MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 29/10/13 4:30PM

1.?G77 CHAIR CALLS FOR GLOBAL ATTENTION TO SUSTAINABLE URBAN DEVELOPMENT -?Speaking at the United Nations today in Fiji’s capacity as 2013 Chair of the Group of 77 and China, Fijian Ambassador Peter Thomson said that sustainable urban development has become “one of the most pressing global challenges of the 21st Century”.

2.?WAILA CITY PROJECT UPDATE -?Progress at the Waila City project continues although slower than earlier anticipated.

3.?MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT AND MSAF ANNOUNCE MARITIME REGULATION ENDORSEMENT?-?The Ministry of Transport and the Marine Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) has today announced the new marine registration, coastal trading and survey fees regulations.

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1.G77 CHAIR CALLS FOR GLOBAL ATTENTION TO SUSTAINABLE URBAN DEVELOPMENT

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Speaking at the United Nations today in Fiji’s capacity as 2013 Chair of the Group of 77 and China, Fijian Ambassador Peter Thomson said that sustainable urban development has become “one of the most pressing global challenges of the 21st Century”.? He called for sustainable cities to be given all due attention in the formulation of the Post-2015 development agenda.

 

Ambassador Thomson told the UN General Assembly’s Second Committee that “a demographic revolution is moving hunger and poverty problems in developing countries from rural to urban areas”.? He pointed out that with about 50% of the global population already living in cities, the process of urbanisation remains rapid, especially in Africa and Asia.

 

Ambassador Thomson said that at the Rio+20 Conference of 2012, world leaders had recognised the importance of sustainable cities and sustainable urbanisation.? The Group of 77 holds the view that for such sustainability to be achieved, a holistic approach is required, with attention on affordable housing, social services, infrastructure, slum-upgrading and urban regeneration.

 

He expressed the Group’s deep concern on the continuing increase in the number of urban slum dwellers in the world.? He said the Group’s concern extends to the negative impact of environmental degradation in human settlement and the increasing vulnerability of urban settlers to natural and human-made disasters.

 

Ambassador Thomson called for continued financial support for UN Habitat.? He said the Group urges the UN System organisations to support the Habitat preparations at the country level, including establishment or strengthening of national habitat committees, in the worldwide preparations for the Habitat III conference to be held in Ecuador in 2016.

 

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2. WAILA CITY PROJECT UPDATE

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Progress at the Waila City project continues although slower than earlier anticipated. The Authority had advertised for an expression of interest from reputable engineering firms to provide a performance specification analysis of the Master Plan and Design & Build document for the Waila City project.

 

Housing Authority acting chief executive officer, Isikeli Navuda says, ?The analysis will provide the Authority with a guideline of how workable these relevant documents are and will ensure that all different aspects of the project are taken into account before work recommences.?

 

The incorporation of the performance specification analysis into these documents will strengthen the position of Housing Authority as the principal and Top Symphony as the contractor. It will also eliminate any ambiguities where both parties know from the outset what is required and what will be delivered in terms of the product and the cost at which it will be produced.

 

At the signing of the master Agreement in May of 2012 the Authority had announced the delivery of the first batch of lots this year but due to the complexity of the project and the lack of infrastructure in place such as the main access road and sewerage reticulation, the team had to review its timelines and delivery dates.

 

Clearing works for the major road that would connect the Princess road and the Kings road via our Waila 3B subdivision have been completed and they have identified areas which needs extensive treatment due to the nature of the soil texture.

 

Navuda added, that ?identifying these issues early in the project is good as it will allow both parties (Housing Authority and Top Symphony) to prepare and develop strategies to effectively address them from the outset?

 

The Authority had closed tender on Friday 11th?of October and a number of reputable engineering firms have shown their interest and have offered their assistance in the preparation of the performance specification analysis. An evaluation committee was set up and they have reviewed all bids received.

 

Earlier last week, these companies had made presentations and the recommendation of the Evaluation Committee is currently with our Board of Directors and a decision will be made at their meeting on Tuesday 29th?October, 2013.

 

The development at its completion will be home to approximately 5,000 families and will be complemented with a complete central business district serviced with commercial, industrial, recreational, health, educational and religious facilities.

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3. MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT AND MSAF ANNOUNCE MARITIME REGULATION ENDORSEMENT

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The Ministry of Transport and the Marine Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) has today announced the new marine registration, coastal trading and survey fees regulations.

 

This announcement follows Cabinet?s recent decision to endorse the marine regulations.

 

The Ministry of Transport permanent secretary Mr Francis Kean said that the endorsement will see a huge reduction of up-to 60 to 80 percent in fees for the boat operators.

 

?The whole purpose of the reduction of the fees is to attract and entice all the ship owners, whether you own a fibre glass boat or a large merchant vessel trading on a coastal trading licence to register their ships,? said Kean.

 

The Chief Executive Officer of MSAF Mr Neale Slack said that the regulations will encourage and enable the ship and boat operators to comply with the reduction in fees come the commencement date of March 5th?2013.

 

Any vessel less than 100 gross tonnage, survey fees for vessels less than 10 tonnes and the costing-trade license for vessels less than 10 meters in length should be surveyed and registered.

 

?The endorsement of the regulations shows that seriousness of the safety and security of our marine environment, people and cargo?s that travel on our waters is encouraged by the government and MSAF,? said Slack.

 

The awareness training campaigns taken up the MSAF officials have received positive feedback with small boat operators showing keen interest to sign up for class 6 licences.

 

?We train up the boat operators to ensure that they are capable of using that boat out at sea, carry the relevant safety equipment on board those ships and when we survey the vessels we should ensure that those boats meet the specifications to be able to go out at sea,? said Kean.

 

The new decrees coming into effect next year will see all craft motorised or non-motorised surveyed and registered as per the regulation.

 

-ENDS-