Federated States of Micronesia (Photo: UNDP)

Suva, Fiji
– The UN Development Programme and the Government of Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) held their first Annual Programme Review (APR) meeting virtually on Thursday 27 May. The online summit included FSM Assistant Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brendy Carl and senior officials from government. Mr. Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative for UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, shared the role of chairperson at the meeting, and was supported by his deputy Mr. Kevin Petrini and senior officials from the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva.

The strategic meeting reviewed the achievements of the year 2020 in the three focal areas of climate change and sustainable development, effective governance, and inclusive economic growth. Both parties shared their development priorities for the current year and discussed the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mr. Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative for UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, began the meeting by explaining that UNDP wanted to have a high-level dialogue to ensure that the joint development programme effectively addresses FSM’s development goals in areas where UNDP has capacity and expertise. He stated, “We have a strong partnership, and project implementers are in constant communication. We wanted to have this meeting to review what we have done together and identify areas where we might need to upscale or adjust our approach to produce the results that FSM requires.”

The meeting Co-Chair, Assistant Secretary for Foreign Affairs Mr. Brendy Carl, shared the Government of FSM’s gratitude to UNDP for its steadfast support. According to Mr. Carl, “We also appreciate that UNDP is flexible, and able to reallocate funding in times of crisis. We are very grateful for the support that we have received in terms of COVID-19 response.”

According to Mr. Carl, “UNDP has invested a great deal in climate change mitigation and disaster response, and we appreciate this. We also count on UNDP’s assistance in other areas, including governance and the provision of life-saving medication for TB and HIV. Most importantly, we know that UNDP backs our plans and ambitions, as set out in our state and national priorities.”

UNDP delivered a presentation on the achievements of the partnership, which included information on risks and risk mitigation measures. Both partners agreed that, while the pandemic has posed a serious risk to programme implementation, the adjustments that were made proved to be quite successful, and fortunately most of the programme planned for 2020 was implemented. The fact that expert consultants from abroad cannot enter the country due to pandemic-related travel restrictions is an ongoing challenge that was noted by the Government of FSM.

FSM Government and UNDP representatives (Photo: UNDP)
Virtual meeting (Photo: UNDP)

The Government of FSM provided clarification on its process of setting priorities, and presented its development priorities for 2020-2021, which include infrastructure, water security, SDG tracking, climate change mitigation, and emergency adaptation. It was noted that UNDP is already working extensively in some of those areas.  

Mr. Kevin Petrini, Deputy Resident Representative a.i. for UNDP Pacific Office during his presentation remarked that “It is great to hear more about your priorities, many of which are being addressed in our very strong joint portfolio of work.  As UNDP is a global agency, we do have additional capacity and expertise, and so we hope that this meeting is a chance for us to think about new ways in which we can work together.” He suggested coastal adaptation as an area in which UNDP has invested a great deal, which would benefit FSM.

FSM and UNDP representatives agreed that the meeting was an opportune time to promote the “cross-pollination” of projects.  The partners spoke about how women’s empowerment methods and strategies already being used in the area of resilience and sustainable development can be applied to promote gender equity in the transport sector, which FSM is already working to achieve.

The partners spoke about their joint commitment to the achievement of the SDGs, and both remain resolute in their determination to make progress toward the goals.

“With the establishment of the UNDP Office for the North Pacific in a few months’ time, UNDP will become much more accessible to you. We will continue to provide assistance in our focal areas and will have more human resources closer to you. That increased capacity will support your efforts to make progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals,” Mr. Bouadze informed the Government of FSM.

Mr. Carl reiterated the Government’s commitment to working with both the UNDP Pacific Office and the UNDP Office for the North Pacific, noting that “We are very much looking forward to the opening of the new office. There will be many new opportunities to grow and advance our partnership.”

The Annual Programme Review meeting concluded with both partners agreeing to make this strategic dialogue a fixture on their annual calendar. The next Annual Programme Review meeting will therefore take place in early 2022. In the interim, UNDP and FSM will continue to work closely on initiatives that support FSM’s development priorities and benefit all its people.

For media queries, please contact:

Emily Moli, Knowledge Communications Analyst, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. Email; emily.moli@undp.org  or mob: +(679) 722 5301

Setaita Tavanabola, Communications and knowledge Associate, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. Email: Setaita.tavanabola@undp.org or tel: +(679) 3227 523

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