DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 27/04/15 4:30PM

1. FIJI AT THE FOREFRONT OF REDD+ IMPLEMENTATION – Curbing the clearing of forests is a major and necessary tactic in the fight against climate change.


2. TRADE MINISTER WELCOMES POTENTIAL CULTURAL EXCHANGES WITH CHINA PROVINCE
– As the Fijian Government continues to look at developing new markets for trade and investment, it will also strengthen its focus on developing cultural exchanges with her international partners.


3. FIJI TO PURSUE SPORTS DEVELOPMENT WITH BRAZIL
– Fiji?s Ambassador to Brazil Cama Tuiloma is inviting Fiji?s Sports Minister to Brazil and has alluded that the Fiji Consulate in Sao Paulo in Brazil is committed to pursuing stronger sporting relations between the two countries in the near future.


4. PAPUA NEW GUINEA OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH REFORM BILL SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED
– Fiji?s Ministry of Employment, Productivity & Industrial Relations through its corporate social responsibility in the region, successfully completed the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Reform Bill for the PNG Department of Labour & Industrial Relations.

5. I?TAUKEI ARTS NEED TO BE PRESEVED AND PROMOTED: EDUCATION MINISTER – The Minister for Education, Heritage, Culture and Arts, Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy today encouraged the need to learn the skills and process involved in making traditional iTaukei mats, masi and pottery.

1 FIJI AT THE FOREFRONT OF REDD+ IMPLEMENTATION

Curbing the clearing of forests is a major and necessary tactic in the fight against climate change.

This was highlighted by the Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime and National Disaster Management Hon. Inia Seruiratu as he officially opened the REDD+ Seminar today.

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) is a mechanism that has been under negotiation by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since 2005, with the objective of mitigating climate change through reducing net emissions of greenhouse gases through enhanced forest management in developing countries. Fiji?s Draft Policy on ?Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation? (REDD-Plus) was endorsed for implementation in January, 2011. The Fijian Government has identified the role of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions as the driver of climate change. Today?s seminar was an opportunity for stakeholders to look at how the policy was being delivered.

?Fiji has been carrying out REDD-readiness activities since 2009 with REDD+ pilot sites established in Navosa and Dogotuki (Macuata),? Minister Seruiratu said.

?As most of our rural communities depend on forests for food, water, shelter, energy and their livelihood, REDD+ would ensure that these substantial benefits, in addition to reducing emissions, continue,? Minister Seruiratu said.

?In addition, REDD+ reforestation and forest restoration activities would usher in the ecological, social and economic benefits provided by forests, in addition to increasing carbon pools.?

At the end of the readiness phase, Fiji should have set up an institutional and monitoring framework that defines how Fiji will effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions through REDD+ activities.

He said the National REDD+ Policy (2011) would guide how equitable benefit distribution to the local resource owners will be ensured.

Minister Seruiratu also emphasised on the importance of the ability to apply, implement and monitor the various policies and legislation in place.

The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) Programme Director, Dr Wulf Killmann said that in 2002 up-to 20 percent of all the greenhouse gas emissions were due to deforestation.

?REDD+ is not just a forestry issue but land use issue, rural development and livestock concern where Fiji is at a forefront with these achievements at an international forestry scene.?

2 TRADE MINISTER WELCOMES POTENTIAL CULTURAL EXCHANGES WITH CHINA PROVINCE

As the Fijian Government continues to look at developing new markets for trade and investment, it will also strengthen its focus on developing cultural exchanges with her international partners.

This was highlighted by the Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Koya as he officiated at the Cultural China – Sichuan Splendid exhibition last night.

The exhibition event was organised by the Embassy of the People?s Republic of China and focused on showcasing the socio-cultural opportunities that the Province of Sichuan in China could offer to Fiji. A delegation of more than 50 senior personnel from the Province presented the exhibition as well as Sichuan cultural performance.

In his address, the Minister reiterated the Government?s commitment to advancing Fiji?s interests on the international stage, including the Sichuan province, which is ranked highly as a premier tourism and cultural destination in China.

?The FijiFirst Government recognises the significance of connecting Fijian businesses with opportunities in global growth markets through supporting inbound missions from the various Provinces of China,? Minister Koya said.

?The Sichuan Province is one of the fastest growing regions in Western China with a population of more than 90 million and GDP of more than $925.8billion. We see real opportunities in enhancing our bilateral economic relations from this visit.?

The Minister added that Fiji-China relations had reached a new level as both countries are expanding economic ties and strengthening cultural and educational exchanges.

?Recent visits by several Chinese artistic groups showcasing aspects of their great civilization to Fijian audiences are further expanding our cultural exchanges,? Minister Koya said.

?We genuinely believe that such events will assist in building on our cultural exchange and give Fijians an opportunity to learn from Sichuan and the whole of China on how best to educate our citizens on preservation of culture.?

The Minister also commended the Sichuan Provincial People?s Congress for plans to assist Fiji through the provisions of scholarships in areas such as tourism, engineering, health amongst others.

The Sichuan Provincial People?s Congress vice president Mr Li Xianzhi said that the Fiji-China relations can expect a boost since the visit to Fiji last year by China?s President, H.E Xi Xinping. He added that since the high level visit to Fiji by His Excellency, new opportunities between Fiji and the Sichuan province could be established.

