FSM Congress Highlights Education and other National Concerns at 140th IPU Assembly

Doha, Qatar. April 09, 2019 — A delegation from the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia joined over 800 Members of Parliaments from 160 National Parliaments from around the world and over two dozen regional parliamentary organizations to discuss parliamentary actions needed to address issues of education, peace, security, human rights, climate change, and other issues of national interests that are in line with the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This came during the 140th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Doha, Qatar from April 6-10, 2019.

Senator Joseph J. Urusemal, Chairman of the FSM Congress Standing Committee on Education, addressed the world’s parliamentarians during the Assembly’s General Debate on the theme: “Parliaments as a platform to enhance education for peace, security and the rule of law.”

In his statement, the Senator highlighted several congressional initiatives aimed at addressing the nation’s issue of “unacceptably low” competency levels for primary students. These initiatives included continued congressional support and oversight in nationwide training initiatives for educators at the outset and throughout their careers.

“We hope that these initiatives will provide the basis upon which to build a vibrant democratic culture that will make our students truly appreciate the gifts of peace and the Rule of Law”.  Further stressing that “[w]ithin our Congress, there is consensus that education is truly the bedrock of development and civic culture,” highlighting other congressional initiatives including an increase in annual appropriations for national scholarships which is now more than doubled compared to four years ago.

The general debate resulted in the 140th IPU Assembly endorsing the Doha Declaration which states that “[a]s Parliamentarians, we are committed to supporting mechanisms and financing measures that work towards promoting education as a platform for enhancing peace, security and the rule of law, in line with the SDGs, and in particular SDG 4.” 

In addition to participating in the general debate, the FSM Congressional Delegation, which was led by Speaker Wesley Simina, and included Senator Joseph J. Urusemal, Senator Tiwiter Aritos, Legislative Counsel T. Lam Dang, and Information Officer Andy Choor, also actively took part in other side events and meetings.

One of such meetings was the geopolitical group meeting of the Asia Pacific Group (APG).

Speaker Simina also participated in a high level dialogue for Speakers of national parliaments on “Low trust in democracy: A urgent call to rethink our governance model”. This was a meeting of an invited group of heads of parliament to address the perceived problem of the decline in trust in democratic institutions worldwide. Speakers and heads of parliaments took turn describing measures taken in their respective countries, such as more voter education and outreach. They agreed, however, that there was a crisis in confidence not in democracy, but in the institutions of democracy, and expressed the wish for collective action within the IPU to deal with the crisis, including more inter-parliamentary cooperation.

The delegation also engaged in other parliamentary networking and relationship building initiatives including meeting with the Speaker of Qatar, the Speaker of Vietnam, the Speaker of the Marshall Islands, and notable parliamentarians from China and various Pacific Island countries.

The FSM delegation also took part in the discussions and voting of the various resolutions and reports adopted during the 140th IPU Assembly, including the emergency resolution calling “for urgent international action to support Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe hit by Cyclone Idai” which was adopted by consensus. This emergency resolution compliments an earlier emergency resolution unanimously adopted by the 139th IPU Assembly in Geneva last year titled Climate Change - Let us not cross the line, which was spearheaded by the FSM Congress and other national parliaments from Small Islands Developing States (SIDS).

For a complete listing of the outcome documents, including the resolutions and reports addressed during the 140th IPU Assembly, please visit: https://www.ipu.org/event/140th-assembly-and-related-meetings/5823-outcomes

For more information on this and other activities of the FSM Congress, please visit www.cfsm.fm.