FSM Peer Review: Pohnpei state looks to tourism

Pohnpei, FSM – In anticipation of the ending of funds from the United States Compact in 2023, the states in the Federated States of Micronesia are considering measures to fill up the gap that will be left in their budgets.

And for FSM’s capital state of Pohnpei it proposes to develop tourism in a sustainable manner adopting the ‘World Park’ concept. A plan is being developed with overseas assistance for presentation to the Pohnpei state legislature.

“We do not want to create another Guam or Waikiki (Hawaii). We want to create something that is unique to Pohnpei and that will showcase our culture in a sustainable way,” said the Pohnpei State Governor, Hon. John Ehsa when he met with the FSM Forum Compact Peer Review team on 23 November. The FSM is the 9th Forum Island Country that has volunteered for a peer review of its national development planning, budgeting, public financial and aid coordination processes and systems.

The FSM government has also specifically requested that in recognition of the pressing challenges facing the country, that their Peer Review team should also consider the suitability of the existing policy environment for promoting private sector development.

Selected by the FSM Government, the FSM Peer Review Team consists of Mr Catolino Kijiner from the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Ms Noumea Simi representing the Government of Samoa, Mr Johnson Naviti of the Vanuatu Government and Mr Asif Chida from the UNDP Pacific Centre in Fiji. The Team is assisted by staff of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

The team has met with leaders and officials of the national government and the four states as well as non-government organizations, women and youth groups, the private sector and development partners.

In a meeting with the Peer Review Team, the Pohnpei State Governor, Hon. Ehsa told the team he wants his state to take the lead in the development of tourism as a way of making the state self-sufficient post 2023. The ‘World Park’ concept included a Trust Fund component. “We are proposing that the tourism will be the leading sector for Pohnpei state but at the same time continuing to develop the education and health sectors.”

Governor Ehsa explained that “the development of tourism we are proposing under the ‘World Park’ concept will develop tourism in a sustainable manner so our people can value who we are, what we are, keep our identity but at the same time attract tourists.”

“The Pohnpei State government has recently set up an overseas development assistance unit within its budget department because Pohnpei State believes that aid coordination should be at the state level and the national government’s role should only be to consolidate whatever development assistance comes into the states,” said Hon. Ehsa.

Additionally, Pohnpei State Government wants to take the lead in implementing a financial management system that can enable the budget, finance, and reporting processes of the resources be integrated according to the State Development Plan. At the end of the FSM Forum Compact Peer Review, a report, which will be discussed with the FSM Government, will make recommendations to both the government and the development partners.

ENDS.

For media enquiries, contact Mr Johnson Honimae, the Forum Secretariat’s Media Officer on phone: 691 9248325 or email: johnsonh@forumsec.org.fj