DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 11/12/14 5:00PM

 

  1. MINISTRY OF EMPLOYMENT SIGNS INTER-AGENCY UNDERSTANDING WITH NEW ZEALAND MINISTRY OF BUSINESS ON THE RECOGNISED SEASONAL EMPLOYER WORK SCHEME – Fiji?s Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations today formalised Fiji?s participation in the New Zealand?s (NZ) Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Work Scheme through signing an Inter-Agency Understanding (IAU) with the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Industrial Relations at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva.
  2. HEALTH AUTHORITIES ISSUE ADVISORY FOR SUVA RESIDENTS? – The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is urging those living along Cunningham area to consider the health implications of using rivers and streams nearby.
  3. Youths graduate from Nasau Training Centre ? Thirty youths graduated today from the Ministry of Youth and Sports? Nasau Training Centre in Sigatoka.
  4. SOUTH- SOUTH COOPERATION AND PSC LAUNCH FIRST REGIONAL TRAINING COURSE – The South- South Cooperation Project and the Public Service Commission this month marked a milestone of the SSC Project with the official opening of the Cable Jointers Training Course in Lautoka.
  5. PIDF MEETS EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK – The Pacific Islands Development Forum met today with the European Investment Bank at the PIDF Secretariat in Nasese Suva.
  6. FIJI AND INDONESIA EXPLORE NEW LEVELS OF PARTNERSHIP – Fiji and Indonesia?s strengthened bilateral ties will increase development opportunities in areas of women empowerment and poverty alleviation. This was discussed during an official meeting held between the Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and the Indonesian Embassy in Fiji.
  7. YAUVOLI CHAIRS FIRST-EVER SESSION ON INDUSTRIALISED NATIONS’ EMISSIONS REPORT CARD – Lima, Peru, December 9, 2014 ? For the first time in the twenty-year history of the United Nations climate change Convention, industrialised countries presented reports on their efforts to mitigate or reduce dangerous greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.

 

1 MINISTRY OF EMPLOYMENT SIGNS INTER-AGENCY UNDERSTANDING WITH NEW ZEALAND MINISTRY OF BUSINESS ON THE RECOGNISED SEASONAL EMPLOYER WORK SCHEME

Fiji?s Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations today formalised Fiji?s participation in the New Zealand?s (NZ) Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Work Scheme through signing an Inter-Agency Understanding (IAU) with the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Industrial Relations at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva.

The purpose of the IAU is to set out arrangements to facilitate Fiji?s access to send nationals for seasonal work in the horticulture and viticulture industries under the New Zealand?s RSE Immigration Instructions.

Under the IAU arrangements, workers will enjoy full protection of New Zealand?s employment and workplace legislation, and in particular legislations concerning safe conditions of work, workplace accident compensation, minimum wage rate, and will be eligible to join Trade Unions in accordance with the NZ labour laws.

Workers will be paid a rate of NZ$14.50/hour, which is equivalent to approximately Fijian $22 and be employed for a period of up to 7 months before they return to Fiji.? They can be re-engaged by employers for the following seasons depending on their work performance.

The Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations permanent secretary Mr Taito Waqa stated that the RSEs will recruit workers from the National Employment Centre (NEC) ?work ready pool? of Fiji citizens.

?The work ready pool will comprise potential RSE workers that have been through the NEC mandatory processes. However, to secure a place in the work ready pool, registered clients will have to undergo a screening process conducted by the NEC.

With the first 30 workers to be employed by February next year, Mr Waqa confirmed that a National Barrel Selection will be conducted by the Ministry to select these workers.? This is to ensure that a transparent process is followed for the selection of the clients.

Mr Waqa said that the Ministry will advertise the full Generic and Specific Criteria before the Barrel Selection is conducted.

He mentioned that the selected clients will be fully assisted by the NEC Team with their documentations which includes assistance in the filling of forms for visa applications. Furthermore, with the assistance from the NZ High Commission and NZ Immigration in Suva, a comprehensive pre-departure orientation will be conducted for all RSE workers before they depart for New Zealand.

Fiji?s participation in the RSE Scheme under the IAU will be effective for an initial period of two years and following this will be reviewed on a bi-annual basis.

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2 HEALTH AUTHORITIES ISSUE ADVISORY FOR SUVA RESIDENTS

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is urging those living along Cunningham area to consider the health implications of using rivers and streams nearby.

This advisory follows the recent collapse of a sewer line affecting parts of Cunningham and nearby areas.

Health Minister Hon. Jone Usamate said his staff are closely monitoring the area and advising families to avoid contact with the river water.

?People should not go into the river for any form of activity such as fishing, swimming or collecting water as it is a health risk. Our staff are on the ground at the riverbank to monitor any form of water-borne diseases and monitoring families of any skin disease,? Mr Usamate said.

The Minister added that the riverbank has been polluted for a long time and the public should work towards safeguarding their environment.

?People are advised not to collect or consumer marine food from rivers or streams nearby. We are working with the Water Authority of Fiji and other relevant departments to prevent any disease outbreak.?

