DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 15/07/15 5:00PM ?

 

  1. PRESIDENT NAILATIKAU RECIEVES BRAZILIAN JUDGE – His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today received Brazilian Judge, Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin at Government House.

 

  1. GOVERNMENT PRIORITISES CARE FOR SENIOR CITIZENS – The welfare and care of the elderly and senior citizens continues to be a priority for the Government.
  2. MINISTER URGES CARE FOR THE LESS FORTUNATE – Families have been urged to treat the underprivileged persons in our communities with respect, care and compassion.
  3. POLICY MAKERS DISCUSS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS IN THE REGION – More than 100 regional policy makers, academics, development practitioners and representatives from international organisations converged in Suva today to present and discuss the latest economic and social developments in the Pacific region.
  4. RURAL HOUSING AND EDUCATION REQUESTED IN TABIA, MACUATA NDP CONSULTATION – Rural and Education assistance requests were raised at a National Development Plan consultation in Tabia Village, Macuata yesterday.
  5. CLIMATE CHANGE AND DISASTER RISKS IN AGRICULTURE – Staff of the Ministry of Agriculture are undergoing training this week on the linkages between agriculture and Climate Change (CC), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and ???????????????????????????? Disaster Risk Management (DRM).

 

  1. PRESIDENT NAILATIKAU RECIEVES BRAZILIAN JUDGE

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His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today received Brazilian Judge, Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin at Government House.

 

Justice Benjamin is the current chair of the Brazil-United States Law Society and International Union for Conservation of Nature World Commission of Environment Law (WCEL).

 

Justice Benjamin was appointed Justice of the National High Court of Brazil in 2006 by former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Siliva.

 

Following this appointment, Justice Benjamin was the ?Assistant Attorney General at the State of Sao Paulo where he headed the Environmental Protection Division.

 

Justice Benjamin also co-drafted several major Brazilian statutes, including the 1990 Consumer Protection Code, the 1992 Anti Corruption Act, the 1994 Competition Act and 1998 Crimes Against the Environment Act.

 

He holds a Masters of Law from the University of Illinois and later attained his Doctorate of Philosophy from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.

 

Justice Benjamin received several awards, honours and other recognition in Brazil and abroad.

 

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  1. GOVERNMENT PRIORITISES CARE FOR SENIOR CITIZENS

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The welfare and care of the elderly and senior citizens continues to be a priority for the Government.

This was relayed by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar during a meeting of the National Council of Older Persons (NCOP) at the Samabula Senior Citizens Home today.

?This forum paves the way forward in strengthening the collaboration between government and stakeholders to ensure that voices and the needs of senior citizens are captured at all levels of the development process,? Minister Akbar said.

NCOP emanated from Fiji?s National Ageing Policy endorsed in 2011, which through its programs continues to demonstrate genuine care and compassion for senior citizens in Fiji.

The council is progressively pursuing a National Minimum Standards for Residential Homes for the Elderly with the intent of improving operations and care in such institutions.

Minister Akbar reiterated Government?s commitment to ensuring that senior citizens age with care, respect and dignity.

?It is necessary for NCOP to realize its fully fledged establishment throughout Fiji and equally the council?s aspirations need to trickle down to the grassroots as we tackle the challenges, concerns and interests of senior citizens,? Minister Akbar said.

Samabula Senior Citizens Home chairman, Mohammed Ali Maqbool said NCOP plays a linking role in looking after the needs of the elderly citizens.

?Government assists us in many ways, particularly by providing a budget which enables us to provide the much needed care to our senior citizens,? Mr Maqbool said.

NCOP received a budgetary allocation of $200,000 this year to provide an enabling environment for the existing aged care facilities around the country.

The council also celebrated its second anniversary today with the 99th birthday celebration of a resident, Benina Cirivesi at Samabula Senior Citizens Home.

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  1. MINISTER URGES CARE FOR THE LESS FORTUNATE

Families have been urged to treat the underprivileged persons in our communities with respect, care and compassion.

These are the comments by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty, Hon. Rosy Akbar in light of the Eid festival which will be celebrated this weekend.

Minister Akbar visited the Samabula Senior Citizens Home in Suva today and surprised the oldest resident at this Home. Ms Benina Cirivesi with a birthday treat.

