Island Leaders Meet On Compact Impact
Guam (March 15, 2012) –Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas, Tony Babuata convened the Pacific Island Leaders Addressing Compact Impact (PILACI) meeting with the Micronesian Chief Executives. Participants included Republic of Palau President Johnson Toribiong, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) President Emanuel Mori, and Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) President Christopher Loeak, Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Governor Eddie Baza Calvo, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Governor Benigno Fitial, Chuuk State Governor Johnson Elimo, Kosrae State Governor Lyndon Jackson, Pohnpei State Governor John Ehsa, Yap State Governor Sebastian Anefal. State of Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz and staff participated in the meeting through videoconference. The Chief Executives joined in the first meeting of its kind, as island leaders gathered to collaboratively develop meaningful strategies to address policy issues concerning the Compact of Free Association (COFA) between the United States and the Freely Associated States (FAS).
Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) staff presented on the Department of the Interior's efforts to respond to Congressional concerns regarding education, reaffirming COFA migrant rights, privileges and responsibilities, healthcare and the feasibility of constructing dialysis facilities in the RMI and FSM, and attempts to develop screening measures for COFA migrants prior to departing their country of origin.
Additional presentations included resource allocation and management of Compact sector grants and Compact Impact funding for affected jurisdictions and the FAS. Since 2004, $105million in OIA funding has been dedicated for school infrastructure projects and $7million for the maintenance of health and education infrastructure in the FAS. Discussion focused on leveraging partnerships to develop a coordinated response and increase community awareness and engagement amongst stakeholders.
"PILACI speaks to our collective effort to respond and develop collaborative solutions to regional concerns. I am pleased that our dialogue was candid and constructive in recognizing the challenges and responsibilities of each stakeholder as we unitedly cultivate a way forward. There was consensus among the Chiefs to carry out a cooperative response that is not only thoughtful but mindful of the fiscal constraints," said Babauta.
PILACI is a result of OIA's larger, interagency effort that focuses on strengthening bilateral relationships and community outreach to advance effective policy initiatives that respond to Compact Impact concerns.