DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 12/12/14 4:30PM

1.???? MALTA AND FIJI ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS – The Republic of Malta and the Republic of Fiji formalised diplomatic relations at a ceremony at the Permanent Mission of Fiji to the United Nations in New York on 11 December 2014.

2.???? ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES TO BE MONITORED BY AGENCIES – The Hon. Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, Parveen Kumar has directed the Department of Environment to identify possible environmental impacts following the collapse of a sewer line in Suva earlier this week.

3.???? FIJIANS ELECTED TO REPRESENT ISLAND STATES IN GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE BODIES – December 10, 2014 ? Fiji?s contribution towards addressing global climate change challenges was recognised this week when the United Nations? Framework Convention on Climate Change endorsed the election of three Fijians into its specialized bodies.

4.???? VOCATIONAL STUDENTS TO BENEFIT FROM GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT – Government?s assistance to the Navuso Agriculture Vocational School will soon see students reap the benefits of this investment.

5.???? STUDENTS REMINDED ON GOVERNMENT?S COMMITMENT TOWARDS EDUCATION – Close to 700 students graduated from the Fiji National University today and were reminded on Government?s investment in the education sector.

6.???? CWM Receives BOTTLED Water DONATION – The Colonial War Memorial Hospital received over 14,000 bottles of water from Natural Waters of Viti Limited (Fiji Water) to aid patients and staff from the disruption of water supply in the hospital.

7.???? NATIONAL INCLUSIVE SPORTS POLICY TO BE FINALISED – The National Inclusive Sports Policy aimed at the inclusion of persons with disabilities in sporting activities will be finalised this week.

8.???? MINISTRY FAREWELLS PERMANENT SECRETARY – The Ministry of Agriculture held a farewell reception for its Permanent Secretary, Ropate Ligairi, who retired this month from the civil service.

 

1 MALTA AND FIJI ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS

The Republic of Malta and the Republic of Fiji formalised diplomatic relations at a ceremony at the Permanent Mission of Fiji to the United Nations in New York on 11 December 2014.

The Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations, AmbassadorChristopher Grima and his Fijian counterpart, Ambassador Peter Thomson, signed a joint communiqu? establishing diplomatic relations between the two States.

The communiqu? conveys the agreement of both States for their diplomatic relations to be guided by the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and international law, particularly on equality among States, respect for national sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of other States, and respect for international treaties.

The communiqu? expresses the desire of both States to strengthen bonds of friendship and cooperation between their two countries in political, economic, cultural, humanitarian and other fields.

Following the formalisation ceremony, Ambassadors Grima and Thomson held talks on areas of common interest between their two countries and potential areas of cooperation at the United Nations, including future candidacies of both Malta and Fiji within the UN system. The Ambassadors also discussed preparations for the next ?Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting?, which will be hosted by Malta in November 2015.

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2 ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES TO BE MONITORED BY AGENCIES

The Hon. Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, Parveen Kumar has directed the Department of Environment to identify possible environmental impacts following the collapse of a sewer line in Suva earlier this week.

The Minister said that this measure was taken to proactively address any related environmental issues including water and marine life contamination that will arise from the discharge of raw sewer into nearby rivers, streams and creeks.

The Minister said his staff are on the ground assessing and monitoring the situation and providing daily updates. His office is also working closely with relevant agencies including the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) who are working around the clock to address the situation.

The public at large is advised to refrain from using the river and also the beaches and coastal areas from Nadawa to Suva Point until further notice.

The public is also advised not to collect marine food such as seashells, molluscs, seaweed and fish from these areas since they will be highly contaminated and unsafe for human consumption. The Minister has reiterated for those living in affected communities to refrain from swimming in these areas until further notifications.

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3 FIJIANS ELECTED TO REPRESENT ISLAND STATES IN GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE BODIES

December 10, 2014 ? Fiji?s contribution towards addressing global climate change challenges was recognised this week when the United Nations? Framework Convention on Climate Change endorsed the election of three Fijians into its specialized bodies.

Amena Yauvoli, Luke Daunivalu and Samuela Lagataki were supported by the Alliance of Small Island States to represent the interests of Small Island developing States (SIDS) in the various bodies established under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to deal with specific climate change areas.

In a show of support and endorsement for his leadership this year as Chair of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body of Implementation (SBI), Amena Yauvoli, Fiji?s Ministry of Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, was re-elected as Chair for another year.

The SBI is?one of two permanent subsidiary bodies to the Convention established by the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the Conference of the Parties serving as Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP). It supports the work of the COP and the CMP through the assessment and review of the effective implementation of the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol. The SBI also advises the COP on budgetary and administrative matters.

