UN opens fifth Joint Presence Office in FSM
POHNPEI, December 1, 2008— Today the 5th Joint Presence of three United Nations agencies (UNFPA, UNDP and UNICEF) has been launched in the Federated Sates of Micronesia, as part of a long term strategy by the UN to strengthen aid coordination, joint programming; and to bring a stronger focus to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Pacific.
“Today another chapter is written in the political history of our nation, another achievement in nation-building that we can all celebrate. Our efforts to make good on our international commitments can only be enhanced by the Joint Presence. It is our hope that we can assume greater ownership of the many UN programmes and activities, and better facilitate and improve service delivery throughout the Federation. This is indeed a formidable challenge given our geographical configuration-remoteness, the sizes, and great distances of our islands – and the dynamics and sensitivities of the political structure of our Federation,” said Hon. Lorin Robert, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The Joint Presence was launched at a gathering attended by high level Government officials, Diplomats, civil society members, UN officials and other invited guests. The JP is a unique partnership of three UN agencies who have come together in agreement to represent each other in seven Pacific Islands Countries by establishing offices. This move comes after Pacific Island Countries made direct appeals to the UN Secretary General for a greater operational presence in their countries.
“UNFPA is honored in taking a leading role on behalf of UNDP and UNICEF in setting up and operationalizing this Joint Presence in the Federated States of Micronesia. I wish to express our sincere thanks to the Government of FSM for providing the office space free of cost to the UN. It is also a pleasure for us to join hands with WHO who already have a presence in FSM, and acknowledge the presence of UNIFEM who have accompanied us on this journey,” said Mr. Najib Assifi, Director Pacific Sub-Regional Office, UNFPA Representative.
The launch follows a period of consultations between the Government of FSM and the United Nations on the new UN programming cycle for 2008 to 2012 – the United Nations Development Assistance Framework which offers a broad strategic framework agreed by 14 countries in the Pacific, including FSM. The new office in FSM will be headed by the Country Development Manger, Mr. Okean Ehmes, who will be based in Kolonia, Pohnpei.
“The launch of the Joint Presence here today is a milestone in UN reform in the Pacific. It is a practical approach to accomplishing better things, born out of the idealism of what the United Nations represents in the world. We are very excited about this event because of the promise it holds and is now being realised – the promise to be able to increase, leverage resources and support for the achievement of results for and with children, young people and women, those most vulnerable, most in need of support,” said Dr Isiye Ndombi, UNICEF Pacific Representative.
“UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF collectively are the United Nation’s development network. Our primary task is to connect countries with UN’s global knowledge and policy advice capabilities. Of course, this requires a lot of effort, but the “presence” will give us and the country an added advantage of being on the ground, being in constant dialogue with our counterparts, understanding each other better and, therefore, being able to provide much better advice,” said Mr Toily Kurbanov, UNDP Resident Representative a.i..
Today is also the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, and at the launch the Government, together with UN partners - UNFPA, UNICEF and UNDP paid tribute to the leaders in communities and nations who have promoted greater awareness and action to address the AIDS pandemic. A call was placed to join others in intensifying action to achieve universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010, and universal access to reproductive health by 2015 as world leaders have agreed.
For further information please contact :
Mr Okean Ehmes Country Development Manager, Te/Fax: (691) 320-4192
Mobile: 920 -7814 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on Joint Presence & the UNDAF can be found online at www.un.org.fj