WASHINGTON, D.C. – Next week, in Washington, DC, the chief executives and Congressional representatives from each of the US insular areas will gather with senior-level officials from more than 20 Federal agencies to discuss issues of importance to American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S Virgin Islands. The 2011 Interagency Group on Insular Areas (IGIA) meeting will be held at the South Interior Building on Tuesday, March 1.
On April 14, 2010, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order (E.O.) 13537 that strengthens and reestablishes the White House as Co-Chair of the IGIA. This will be the first meeting since the signing of the E.O. where Ms. Cecilia Muñoz, White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs will preside as an official co-chair along with Assistant Secretary Anthony M. Babauta, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's designee.
"Last year's IGIA and the subsequent working meetings that followed were an opportunity to familiarize Obama Administration officials on issues specifically of concern to US territories. During the intervening year, we have worked to respond as best as possible to issues raised by Governors and Members of Congress," said Assistant Secretary Babauta.
This year's Federal agency presentations include:
- 2010 Census and Rollout for the Territories;
- Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) and Bureau of Economic Analysis collaboration to collect GDP data for the territories;
- OIA/NREL Initiatives in the Pacific Territories and Energy Initiatives in the Virgin Islands;
- Small Business Administration;
- Health and Human Services on the Health Care Reform Act;
- Education on ARRA Funding – Status of Awards and Projects;
- Maritime Cabotage in the Territories;
- DHS Implementation of Federal Immigration Law in the CNMI;
- USDA Rural Development Models for Economic Development
"This year, I am excited to once again welcome the governors from all of our insular areas and newly-elected Guam Governor Eddie Calvo, added Babauta. "The current fiscal and political environments will continue to challenge the Administration and lawmakers alike as we continue to work through older and newer issues, but my hope is that participants will walk away from this meeting with a better sense of the commitment and attention which exists throughout the Federal government towards our US territories.