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3 Youths graduate from Nasau Training Centre

Thirty youths graduated today from the Ministry of Youth and Sports? Nasau Training Centre in Sigatoka.

Seventeen youths graduated with Certificates in Agriculture and 13 graduating with a Class III Certificate in Carpentry.

While officiating at the graduation ceremony, Ministry of Youth and Sports permanent secretary Josefa Sania told graduates to use the skills learnt at Nasau.

?These skills are life-skills, the skills learnt is intended to build your capacity as an individual to help you earn your livelihood and ultimately become the person that will contribute in the economic development of the country,? he said.

?Nasau has provided you with Basic Agriculture Training and Carpentry likewise.?

?These skills and knowledge I have no doubt will improve your lives and beyond,? he added.

Mr Sania also highlighted to graduates the purpose of training workshops conducted by the ministry.

?The ministry believes these sets of skills and training are what our young people need so they can help to positively and effectively contribute in the transformation of our rural landscape,? Mr Sania said.

?I urge you all as you return to your various rural villages to appreciate our rural resources and maximise on the opportunities available,? he added.

He encouraged the graduating youths to continue with their education as there were plans for more technical institutes to be constructed in the country.

?I also wish to say here that Government will again open three Technical Institutes in Fiji,? Mr Sania stated.

?This I believe is good news for you because you can further acquire higher qualifications in these institutions later.

?As I usually emphasise, ?education is a life-long process? and if you can make it here in Nasau, I believe you can do better as well in the future in another institution.?

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4 SOUTH- SOUTH COOPERATION AND PSC LAUNCH FIRST REGIONAL TRAINING COURSE

The South- South Cooperation Project and the Public Service Commission this month marked a milestone of the SSC Project with the official opening of the Cable Jointers Training Course in Lautoka.

A total of eighteen participants from neighboring Pacific Island countries such as Kiribati, Tuvalu, Nauru and the Solomon Islands under took this course having arrived into the country a few days earlier. The cost of this particular two weeks training course, Cable Jointer Training Course is approximately $100,000 FJD and the Fiji Electricity Authority, at the end of the course, will assess the levels of each participant and award appropriate certificates.

The Project on Strengthening Implementing Capability for South-South Cooperation, known as the South- South Cooperation Project is funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and has initiated this training course as part of a triangular partnership between Fiji, as the host country, and neighboring Pacific nations, Kiribati and Tuvalu. This regional training program, to which JICA has committed approximately $1.3m US dollars, will involve the facilitation of short term training courses for participants, and the programmes have been specially designed to meet the specific needs of the people of Kiribati and Tuvalu.

Officiating as Chief Guest for the opening ceremony was the JICA Resident Representative, Mr Shumon Yoshiara, who encouraged the participants to make full use of the learning opportunity.? ?On behalf of JICA, I wish you all the very best and hope you will make good use of this training opportunity to up-skill yourselves in order to build better human capacities for your nations.?

Mr Yoshiara also acknowledged Fiji Electricity Authority?s contribution to the implementation of the training course as well as the contribution from Pacific Power Association.

The two week long course on Cable Jointing includes both classroom theory and practical assessments covering topics ranging from the basics of cable jointing to safety precautions.? The course was designed for participants to have acquired the necessary techniques and knowledge on cable jointing, carry out various low and high voltage terminations with joints, with minimal supervision and soldering materials to make different joints and terminations, as well as learn the proper safety precautions in cable jointers.

The Public Service permanent secretary Mr Parmesh Chand said that workshops such as these would also build the Public Service Commission?s capacity to facilitate and host such training programmes.

?It is our intention that the Public Service Commission will be able to facilitate short-term training courses sourced from a broad range of Fijian based educational and technical establishments which can offer both theory and practical instruction.? Training courses will be offered over a broad range of areas, wherever Fiji has established educational or technical capacities which align with the training needs of our partner countries.?

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5 PIDF MEETS EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK

The Pacific Islands Development Forum met today with the European Investment Bank at the PIDF Secretariat in Nasese Suva.

Present at the meeting this afternoon was the Head of Banks Regional Office in Sydney Australia Mr Adam Bruun and Bank Business Analyst Ms Katrin Bock.

The meeting discussed areas of mutual interest given the two organisations commitment to support Pacific communities as they transition to low carbon economies.

One of the priorities of the PIDF as agreed to by Pacific Leaders in the Inaugural Summit last year was to seek long term financing support to support Pacific communities on critical sustainable development initiatives.

The EIB has supported development and economic activity in 15 ACP Pacific island states and four overseas territories in the Pacific Region, with loans and equity investment worth over EUR 100 million in the past ten years.

The two organisations agreed to work collaboratively to support Pacific communities pursue climate compatible developments.

Speaking about the meeting the Deputy Secretary General of the PIDF Mr Penijamini Lomaloma said:

?A green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication requires major structural and technological changes in key sectors such as infrastructure, industry, agriculture and transportation. Near-term investments in all these sectors must be financed for long-term sustainable development.