Fiji?s Conservator of Forests, Samuela Lagataki was also elected as the Alternate member of the Adaptation Fund Board. He replaces the late Ambassador Peceli Vocea as Fiji?s and SIDS representative on the Board and will serve for a two-year term. Considered an important mechanism for catalyzing funding support on adaptation, the Adaptation Fund was established in 2001 to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

?I am humbled at my appointment and am happy to take up this important responsibility. I see the role of the Fund as critical to ensuring that appropriate development and climate adaptation reaches the most vulnerable communities in island states,? Lagataki said.

Over the past four years, the Fund has dedicated more than $265 million to increase climate resilience in 44 countries around the world.

The 43 member States of SIDS also showed their confidence in Luke Daunivalu, Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs, as their representative on the Adaptation Committee for another two-year term. Daunivalu was one of the first members to be nominated to the Committee after it was launched in 2011 by the global climate body to address the critical issues of adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change. The Committee?s main role is?to promote the implementation of enhanced action on adaptation in a coherent manner under the Convention.

2015 represents a major milestone for the international community with a new climate agreement to be adopted at the climate talks in the French capital of Paris (COP21) from 30 November to 11 December. While there is near-universal agreement that adaptation is an important part of the deal, Parties are currently assessing how the 2015 agreement can support further adaptation action.

For Fiji, adapting to the?adverse impacts of?climate change is a priority policy issue. The Government has taken the bold step of introducing policy measures that would mitigate the onslaught of climate impacts in local communities. The recent relocation of villagers in Vunidogoloa to a new village site is a prime illustration of this and there are others that are in the pipeline.

With the close collaboration between the Government, communities, civil society organisations and the private sector, many others in need of assistance will receive the much-needed support to address urgent climate change impacts. The election of Fijian representatives to the various global climate change bodies ensures that important linkages are maintained and resource benefits secured through international supportive mechanisms to address our priority needs.

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4 VOCATIONAL STUDENTS TO BENEFIT FROM GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT

Government?s assistance to the Navuso Agriculture Vocational School will soon see students reap the benefits of this investment.

By early 2015 the students will harvest more than 30,000 taro that will be sold to markets and to the public.

The school was assisted with a digger and a tractor at total cost of more than $200,000. This was carried out to empower students and allow them to benefit financially whilst carrying out vocational studies.

The Ministry of Agriculture?s Land Resource Planning and Development (LRPD) principal agriculture officer (Farm Management), Joape Waqabaca said that the machines are used to utilize and tilt more than thousand acres of Navuso land for commercial farming.

?As part of the school criteria, current students are given a target to plant a total of 5,000 dalo suckers which is expected to harvest next year.

?As part of the package, students are given a bank account each and are expected to deposit their earning from dalo and vegetables,? Mr Waqabaca said.

He said most of the final year students managed to exceed the landmark of dalo requirements and in return they have additional money in their account which will be given to them after they graduate from Navuso.

?Students have no limitation on the amount of land to cultivate and it?s up to them the area they want to use.?

Reverend Malakai Tuikadavu of the Navuso Methodist Agriculture farm said they have a total of 94,000 dalo already in the field in which they will be having a phase of harvesting.

?The students are expected to sell their produce at Nausori market every weekend otherwise we negotiate with other markets.?

Reverend Tuikadavu who looks after the overall management of the farming institution said students would be tested using a ?on-field? approach will be tested no other ways but through utilisation of land and the harvested yield.

?I believe in what they learn in Navuso will take them in the long run and will be with them as long as they live.?

Rev. Tuikadavu said that they have enough dalo suckers and hopes that it increases by next year.

Teachers and workers have their own dalo farm and vegetable plots and it has been a supplementary supply for their respective household consumption.

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5 STUDENTS REMINDED ON GOVERNMENT?S COMMITMENT TOWARDS EDUCATION

Close to 700 students graduated from the Fiji National University today and were reminded on Government?s investment in the education sector.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony was the Hon. Minister for Education and National Heritage and Arts Mahendra Reddy. He used today?s event to remind the students and graduates government?s commitment in providing education for every Fijian.

?Government has indicated that special emphasis be placed on technical and vocational training, therefore, technical colleges will be established around Fiji, which will amongst others, address the current skill shortages in the construction sector,? Minister Reddy said.

?These technical Colleges will also provide students with a pathway to University for degree studies which otherwise may be difficult to obtain via the higher education pathway,? Minister Reddy said.

FNU Vice Chancellor Dr Ganesh Chand reminded graduates they should be prepared to face the challenges that come their way.

?Let me remind all graduates that there is no end to learning. Your graduation today is a testimony that you have fulfilled your side of partnership,? Dr Chand said.

