MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 12/09/13 5:00PM

1. FIJI TO PARTICIPATE AT 6TH ASIAN AND PACIFIC POPULATION CONFERENCE IN BANGKOK – Fiji will be participating at the ?Sixth Asian and Pacific Population Conference (APPC)? scheduled to take place in Bangkok, Thailand from September 16 to 20, 2013.

2. NEW TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES – New opportunities created by the Fijian Government will empower people with disabilities to venture into employment and independent livelihoods.

3. FIJI CHAIRS FIRST CLIMATE CONFERENCE – Fiji?s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Luke Daunivalu says Fiji?s strong and stable leadership ?is being recognised internationally and this is evident as it continues to receive nominations to chair international forums.

4. NAVATUVULA VILLAGERS GET ACCESS TO CLEAN DRINKING WATER – Improving the living standards of ?rural communities through accessibility to safe and clean drinking water is one of the key priorities of the Fijian Government.

5. MSAF UPGRADES LIGHTHOUSE AT NORTH OVALAU – The Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) has recently re-constructed the marine navigational lighthouse located on the reef north of Ovalau Island.

6. MINISTRY OPENS INFORMATION BOOTH FOR WOMEN MARKET VENDORS – A new initiative has been created to empower the rural women market vendors in Suva through which the market vendors will able to easily access information on government?s women and social welfare programs.

1. FIJI TO PARTICIPATE AT 6TH ASIAN AND PACIFIC POPULATION CONFERENCE IN BANGKOK

Fiji will be participating at the ?Sixth Asian and Pacific Population Conference (APPC)? scheduled to take place in Bangkok, Thailand from September 16 to 20, 2013.

Minister for Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni will be heading the Fiji delegation to the conference which is convened by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific, in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The Conference will review the progress made in the past 10 years in the Asia-Pacific region in implementing the Programme Action Plan of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

It will look at key thematic priorities related to population and development for possible consideration in the development agenda beyond 2015.

While explaining about Fiji?s representation, Dr Luveni said that women?s issues and poverty would be at the top of the Fiji?s agenda at this global conference.

?Fiji will be making a presentation on the population issues affecting the country and the Conference will provide a platform for Fiji to consider forward-looking policies and programs to address challenges in population and development,? Dr Luveni said.

?We will also look at issues affecting women and younger generations. Particularly at issues on reproductive health, impact of climate change on population, addressing ageing population and feminisation of ageing, its impact on population.

Dr Luveni said the conference would enable Fiji to reflect on the progress made and address challenges related to population and development.

? The achievements will also reflect on Fiji?s progress towards Millennium Development Goals and assist the government to come up with enhanced strategies in addressing issues related to Fiji?s population,? Dr Luveni said.

?I would like to see my Ministry engage more women and youths in awareness programs relative to population and development.?

She added that the Ministry of Social Welfare is already consulting with the Ministry of Youth and Ministry of Health to streamline services and facilitate more awareness and empowerment programs on issues that affect women and youths.

?In particular addressing issues of HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancies,? Dr Luveni added.

The UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994 was a turning point in the way countries addressed population issues. It firmly placed the needs and rights of the individual at the heart of development policies and programmes where all people, women and men, young and old have equal opportunities and freedom to make choices.

The Programme of Action <https://www.unfpa.org/public/global/publications/pid/1973> ?adopted by the ICPD established a firm link between population, development and human rights, health and gender equality.

-ENDS-

2. NEW TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

New opportunities created by the Fijian Government will empower people with disabilities to venture into employment and independent livelihoods.

Government has created two new training opportunities to empower disabled person?s to venture into employment and independent livelihoods as part of its vision of equality and inclusivity for person?s with disabilities.

This vision on equality and inclusiveness has seen 11 students from special schools around Fiji awarded the Special Schools Scholarship (SSS) through a partnership between the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP), the Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Social Welfare.

FNCDP executive director Dr Sitiveni Yanuyanutawa said the 11 students are living with hearing impairments and are undergoing training in professional carpentry and joinery facilitated by Fiji National University and (TPAF) Training and Productivity Authority of Fiji.

