MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 03/09/14 10:00AM

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1.??????ISO CERTIFICATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN SERVICE DELIVERY: A FIRST FOR FIJIAN GOVERNMENT?-?The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations Employment achieved a historical milestone as two of its core services, theNational Occupational Health and Safety Service (NOHSS) and the Mediation Service received the ISO 9001:2008 Certificates. ?

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2.??????LATEST EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING OF UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS OPENS IN NEW YORK?-?Fiji?s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Peter Thomson, opened the latest session of the Executive Board of three UN development agencies: the UN Development Programme (UNDP); the UN Population Fund and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) at New York today.

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3.??????WATER SHIPPED TO LAU IN RESPONSE TO DRY SPELL?- More than 50,000 litres of fresh water and 25 water tanks will be shipped to Lau this week in response to the dry spell experienced in these parts.

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4.??????BE READY FOR PRE-POLLING: PS EDUCATION?- The Ministry of Education Acting permanent secretary Mrs Basundra Kumar has instructed school heads to be prepared for the pre polling process, which begins today.

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1?ISO CERTIFICATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN SERVICE DELIVERY: A FIRST FOR FIJIAN GOVERNMENT

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The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations Employment achieved a historical milestone as two of its core services, the National Occupational Health andSafety Service (NOHSS) and the Mediation Service received the ISO 9001:2008Certificates. ?

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The two services had acquired the ISO 9001:2008 Certification during the month of July after a successful final audit conducted by Auditors from the world renowned United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) certifying body. This now meansthat the two services provided by the Ministry are internationally recognised.

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The Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Mr Jone Usamate said the Certification is part of the Ministry?s 2014 Operational Reform focused at enhancing customer service delivery through reformed systems and processes and ultimately achieving ?Excellence in Operations?.

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He highlighted that the ISO 9001:2008 QMS standard will boost the existing service excellence initiative in which the Ministry can deliver efficient, effective and economical services to the people of Fiji.

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?The ISO 9001: 2008 Certification means that the NOHSS and Mediation Services have implemented a Quality Management System that will continually monitor and manage quality across its operations,? said Mr Usamate.

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To prepare the Ministry for ISO certification, the Ministry had secured the assistance of two top Asian Productivity Organization (APO) experts in 2012 to conduct an awareness and training on the whole ISO 9001 quality management system. Following this, in 2013, a Lead Auditors training was conducted to train Ministry?s Senior Officials to become internal auditors.

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Ministry?s internal auditors who successfully completed this training conducted comprehensive internal audits for the National OHS Service and the Mediation service to prepare them for certification in 2014.? After correcting the ISO 9001 QMS for these two core businesses through auditing and management meetings, the Ministry secured the services of top auditors from the UKAS certifying body who conducted a very rigorous ISO 9001 certification process in June 2014.?

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The Ministry followed four stages to implement and sustain its ISO 9001 QMS throughout all its eleven (11) core businesses. The four stages included getting started with ISO 9001, implementing an ISO 9001 system, certification to ISO 9001 and maintaining ISO 9001 system.??

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?We opted for the toughest certifying body to undertake its certification in order to acquire the best recognised certification for quality international benchmarking and credibility.? This is also to ensure that the revolutionary Labour Reforms undertaken by the Ministry are compatibly matched with the best QMS standard of delivery in the world so that the social justice benefits of the reforms are actually realized by employers, workers, the general public and the Government,? Mr Usamate said.

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As the world?s most widely recognized quality management standard, the ISO outlines ways to achieve, as well as benchmark, consistent performance and service.? It allows the Ministry to put in place processes to improve the way it operates at all levels.?

Mr Usamate said the ISO 9001:2008 system uses management?tools that increases productivity and reduces the wastage of resources.? This will lead to the speedy processing and resolution of customer requests and complaints.

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?The implementation of QMS enabled officers to better understand customer expectations and incorporate this in a robust and easy to follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).? The internal work processes for Mediation and National OHS Service have been improved with consistency in service delivery through all its offices located around Fiji,? the Minister highlighted.?

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The Certification has improved?employee motivation, awareness, and morale by taking ownership of the system and process and also improved accountability of management and their commitment to the people.

