Guam – Governor Felix Camacho today [Thursday] joined leaders from the U.S. Affiliated Territories and Freely Associated States representing the Micronesian Chief Executive Summit (MCES) during a historic meeting of the Federal Regional Council (FRC). Governor Camacho joined MCES Chairman and CNMI Governor Benigno Fitial, American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono, and foreign affairs officials from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau at the gathering.
“The FRC is an important and influential group,” said Governor Camacho. “We as leaders have gone to Washington D.C. and have wondered, why go to a place where we are not understood? Here you understand us and you must stand as our advocates for change.”
While speaking to more than 100 attendees, including representatives of 19 executive branch agencies and staff who manage over 30 programs in the Pacific, Governor Camacho recalled his first encounter with the FRC in 2007.
“I recall speaking about the implementation of federal programs in our area, how we need their attention, and how they must recognize Guahan’s shortfalls in meeting federal standards,” said Governor Camacho.
U.S. Health and Human Services Region IX Director Herb Schultz chaired this years meeting which featured the convening of an Action Planning Session. The meeting further identified key issues of both the FRC and the MCES and encouraged the development of next steps that both organizations would work on in 2011-2012. The session resulted in a Joint Resolution signed by FRC Chair Schultz and MCES Chairman Fitial that pledged the resources and commitment to the following focus areas:
* Grants management and transparency of information
* Climate change/Renewable Energy
* Sustainable Communities
* Workforce Development and training
* Improve Health/Education
* Improve Communication and Infrastructure
“The FRC and the MCES have forged a new relationship,” remarked Governor Camacho after the signing of the Joint Resolution. “We will take this back to the leaders of the region later this year and discuss efforts to make this a reality versus a plan that will not gain traction in our respective jurisdictions.”
The Micronesian Chief Executives Summit was founded in 2004 by former-CNMI Governor Juan Babauta and Governor Camacho who called for the establishment of sub-regional meetings to develop closer ties, enhance existing ties, expand future discussions and agree on beneficial initiatives for the benefit of the entire Western Micronesian Region.
The FRC was formally established in 1998 to provide a framework for participating federal agencies to work together to define and solve a broad range of problems facing Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and Guam.