?The trainees have been selected from the Suva Special School, Gospel School of the Deaf and Hilton Special School and most of them are identified by Fiji Association of the Deaf. Upon completion of the three to six ?month training, all trainees will be channeled into formal sector employment and some of them will be assisted in setting up their own businesses,? Dr Yanuyanutawa said.

Dr Yanuyanutawa has also confirmed that five disabled women would be undergoing a three month training in garment construction ?at the Inclusive Sewing Centre in Suva.

?Since it?s opening in March last year, the Sewing Centre has already provided a series of four trainings and the women have graduated with Certificate of Attainment in Garment Construction. The next training will be held from October to December this year and a total of 25 women, 10 social welfare recipients, 10 from women?s groups and five women with disabilities have been identified for the three month training,? he said.

Dr Yanuyanutawa said the objective of these trainings were to empower women to change from a hand out mentality to a becoming self-reliant.

?Since the commencement of this project in 2012, we have already trained 50 women, including women with disabilities, who have been absorbed into garment factories while some of them have preferred to start their own income generating projects,? Dr Yanuyanutawa added.

In July this year, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between the FNCDP and Ministry of Social Welfare to strengthen the partnership with a funding of $21,000 from the Ministry to support the training at Fiji?s Sewing Centre.

-ENDS-

3. FIJI CHAIRS FIRST CLIMATE CONFERENCE

Fiji?s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Luke Daunivalu says Fiji?s strong and stable leadership ?is being recognised internationally and this is evident as it continues to receive nominations to chair international forums.

Speaking at the ?UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is currently underway at the Sheraton Fiji Resort and Spa in Nadi, Daunivalu says Fiji ?continues to champion issues affecting Pacific Small Island States.

Daunivalu is in the country as part of a weeklong UNFCCC meeting to discuss the impact of climate change in developing countries.

The meeting was opened by the ?Minister for Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke ?Kubuabola and is attended by 65 delegates from regional and international organizations.

During the 18th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was held in Doha, Qatar the ?UNFCCC ?was tasked to organize and come up with possible approaches to address issues such as sea level rise, ocean acidification and rising sea surface water, all which have wide ranging impacts on communities.

Ratu Inoke said in light of sea level rise, ?entire villages in parts of Fiji have had ?to be relocated, with significant social, economic and environmental impacts on the people.

“These events threaten the life of the ecosystems which will have ?severe implications on Fiji?s economic development in terms of ?the country?s dependence on fisheries, forestry and agriculture,? he said.

The Fijian government is ?working closely with its regional and international partners ?and has been at the forefront of taking concrete climate change actions such as the launching of the country?s first Climate Change Policy.

While striving to guide the countries efforts to promote the development of renewable energy resources, it encourages Fijians to be more resilient towards the impact of Fiji?s communities.

?We are now in the final stages of adopting a relocation guideline that will accompany the Policy and help Government manage the imminent challenge of climate-induced migration within Fiji?s borders,? the Minister added.

-ENDS-

4. NAVATUVULA VILLAGERS GET ACCESS TO CLEAN DRINKING WATER

Improving the living standards of ?rural communities through accessibility to safe and clean drinking water is one of the key priorities of the Fijian Government.

This was highlighted today by the Ministry for Works, Transport and Public Utilities permanent secretary, ?Mr Francis Kean at the commissioning of the second ecological water purification system (EPS) at Navatuvula village in Sawani, Naitasiri.

The first EPS was commissioned at Kalokolevu village in Lami about two months ago.

Mr Kean said his ministry?s aim is to install purification systems into rural water supply systems to ensure the removal of contaminants before water is consumed.

?The incorporation of the EPS into rural water projects will take place after further monitoring of the results of the pilot projects by the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF),? Mr Kean added.

The successful implementation of the EPS in Navatuvula village is the result of a partnership between the Ministry of Works, Transport and Public Utilities, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for technical assistance, Department of Water and Sewerage as well as WAF.

WAF is also in the process of developing and implementing a similar pilot project at Delasui in Tailevu.

Twenty EPS systems have been installed in Navatuvula village, which is being used by about 300 villagers.

Navatuvula villager, 60 year old Mrs Viniana Kubu, who has been living in the area for more than 30 years, has welcomed the assistance by Government and other stakeholders.

?Before we had to boil drinking water every day and when it rained heavily, the water supply from the dam got contaminated,? Mrs Kubu said.

