PALIKIR, Pohnpei—The President’s National Advisory Council for Children (PNACC), which was re-established on June 17th, 2021, has recently met, and appointed its officers. The Acting Secretary of the Department of Education, Mr. Arthur Albert, has been appointed as the Chair of the PNACC; Mr. Robert Nakasone Jr. of the Department of Justice has been appointed as the Vice Chair. The Department of Health & Social Affairs (DHSA) serves as the PNACC’s Secretariat.
The PNACC’s objective is to develop an integrated and comprehensive FSM Child Rights and Protection Policy (CRPP), that will include prevention, response, and services, as well as bridges to all the relevant obligations within the FSM and State Constitutions as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC). The PNACC will also develop an implementation plan to include: legal and policy framework, preventative and responsive services, human and financial resources management, mechanisms for effective collaboration and coordination, and information management and accountability at all levels of Government.
Members of the PNACC who were also present for the appointment of the Chair and Vice Chair included Mr. Brendy Carl, Assistant Secretary at the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Iven Yaropiy, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs; Mrs. Lucille Apis-Overhoff, Assistant Secretary for the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management; Mr. Stuard Penias, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Department of Health and Social Affairs; Mrs. Lomalida Jibemai, Statistics Specialist IV at the Department of Resources and Development; Mr. Augustine Bungmai, Monitoring & Evaluator at the Department of Education; Mr. Dionisio Saimon, Maternal and Child Health Program Manager at the Department of Health & Social Affairs; and Mr. George Isom, Country Focal Officer for Human Rights at the Department of Health & Social Affairs. It is the intent of the Government for additional members of the PNACC to include representatives from the Office of National Archives, Culture & Historic Preservation; development partners; faith-based organizations; non-government organizations; and representatives as recommended by the Governors of the FSM States of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.
The PNACC originally came into existence in the early 2000’s as a response to the FSM’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the CRC on May 5th, 1993. The FSM later ratified the CRC optional protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography on April 23rd, 2012. The FSM further ratified the optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict on October 26th, 2015.
The CRC convention was the first Human Rights Convention that the FSM ratified after it became a member country of the United Nations on September 17th, 1991. The CRC also outlines the FSM’s responsibilities in protecting children from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The CRC recognizes that the primary responsibility for the care and protection of children falls upon a child’s parents, though it also emphasizes the role of governments to keep children safe and to assist parents with their child-rearing responsibilities.