HONOLULU, 11 SEPTEMBER 2017 (MARIANAS VARIETY) — The Republic of the Marshall Islands and the United States bilateral Joint Economic Management and Financial Accountability Committee or JEMFAC annual meeting took place Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Honolulu, Hawaii. [ restrict]

The committee members jointly approved US$28 million in the sectors of health, education, environment, and public infrastructure as identified under the Compact of Free Association, as amended, for the benefit of the people of the RMI. This annual meeting of the JEMFAC serves to promote the effective use of funding under the Compact and provides the opportunity for RMI and U.S. officials to discuss bilateral priorities pertaining to Compact funding and how best to achieve them.

“I am encouraged by the JEMFAC meetings and discussions we held regarding the Marshall Islands,” said JEMFAC Chairman and acting Interior Assistant Secretary Nik Pula. “The Marshall Islands continues to make progress on all fronts with respect to Compact funding.”

At the annual joint meeting, the committee members:

  •  Reaffirmed our mutual commitment to peace, prosperity, and shared democratic values.
  •  Recognised the importance of the enduring relationship between our two countries and highlighted areas for continued cooperation to advance our shared goals.
  •  Reaffirmed that the goal of funding provided under the Compact, as amended, is for the benefit of the people of the RMI.
  • Recognized the significant progress made by the RMI government in developing the capacity of its Ministry of Finance and the submittal of the RMI’s fiscal year 2016 Single Audit in a timely and unmodified manner. Minister Brenson Wase and Secretary Maybelline Bing’s (RMI Ministry of Finance) extraordinary efforts in improving the RMI’s financial management operations were particularly recognized.
  •  Received presentations on RMI efforts: to strengthen the RMI Public School System, support the College of the Marshall Islands, strengthen the RMI’s school accreditation processes, improve access to primary healthcare, and implement infrastructure projects to contribute to economic advancement, budgetary self-reliance, and sustainable inclusive development.
  •  Resolved to make Compact sector financial assistance available to enable the RMI to undertake a third party review of the RMI’s education system
  •  Approved funding for community projects on Ebeye within Kwajalein Atoll.
  •  Reaffirmed the importance of sustainable and inclusive economic development through improved education standards, access to primary healthcare, and data collection.
  •  Recognised the RMI’s progress in developing clear, simple, measurable and verifiable performance indicators in health and education.
  •  Welcomed Paul Curry, principal operations coordination specialist at the Asian Development Bank, who observed the JEMFAC meeting.

The JEMFAC allocated Fiscal Year 2018 Compact assistance to the following sectors:

US$11,022,660 — education

US$6,869,099 — health

US$2,647,699 — Ebeye special needs, education

US$1,957,635 — Ebeye special needs, health

US$1,484,556 — Ebeye special needs, capital

US$180,766 — environment

US$2,050,000 — public sector infrastructure

US$240,780 — Kwajalein environmental impact

US$2,287,410 — Kwajalein development fund

Additionally, the JEMFAC allocated “prior-year” unexpended Compact assistance to the following sectors:

US$500,000 — Ebeye special needs, Capital (Section 211(b) (1)), Ebeye Sea Wall Project

US$1,126,250 — Ebeye special needs, Section 211(b) (1)), EWSSP Phase 3

US$462,000 — Kwajalein Development Fund (Section 211(b) (2)), Power Generation Support

JEMFAC passed the following resolutions:

JEMFAC 2017-1 Mid-Corridor Housing Project

JEMFAC 2017-2 Support of Education Institutional Strengthening

JEMFAC 2017-3 Infrastructure Projects – Professional Design and Engineering

JEMFAC 2017-4 FY2018 Compact Grant Allocations

The JEMFAC will reconvene for its mid-year meeting in spring 2018. The JEMFAC is comprised of the following members: Chairman Nikolao Pula (U.S. – Department of the Interior), Vice Chairman John Silk (RMI – Minister of Foreign Affairs), Brenson Wase (RMI – Minister of Finance), William Gallo (U.S. – Health and Human Services), and Philip Roskamp (U.S. – State Department).PACNEWS [/restrict]