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The Minister said that the process will not stop here, but ongoing monitoring and assessment will be conducted to ensure that the processes continue to comply with the required standard, and more importantly, to ensure that continual improvement is achieved.

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He said customer feedback systems have been implemented by the Ministry to gauge customer satisfaction and take measures for improvements where problems are identified.

The remaining 9 core businesses of the Ministry have also achieved ISO 9001:2008 conformance in June 2014 through internal audits and are targeted to complete the certifications in 2015.

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2?LATEST EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING OF UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS OPENS IN NEW YORK

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Fiji?s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Peter Thomson, opened the latest session of the Executive Board of three UN development agencies: the UN Development Programme (UNDP); the UN Population Fund and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) at New York today.

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In his opening remarks, Ambassador Thomson who is also the Executive Board President asked the Board to remember the thousands of UN personnel around the world, including the Fijian peacekeepers who are being held hostage in Golan.

Ambassador Thomson said that the Board carries a heavy burden of responsibility in its oversight of UNDP, UNOPS and UNFPA’s work to tackle global development challenges: “We are addressing the development issues of the one billion people in the world who live in poverty and overseeing United Nations expenditure of over seven billion dollars per annum.”

Ambassador Thomson welcomed the new Executive Director of UNOPS Grete Faremo of Norway to her first Executive Board Meeting. UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and UNFPA Executive Director Dr Babatunde Osotimehin will address the board later in the week.

The Executive Board meeting comes at an important time for UNFPA, as it prepares to mark the 20th anniversary of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Global leaders are scheduled to meet at an upcoming special session of the General Assembly on ICPD to reaffirm their commitment to the Cairo principles that development is about people, human well-being, dignity and human rights. The meeting welcomed the recent reappointment of Dr Osotimehin for a second term as UNFPA Executive Director.

For UNDP, among other issues the session of the Executive Board will consider are the funding of UNDP related to implementation of the new Strategic Plan, approval of Country Programme Documents for a number of countries, UNDP?s on-going structural review and a report from the Board?s field visits to Fiji and Samoa, and Panama and El Salvador.

The Executive Board is comprised of 36 Member States elected by the UN?s five regional groups. It meets three times a year, in January, June and September, to review and monitor the work of the three UN organizations.

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All decisions are published on the Executive Board website at?www.undp.org/execbrd.

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3?WATER SHIPPED TO LAU IN RESPONSE TO DRY SPELL

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More than 50,000 litres of fresh water and 25 water tanks will be shipped to Lau this week in response to the dry spell experienced in these parts.

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The Ministry of Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management permanent secretary Mr Filipe Alifereti said that communities living in the Lau group have been advised to use water sparingly during this period.

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?We have received confirmation that water sources in some islands in the Lau group are drying up.?

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?Therefore, the shipment today will cover 7 islands in the Lau group,? Mr Alifereti added.

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Government?s Assistant District Officer in Lau, Rusiate Babitu echoed the Permanent Secretary in urging for the proper management of water.

?We strongly ask the people of Lau to conserve water and use it only when necessary. The people need to use water wisely for the next few months?.

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Village leaders and district government officials in Lau are also urged to report further water shortages to the Commissioner Eastern Office as soon as possible.

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Government is spending $115,000 on this water provision exercise for Lau.

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Also in the Eastern Division, the Permanent Secretary has confirmed that water will also be shipped to Kadavu in the coming days.

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4?BE READY FOR PRE-POLLING: PS EDUCATION

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The Ministry of Education Acting permanent secretary Mrs Basundra Kumar has instructed school heads to be prepared for the pre polling process, which begins today.

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?Schools identified as pre-polling venues will remain open and one classroom should be allocated to facilitate this exercise. The students can be accommodated in composite classes if there are no spare rooms in the school,? remarked the Acting Permanent Secretary.

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?School heads should conduct school assemblies to announce to the students and teachers the arrangements made to accommodate this pre-polling exercise. It is a significant event for the nation and I am urging the school heads, teachers and students to cooperate with the officials from the Elections Office,? commented Mrs Kumar.

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The Acting Permanent Secretary hopes that all schools involved in this process will take heed of the necessity to assist in the smooth running of pre-polling to ensure that this historical effort runs smoothly.

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