?You have displayed the necessary commitment to learn, to acquire and produce knowledge and to develop expertise,? he said.

For 22 year old Preenaka Payal Venakataiya, graduating with Diploma in Nursing has been the best achievement she has ever achieved.

?I would like to thank my parents for their continuous support and their hard work has finally paid off,? Ms Venakataiya said.

With the challenges and greater opportunities ahead, Dr Reddy reminded students that those who believe in nation building and who are sacrificial will be rewarded for their hard work.

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6 CWM Receives BOTTLED Water DONATION

The Colonial War Memorial Hospital received over 14,000 bottles of water from Natural Waters of Viti Limited (Fiji Water) to aid patients and staff from the disruption of water supply in the hospital.

The Hospital medical superintendent Dr Jemesa Tudravu said they have a distribution system in place to ensure the bottled water is distributed within the hospital.

?Yesterday we started receiving piped water but the pressure was not enough to supply to the whole of CWM. We have added two additional tanks with 10,000 litres of capacity at CWM and we are storing water provided by the Fiji Water Authority trucks. We need around 147,000 litres of water per day,? Tudravu said.

He added that the timely gesture by the Fiji Water is appreciated and water will be distributed to critical areas in need of safe drinking water.

The Fiji Water chief executive officer Mr Rokoseru Nabalarua said the company?s was glad to provide the donation of 600 cartons of bottled water worth $24,000 to the hospital.

?When the urgency of the need for safe drinking water at the hospital was made clear to us, it became a priority for us to help in whatever way we could. We understand the situation in hospitals as patients and medical staff are top priority,” Nabalarua said.

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7 NATIONAL INCLUSIVE SPORTS POLICY TO BE FINALISED

The National Inclusive Sports Policy aimed at the inclusion of persons with disabilities in sporting activities will be finalised this week.

This comes after the opening of the National Inclusive Sports Symposium by the Hon. Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Honourable Iliesa Delana at the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons complex at Brown Street.

?This symposium marks a new and important development in the chapter of sports development in Fiji,? Mr Delana said.

?Your deliberations are highly important for Government especially the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Fiji National Sports Commission as they are creating awareness for sporting inclusiveness for all Fijians irrespective of race, colour, gender or physical status.?

Mr Delana also thanked all stakeholders who were present to discuss the way forward for disabled athletes.

?I wish to thank all the stakeholders present here for availing yourselves. Your role today I believe will be to consolidate and provide the impetus for a policy direction and establishing a way forward for our disable sportsmen and women,? he said.

Mr Delana also made special mention of the Australian Outreach Program and the Australian Sports Commission of the Australian government in that they had been a loyal partner to FNCDP and been very supportive of the development of sports for people with disabilities.

?On behalf of the Fijian Government, I acknowledge your contribution in this area and we look forward to strengthening our relations in the future,? he added.

He also emphasised the importance of the policy for the benefit of all disabled athletes in the country.

?May I emphasise that the policy will have to alleviate and if possible eliminate all possible ?Barriers to Participation? of persons with disabilities in any form of sporting activities,? Mr Delana said.

?They on an individual level constantly face barriers to their participation and involvement in sport at any level compared to those without disability.

The one-day symposium was attended by representatives from the different sporting bodies in the country, officials from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Fiji National Sports Commission, FASANOC, Australian Sports Commission and Fiji National Council of Disabled Persons.

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8 MINISTRY FAREWELLS PERMANENT SECRETARY

The Ministry of Agriculture held a farewell reception for its Permanent Secretary, Ropate Ligairi, who retired this month from the civil service.

The Ministry?s ?Extension Division? organised the farewell reception to commemorate Mr Ligairi?s contribution to the Agriculture Ministry and to the nation. Also present was the Hon Minister for Agriculture, Inia Seruiratu and the Hon. Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Joeli Cawaki.

Mr Ligairi served the Extension Division for most of his years in the Ministry and says that he has learnt a lot from both crop and livestock extension.

?I used to walk miles and miles to reach our farmers and that is when I learnt how to serve people.

?I believe the Extension team play a very important role and should understand the farmer?s plight. We are thankful that we have two Ministers who are so passionate to develop our rural people,? he said.

He added that the Ministry?s Extension and Animal Health & Production Divisions are the face of Agriculture.

?People outside look at Agriculture through them because they are our contact to the people and we are here to serve the people.?

The acting Permanent Secretary Mr Uraia Waibuta in his farewell speech thanked the Permanent Secretary and the other departing staff for their level of commitment and dedication in the Ministry over the years.

He said that the Ministry staff would always cherish those special moments spent with them.

Mr Ligairi served the Ministry for 33 years. He joined Koronivia Research Station in 1981 after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from University of the South Pacific.

DEPTFO