Unfortunately many signals in today’s financial system are not aligned with sustainable development – reflected in prevailing short-termism, insufficient transparency, ill-defined responsibilities and inadequate flows to key countries and sectors.

The result is a continuing mis-allocation of capital to high carbon and resource intensive assets, with potential risks of stranded assets.

The discussion today enabled us to share the priorities of the region as decided by the Pacific in our inaugural summit last year and to explore how we can work collaboratively to help Pacific communities create low-carbon, resource-efficient and equitable societies.?

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6 FIJI AND INDONESIA EXPLORE NEW LEVELS OF PARTNERSHIP

Fiji and Indonesia?s strengthened bilateral ties will increase development opportunities in areas of women empowerment and poverty alleviation. This was discussed during an official meeting held between the Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and the Indonesian Embassy in Fiji.

The meeting was organised today between the Indonesian delegation and Permanent Secretary for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Josefa Koroivueta.

The Director General of Information and Public Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Mrs Esti Andayani said that Indonesia will strengthen its technical and financial assistance to Fiji.

?I am pleased to say that Indonesia will continue with its commitment to deliver its bilateral ties with Fiji. In fact, Indonesia has pledge five years commitment to increase assistance to promote capacity building in Pacific Island Countries.

?We have already started to map the needs of the countries and Fiji in particular will be benefiting from the $20 million (USD) funding allocated as part of Indonesia?s five years pledge towards Pacific nations. We believe that Fiji can be the hub for other pacific countries and a Joint Working Group will soon be activated to increase collaboration between Fiji and Indonesia in areas of women, children empowerment and poverty alleviation,? Mrs Andayani said.

Dr Koroivueta thanked the Indonesian Government for its unprecedented commitment towards the development of Fiji.

?We are grateful to the Indonesian government for providing the necessary training opportunities for women and youths in Fiji. The skills training in production of seaweed byproducts, handicrafts made from locally produced items, flour making using local resources are some of the few projects which has created positive impacts in the livelihood of the Fijians.

?Starting next year, the Ministry will promote export driven products made by women and also establishing successful women entrepreneurs in Fiji. We will look forward for Indonesia?s assistance in this new venture to uplift the lives of rural women in Fiji,? Dr Koroivueta said.

The Indonesian delegation had also visited Mau Women?s Resource Centre in Serua and has also assured that assistance will be provided to further develop the seaweed project coordinated by the Mau Women?s Group.

Likewise, the Indonesian government in partnership with Fiji?s Ministry of Women, Ministry of Fisheries, and Ministry of Youth has organised a TOT (Training of Trainers) Programme on the Value-adding Production of Fish Crackers. The two weeks training is held in Nasau Youth Training Centre in Sigatoka from 8th?to 18th?December 2014.

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7 YAUVOLI CHAIRS FIRST-EVER SESSION ON INDUSTRIALISED NATIONS’ EMISSIONS REPORT CARD

Lima, Peru, December 9, 2014 ? For the first time in the twenty-year history of the United Nations climate change Convention, industrialised countries presented reports on their efforts to mitigate or reduce dangerous greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.

In a once hotly contentious issue, a specially convened session at the 20th UN Climate Change Conference, presided over by Fiji?s Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Amena Yauvoli in his capacity as Chair of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body of Implementation, saw 17 developed country Parties taking the floor in Lima, Peru, to report on their emission reduction actions.

Countries have long held back on this obligation under the Kyoto Protocol with many calling it an intrusion on national sovereignty. However, it is encouraging to see the process materialise. It bolsters our efforts to safeguard the planet from run-away climate change, whilst at the same time improve those targets by learning from each other?s challenges and best practices,? Mr Yauvoli said.

As Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Mr Yauvoli facilitated the historic first session, ushering in a long awaited transparent multilateral assessment (MA) process where developed and developing nations critically assess and pose questions to industrialised countries on the contents of their report.

?The lessons from this review and assessment process will help build an ambitious agreement in Paris next year. Interestingly, all countries including developing country parties to the climate Convention such as Fiji, may also be requested to undergo similar review processes in the near future to ensure that every nation plays an active part in our shared responsibility to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions?, added Mr Yauvoli.

The MA is part of a newly established international assessment and review (IAR) process for developed country Parties. The IAR process is conducted under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and aims to promote the comparability of efforts among all developed country Parties?with regard to their quantified economy-wide emission limitation and reduction targets.

As SBI Chair, Mr Yauvoli reported to the Conference of the Parties today on the successful completion of the first session of the multilateral assessment, which he said demonstrated that ?low-carbon economy is the way of the future for all of us.?

The IAR process comprises two parts: a technical review of the national reports of each developed country, followed by the MA of the progress towards achieving the economy-wide target by those countries. It started in?January this year with the submission of the sixth national communications and the first biennial reports from developed country Parties?and the technical review of those reports by international expert review teams.

The first?round of the MA?working group session was undertaken successfully at this Lima conference for the 17 developed country Parties. The remaining developed country Parties will be assessed over the course of next year.

DEPTO