- 30 PER CENT OF MARINE AREAS TO BE PROTECTED BY 2020: GOVERNMENT – Government?s commitment to protect 30 per cent of its marine areas by 2020 was reiterated at a workshop in Suva today.
- SOCIAL ISSUES MAJOR CONCERN FOR RESIDENTS – Residents of Rewa Street and Howell road raised concerns on health, housing and education as priority areas of concern at the National Development Plan consultations last night.
- HEALTH SERVICES AND ROADS DISCUSSED AT NDP CONSULTATION IN DREKETI – Better health services and roads were amongst the many requests from Valelawa Settlement One and Two at the National Development Plan consultation at Ahmadiya Secondary School last night.
- VACANT LANDS DISCUSSED AT NDP MEETING –The need to make use of vacant lands was raised at a National Development Planning Consultation Meeting in Dreketi this week.
- 30 PER CENT OF MARINE AREAS TO BE PROTECTED BY 2020: GOVERNMENT
Government?s commitment to protect 30 per cent of its marine areas by 2020 was reiterated at a workshop in Suva today.
The workshop with the theme ?Spatial Planning in the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape? aims to establish marine protected areas in the Vatu-i-Ra seascape by mapping out important biological, ecological, social and economic features in Vatu-i-Ra.
Opening the workshop Permanent Secretary for Fisheries and Forests Inoke Wainiqolo said that the establishment of deep water marine protected areas targeting 30 per cent of offshore areas by 2020 is deemed an immediate priority for the next five years.
PS Wainiqolo said this was one of the main issues highlighted in the recently launched Green Growth Framework which supports the establishment of deep water marine protected areas.
?An economic valuation of tourism and fisheries in Vatu-i-Ra in 2014 estimated the annual value of fisheries and tourism in Vatu-i-Ra Seascape at $71, 821,300,? Mr Wainiqolo said.
?However, human related activities have intensified over the years. Unless we make sure we balance our use of the area, through adaptive management strategies, and managing the impacts and also developing a vision for sustainable resource use, we will lose the things we value in the seascape.?
Mr Wainiqolo stressed the importance of the workshop and stated that this is the first step to moving forward with discussions and strategies to protect our marine life.
The one and half day workshop organized by Wildlife Conservation Fiji is attended by stakeholders from the tourism, government, community and fishing sectors.
- SOCIAL ISSUES MAJOR CONCERN FOR RESIDENTS
Residents of Rewa Street and Howell road raised concerns on health, housing and education as priority areas of concern at the National Development Plan consultations last night.
The NDP consultations held at Jai Narayan College and Suva Sangam Secondary School gathered residents of nearby areas who raised concerns on issues of equal opportunity to access health services and the right to education for every child.
Seventy-eight year old, Humphrey Chang is a retired business man who raised issues on scholarship and the national minimum wage rate.
?I would like more scholarships to be given to school leavers so that they all have equal opportunity to higher education,? Mr Chang said.
Mr Chang added that school-leavers should also be supported through apprentice trainings and certification and paid equal wage rate.
?The National Employment Centre (NEC) should also provide employment and hands-on training in addition to the assistance that they provide,? Mr Chang said.
Forty-three year old self employed, Jone Gonevou said housing is a major concern for low income earners.
?I am concerned on the sub-division of land in squatter areas as being unfair and having ?no privacy?. Houses are built so close to each other that it is unhygienic and over populated. There should be sufficient space allocated to each resident and local authorities should monitor squatter settlements,? Gonevou said.
This week, more than 20 venues were covered for the central division consultations.
- HEALTH SERVICES AND ROADS DISCUSSED AT NDP CONSULTATION IN DREKETI
Better health services and roads were amongst the many requests from Valelawa Settlement One and Two at the National Development Plan consultation at Ahmadiya Secondary School last night.
Divisional Planning Officer Northern Alipate Bolalevu, who was part of the consultation team, acknowledged the large turnout of the members of the public to the consultation.
?We understand that some of you have other work to do but you also must understand that these meetings are for your future,? Mr Bolalevu said.
Saukat Ali of Noca in Dreketi said there was a need to have a health center or nursing station in Valelawa due to the distance to the nearest health centers.
?It is too costly for us to travel to the Dreketi Health Centre and the Seaqaqa Health Centre given the distance,? Mr Ali said.
Valelawa Primary School Head Teacher Jagendra Prasad however requested the NDP team to consider the upgrading of Dreketi Health Centre into a hospital.
?Why not upgrade Dreketi Health Centre to a hospital with more nurses, doctors and services such as an ambulance to cater for the whole area,? Mr Prasad suggested.
Mr Prasad said comparing the population of the people to the medical services provided, more medical services were what they needed.
?We would need a bigger health team to cater for the population so the ratio of the population does not affect their community visit and services,? Mr Prasad added.
Mr Bolalevu said having better health services were the rights of the people.
?We will take note of your requests and it is good to hear that you as the citizen of this country are voicing your needs,? Mr Boalevu said.
Mr Prasad also raised the issue of upgrading rural farm roads.
?We need farm roads to be upgraded to ease transportation for school students and the five villages that are in this area.?
The NDP teams will be in the Macuata Province this week.
- VACANT LANDS DISCUSSED AT NDP MEETING
The need to make use of vacant lands was raised at a National Development Planning Consultation Meeting in Dreketi this week.
Head teacher of Valelawa Primary School, Jagendra Prasad informed the NDP team that Government should look into parcels of land that are being left idle.
?I am from Nasarawaqa in Bua and I have seen that there is a lot of vacant land in the Bua Province,? Mr Prasad said.
?It?s a suggestion and humble request since government is working towards increasing productivity in the agriculture sector, why not make use of the idle lands?? Mr Prasad said
Divisional Planning Officer Northern Alipate Bolalevu said they would take note of their request and he was glad that the people in the North are committed are improving the agriculture sector.
?Yes we will take note of your request, this is for economic activity and this is what we have been informing people from Nabouwalu to Dreketi that there are vacant lands along this corridor which will soon attract investors,? Mr Boalevu said.
He said this was due to the Naboulwau- Dreketi Highway expected to be completed by December this year.