DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 29/11/14 3:00PM

MINISTRY HOLDS CONSULTATIONS WITH THE PUBLIC ON LAND ISSUES – Members of the public had the opportunity to raise queries and concerns on land development in the country at a public consultation organised in Suva today.

  1. Fiji?s Permanent Representative speaks at International Organisation for Migration 105th Session – Fiji?s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador Nazhaat Shameem Khan made a statement to the International Organisation for Migration at its 105th Session today.
  2. FIJI AIMS TO STRENGTHEN CHEMICAL SAFETY AND SECURITY IN LINE WITH THE CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION (CWC) ACT – The Ministry of Immigration, National Security and Defence permanent secretary Mr. Osea Cawaru is heading the Fijian delegation to the Annual Meeting of National Authorities to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in The Hague, Netherlands.
  3. Fiji participates at Regional Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Meeting – Fiji participated at the Asia Pacific Ministerial Meeting on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics with UNESCAP in Bangkok, Thailand this week.

?

1 MINISTRY HOLDS CONSULTATIONS WITH THE PUBLIC ON LAND ISSUES

Members of the public had the opportunity to raise queries and concerns on land development in the country at a public consultation organised in Suva today.

Today?s meeting was led by the Hon. Minister Lands and Mineral resources Mrs Mereseini Vuniwaqa who was joined by her permanent secretary Tevita Boseiwaqa and ministry staff.

Issues raised at the meet included State Land, Land Bank, Foreshore and Mining Development.

?We want to solve these issues so that we are able to create a close working group with landowners and the ministry so there is a better service and faster turnaround time,? the Hon Minster said.

?We hope that though this this consultation, the ministry will be able to be more strategic in their systems and processes to improve our service delivery to the public,? she said.

Minister Vuniwaqa stressed her ministry would continue to strive towards ensuring that systems and processes are streamlined to provide efficient and consistent services to Fijians.

The Ministry?s permanent secretary Tevita Boseiwaqa also commended the public for participating at the meeting which was held at Albert Park.

?This is the platform the ministry has identified to meet face to face with members of the public and deal firsthand with land issues,? Mr Boseiwaqa said.

?We need to work together to ensure that all procedures are being followed and at the end of the day customers are satisfied,? he said.

The Ministry recently held similar consultations in other parts of the country.

-ENDS-

2 Fiji?s Permanent Representative speaks at International Organisation for Migration 105th Session

Fiji?s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador Nazhaat Shameem Khan made a statement to the International Organisation for Migration at its 105th Session today.

She spoke on the impact of climate change on migration in Fiji, and told the meeting of the displaced villages in Fiji which had to be re-located to higher ground as a result of rising sea level. Describing the impact of such movement on the people of Fiji she said;

?The relocation has more than financial consequences for our people. Climate change and the loss of villages have also resulted in an emotional dislocation of our people from the land of their ancestors. In Fiji, the connection between land and people is a spiritual and emotional one, which cannot be measured by money alone. Land ownership by the iTaukei, or indigenous people, is considered to be a sacred trust. Land cannot be alienated by sale or transfer according to law. Yet climate change has had the effect of alienating the people of some of our coastal settlements from their land.?

She said that other Pacific Island states had been affected by rising sea levels, and drew the attention of the IOM that Kiribati has recently acquired large tracts of land in Vanua Levu in preparation for the need for arable land, and in a likely sad eventuality, the sad exodus of the people of Kiribati from the land of their birth and their ancestors.

Describing the other migration related challenge in Fiji, namely the migration of skilled labour to developed countries, the Ambassador said that young educated people left Fiji for greener pastures because of the lack of development in Fiji. She said that the only substantive way to retain such labour, was to ensure equality, reward of merit and of performance regardless of ethnicity, gender and religion, and to implement social and economic rights. Such rights included the right to water, housing, a clean environment, good health care and the right to accessible transportation.

The Director-General of the IOM congratulated Fiji on the opening of the Mission in Geneva, on providing regional leadership especially on climate change issues, and on the assistance Fiji has provided Kiribati. He said that he looked forward to closer partnerships with Fiji, with the opening of an IOM Office in 2015, in Suva.