?We are very grateful and thankful for the help provided as now we have access to clean and safe water. Clean drinking water is very important for us because this contributes to ensuring a healthy life,? she added.

-ENDS-

5. MSAF UPGRADES LIGHTHOUSE AT NORTH OVALAU

The Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) has recently re-constructed the marine navigational lighthouse located on the reef north of Ovalau Island.

MSAF chief executive officer, Mr Neale Slack said the lighthouse, commonly known by mariners as North Ovalau is now installed with the latest self contained solar LED marine lantern at a cost of ?$142,290.00

Mr Slack said ?the lighthouse ?which was built in 1977 is now fully operational and will assist in marine navigation especially for foreign going vessels, which enter Fiji through ?the Vatu-i-ra Passage.

?Currently there are about 64 government-owned light structures and about 1200 beacons and buoys with a requirement for more to be installed as the new shipping routes open up,? Mr Slack said.

Mr Slack added most of the older lighthouses have been converted from oil and gas to solar power which is an extremely efficient means of facilitating power to the lights and has proven to be ?reliable.

?In 2011 to 2012, $3.5million was budgeted for light houses and an additional $2million ?has been set aside for marine aids for navigation within Fiji waters including the Economic Exclusive Zone(EEZ).

?MSAF will continue to work closely with the Government Shipping Services in carrying out repairs and maintenance of navigation systems such as lighthouses, beacons and buoys,? Mr Slack said.

Meanwhile, MSAF will be carrying out a structural inspection and installation of a new solar LED marine lantern at the newly built Wakaya Island Reef lighthouse.

?The Wakaya lighthouse will be fully operational by the end of this month,? Mr Slack said.

In addition, ?six new lighthouses ?will be constructed between the Mali Passage to Malau in Vanua Levu this year.

The new lighthouses will guide vessels towards the Port of Malau.

Mr Slack highlighted that MSAF continues to face challenges in maintaining the operability of these lights due to vandalism.

?The vandalism has resulted in lighthouses sustaining structural damage such as ?the Wakaya light house,the ?Koro light house and the Udu light house,? Mr Slack said.

Mr Slack has once again reminded the public that damaging or interfering with Aids that assist in maritime Navigation is an offence and anyone caught will be dealt with by the law.

-ENDS-

6. MINISTRY OPENS INFORMATION BOOTH FOR WOMEN MARKET VENDORS

?

A new initiative has been created to empower the rural women market vendors in Suva through which the market vendors will able to easily access information on government?s women and social welfare programs.

 

This is following the opening of a night shelter in August this year by the Minister Women Dr Jiko Luveni, the Ministry has opened an information booth inside the accommodation facility located in the premises of the Suva Municipal Market.

 

Starting this week, the information booth is opened from 9am to 4pm from Monday to Friday, there are women officers and social welfare officers providing information and attending to queries related to Ministry?s services.

 

The Permanent Secretary for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Josefa Koroivueta said the objective of information booth is to assist the women market vendors to acquire knowledge on the different services of the Ministry.

 

?It is a platform for the women market vendors to network with Ministry staff and it?s an opportunity for them to access information on programs designed to help them with informed decision making. It is a means of informing the public about the role and vision of the Ministry.

 

?The information booth also provides information on social welfare programs namely Social Pension Scheme, Bus Fare Concession, Poverty Benefit Scheme and public are also invited to visit the booth to get more information on any of these programs,? Dr Koroivueta said.

 

One of the regular women market vendors from Tailevu, 45 year old Asinate Bale said the information booth is very helpful for rural women who travel long distances to go back home more informed on the programs that can improve their lives.

 

?The booth is near to our stalls so it?s easy for us to visit anytime, and we are delighted to learn about Women?s Plan of Action, different income generating projects provided by the Ministry, the women?s bill of rights called Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Now we can relate well to these programs and we were also informed on services we can access to report cases of violence, learning about Domestic Violence Decree and the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Campaign really appeals to us rural women.

 

?The discussions with the women officers help us to express our thoughts and seek clarity on issues that affect us. The officers are very friendly and they disseminate information in our language which is easy to understand and we are also provided with information booklets and brochures on women?s programs,? Mrs Bale explained.

 

-ENDS-