?Last November, President Xi Jinping paid a successful visit to Fiji and opened up a new chapter of friendly cooperation and exchange between China and Fiji, which makes us more familiar with each other. Sichuan Provincial People?s Government and Sichuan people would very much like to take this opportunity to promote the practical cooperation and exchange with Fiji?s local government?, Mr Li said.

?Sichuan Provincial People?s Government would provide governmental scholarships to Fiji, to help with the training of talents in engineering, business and tourism, as a token of friendship from the Chinese people and people of Sichuan.?

3 FIJI TO PURSUE SPORTS DEVELOPMENT WITH BRAZIL

Fiji?s Ambassador to Brazil Cama Tuiloma is inviting Fiji?s Sports Minister to visit Brazil and has alluded that the Fiji Consulate in Sao Paulo in Brazil is committed to pursuing stronger sporting relations between the two countries in the near future.

Ambassador Tuiloma who is currently serving his second term in Brazil was in Suva and met with the Minister for Youth and Sports Hon Laisenia Tuitubou on Thursday 23 April with senior officials of the Ministry.

?The Government of Brazil is willing to cooperate with the Fijian Government in areas of sports development,? said Ambassador Tuiloma. ?They have declared to help us in certain areas especially in the development of football.?

Ambassador Tuiloma also told Minister that Brazil is also seeking assistance from Fiji to help them in rugby especially in the Sevens code.

?There are many other areas the Government of Brazil is willing to assist Fiji especially in football and sports academy,? Ambassador Tuiloma said.

Minister Tuitubou said; ?The Ministry will seriously consider the invitation and will be glad to take the opportunity to travel to Sao Paulo.My Ministry will be anticipating further correspondence from Ambassador Tuiloma and further talks towards securing an agreement between Fiji and our Brazilian counterparts in the areas of sports development,? Hon. Tuitubou said.

Hon. Tuitubou said Fiji will now get a chance to secure assistance from Brazil to help further develop football in the country.

?Fiji?s FIFA soccer ranking keeps dropping and it is time that we seriously consider such avenues to help develop sports in Fiji,? said the sports minister.

He added that he will also pursue securing more technical assistance for other sports in Fiji.

The Minister said that the Ministry will remain in contact with Ambassador Tuiloma to provide assistance where possible and fast track processes to facilitate assistance from the Brazilian government.

4 PAPUA NEW GUINEA OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH REFORM BILL SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED

Fiji?s Ministry of Employment, Productivity & Industrial Relations through its corporate social responsibility in the region, successfully completed the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Reform Bill for the PNG Department of Labour & Industrial Relations.

PNG OSH Reform Bill drafted by Fiji?s Ministry of Employment, began in 2011 upon Cabinet?s endorsement on 5 April 2011. This was provided for through the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Agreement, which was signed by the member states and implemented through the South-South Cooperation.

The 1st draft Bill was completed within 6 months on 23 October 2011. Through a series of workshops with PNG tripartite stakeholders, the Bill went through 6 drafts and completed on 31 March 2015. During this period PNG executives and staff were trained on the OSH Reform Bill.

This was a window of opportunity that the Ministry pursued, when time and resources permitted, to share learning, knowledge and experiences with the region given our established MSG framework and Government?s pursuit for better international relations.

The PNG OSH Reform Bill is now ready for endorsement by the PNG National Executive Council before it is tabled to the PNG Parliament in the third quarter of this year.

The implementation of the PNG OSH Reform Bill will significantly provide social justice in workplace occupational safety and health, employment relations, management culture and training, that devolves both wealth and power in workplaces on a fairer and just scale to boost OSH standards and productivity.

The Ministry is extremely grateful for Divine Providence, the opportunity and the empowerment to share Fiji?s successes from its Occupational Health and Safety Reform journey to benefit the people of Papua New Guinea and their future generations.

The outcome of the implementation of the PNG OSH Bill will contribute directly to the growth of its economy to benefit the people by reducing poverty and also improving productivity.

5 I?TAUKEI ARTS NEED TO BE PRESEVED AND PROMOTED: EDUCATION MINISTER

The Minister for Education, Heritage, Culture and Arts, Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy today encouraged the need to learn the skills and process involved in making traditional iTaukei mats, masi and pottery.

The Minister made the comments as he opened a three-day workshop that looked at preserving and promoting traditional iTaukei methods of pottery making, masi and tapa design and handicraft skill. Organized by the Fiji Museum in collaboration with the Department of Heritage and Arts and the Fiji Art Council, the workshop is organised for school children who are on school holidays and aimed at transferring the knowledge of these methods to Fijians to ensure the sustainability of these cultural practices.

?Learning the ITaukei culture through traditional handicraft skills will connect you to your past, present and future. You may have seen that traditional mats and masi still have a function in Fiji and the Pacific and are used for births, weddings, funerals, house decoration and gatherings,? Dr Reddy said.

The Education Minister said that the concern is the knowledge and the ?know how? or skills for the production of these art forms that are disappearing at an alarming rate. ?These skills are needed to be practiced and continued and the passing down of these skill is important from the elders to the youth even in the use of language.?

He added that children and adults should appreciate the process involved in mats, masi and pottery making.

The three-day activity includes mat weaving, Fiji Museum tour, masi making, story on Lapita pottery and traditional pottery making.

The workshop is a first for the school holidays this year with a total of 95 students participating.

PRESS RELEASE