-ENDS-

3 FIJI AIMS TO STRENGTHEN CHEMICAL SAFETY AND SECURITY IN LINE WITH THE CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION (CWC) ACT

The Ministry of Immigration, National Security and Defence permanent secretary Mr. Osea Cawaru is heading the Fijian delegation to the Annual Meeting of National Authorities to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in The Hague, Netherlands.

The weeklong meeting which began this week serves as a platform for National Authority officials to converge, network and share best practices in the implementation of the CWC. ?He is accompanied by the Mrs. Silina Cama, Manager of the Security Forces Division at the Fijian Defence Ministry.

A symposium on the Chemical Safety and Security preceded the annual meeting. This forum covered areas of interest which clearly establishes rights and obligation of States Parties, Chemical industries in covering different aspects of Chemical Safety and Security that may contravene the provisions of United Nations Security Resolutions 1540.

The delegation is capitalising on the opportunity to attend the informative and thematic segments that address effective national implementation of the various articles of the Convention, particularly on the industry outreach.

The permanent secretary added that the Fijian Government is committed to addressing chemical security aspect in Fiji and the review of the current CWC Act as one of the priorities for next year. The latter is in line with the Minister for Immigration, National Security and Defence?s maiden speech in Parliament to review the Defence and Security mechanism of Government.

In supporting the promotion of global peace, the Fijian Government will continue to strive for the effective implementation of the Convention even though there are challenges and they are having bilateral with other countries and organizations especially the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons [OPCW].

Mr. Cawaru will hold bilateral talks this weekend with the technical secretariat of the OPCW on possible assistance available to Fiji for the enhancement of implementation support as it fully observe the aspirations of the Convention.

ENDS

4 Fiji participates at Regional Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Meeting

Fiji participated at the Asia Pacific Ministerial Meeting on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics with UNESCAP in Bangkok, Thailand this week.

The meeting brings together Ministers and Senior Officials from relevant agencies with Fiji?s delegation headed by the Assistant Minister of Health and Medical Services, Hon Mrs Veena Bhatnagar.

With the theme ?Get everyone in the picture?, the objective of the meeting is to agree on priorities for improving civil registration and vital statistics in Asia and the Pacific, and to commit to accelerate and focus the efforts of governments and development partners to achieve universal and responsive CRVS systems in all Asian and Pacific countries by 2024.

Assistant Minister Ms Bhatnagar participated in the Ministerial roundtable on ?CRVS and the post-2015 development agenda?. During the discussions, she challenged that CRVS be reflected as a stand-alone goal in the post-2015 agenda because of its significance.

?To realise the objectives of CRVS, we need a stand-alone goal that supports it. Putting this under a broader goal, such as good governance and effective institutions, can reduce its significance and vitality in contributing to other goals including Millennium Development Goals?.

?The UN has already recognized the importance of this through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and through the Convention of the Rights of the Child, among other international agreements. The UN, therefore, needs to place significant importance on the cost of neglecting CRVS and elevate it to a position that will draw the attention of governance actors at the global, regional, and national levels?, said Hon Bhatnagar. This proposal was supported by Bangladesh, India and other countries.

The Assistant Minister also delivered Fiji?s Ministerial statement where she highlighted the Government?s achievement with CRVS till to date, and some of the challenges. One of the major achievements was the formation of Fiji?s National Steering Group on CRVS, which has put together Fiji?s CRVS improvement plan. The collaboration amongst the key agencies in Fiji, especially the Ministry of Health sharing its data with the Register General?s Office and the Bureau of Statistics Office was also highlighted.

Assistant Minister Mrs Bhatnagar also highlighted that Fiji?s involvement has been backed by a strong political commitment.

?In September 2013 Fiji witnessed a historic event in that our new Constitution was promulgated. It enshrines a number of important rights under the Bill of Rights provision and these include the rights of a child, the right to health, to name a few, which support CRVS?.

?This stemmed from the policy of inclusiveness that our Prime Minister has been pursuing for the last eight years. Our Prime Minister firmly believes that everyone in Fiji must have equal identity and access to all services irrespective of ethnicity, colour, or creed?, said Hon Mrs Bhatnagar.

Other members of the delegation include Pita Tagicakirewa, Counsellor, Fiji High Commission, Malaysia; Shivnay Naidu, Director Health Information Management-Ministry of Health; Leba Drole, Registrar General and Sangeeta Chand, Register of Titles

DEPTFO