island Forum leaders.Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare last year offered to host the special Pacific Island Leaders meeting in Port Moresby at the end of this month.This is after much criticism about Fiji leader Frank Bainimarama refusing to listen to several Pacific Island leaders on elections and other issues. Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Abal’s office yesterday confirmed the meeting was scheduled and being prepared for. First secretary Maimu Raka Nou said this while responding to a statement from the PIF leaders saying that the Pacific Islands Forum will be meeting in Port Moresby solely to discuss the Fiji interim government’s lack of commitment towards a quick return to Parliamentary democracy.