Ms Cirivesi has lived at the Samabula Senior Citizens Home since 2009 and turned 99 years on Tuesday last week. The elderly citizen was overwhelmed with joy as she received her birthday present from Minister Akbar and her team at the Ministry.

Ms Cirivesi who hails from Gau Island revealed that it was the first time for her to celebrate her birthday. She doesn?t have any family, her only daughter passed away at the age of 9 and her late husband also passed away a few years ago.

?I am lost for words, this is the first time for me to have a birthday cake. I am grateful to this wonderful lady (Minister Akbar) who has continued to visit me and has shown that senior citizens are not forgotten. It brings us so much happiness in our hearts to see that there are people out there who care for us. I thank the Almighty for giving us these wonderful leaders who have the heart to give, care and show concern for our wellbeing,? Ms Cirivesi said.

Minister Akbar reiterated that the Fijian Government is committed to ensure that senior citizens age with care, respect and dignity.

?It is indeed sad to see that the residential care homes are full of senior citizens, there is a lot of applicants waiting to be absorbed into existing facilities. And through the National Council for Older Persons (NCOP) the Ministry will raise awareness on the need for senior citizens to be kept within the vicinity of their homes, with their families and among their loves ones.

?As we prepare for the Eid celebrations in the weekend, I urge families to please remember the people around you. It is my humble plea to the families and communities to please provide care, comfort and support to the senior citizens.

?Let?s take this celebration of Eid to work together, show care and compassion and to make a positive difference in the lives of the underprivileged individuals and families in Fiji,? Minister Akbar said.

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  1. POLICY MAKERS DISCUSS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS IN THE REGION

More than 100 regional policy makers, academics, development practitioners and representatives from international organisations converged in Suva today to present and discuss the latest economic and social developments in the Pacific region.

Their presence at the two-day 2015 Pacific Update Conference at the University of the South Pacific (USP) provides an opportunity for the participants to analyse the development trends in the region, question its relevance and advise policy makers on the way forward.

While opening the conference, Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy said participants at the conference will discuss ways to advance the values of the Pacific communities.

Minister Reddy said the Pacific Update Conference had greatly assisted Fiji and other Pacific Island Countries (PICs) ?to walk and work in tandem with the rest of the world?.

?Our people share a common heritage ? the quest for better economic status that will enable us to become fully independent nations. We are also bound together by common traditions and our rich cultural heritage,? Minister Reddy said.

Highlighting, this year?s conference theme ?Pacific development in a changing global economy?, Minister Reddy said achieving economic growth with balanced development, is a challenge.

?Most of the PICs are today changing from being primarily agricultural to service dominated economies without necessarily passing through a prominent phase of industrialization. This could weaken the resilience building aspect of the PICs.

?Globally, while this trend has been evident for developing countries, another trend noted along with this is that the expanding services sector has also contributed to a growing share of world trade in services which is not that prominently evident for PICs which again demonstrates a weak element of growing domestic economy,? Minister Reddy said.

He added that the PICs needed to determine how they can raise income from the limited number of existing factors of production such as land, labour and natural resources.

?Policy makers in the region should also be mindful of how strategies are implemented so as not to further widen the gap between urban and interior population thus creating impetus for urban drift,? Minister Reddy said.

Minister Reddy said PICs must embrace globalisation and strengthen their ability to create opportunities from their smallness.

?To date, very little has been done as a Pacific bloc to address Pacific problem. Fiji has taken a lead role in this and I do hope member countries understand the genuine desire of Fiji to raise living standards of the bloc. Fiji will not waiver away from its commitment towards this endeavour,? he stressed.

The 2015 Pacific Update Conference, which will end tomorrow, covers a number of issues affecting the lives of people within the Pacific region and have implications for the global economy.

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  1. RURAL HOUSING AND EDUCATION REQUESTED IN TABIA, MACUATA NDP CONSULTATION

Rural and Education assistance requests were raised at a National Development Plan consultation in Tabia Village, Macuata yesterday.

Team Leader for the consultation Mesake Semainaliwa informed those present that government allocates funds annually to the Commissioner?s Office in each division for Rural Housing Assistance.

?The District Officers, then determine those that need the assistance and ?inform the Provincial Administrators who then inform the Commissioners, but the assistance and depends on the funds given by government during that particular year,? Mr Semainaliwa said.

Mr Semainaliwa said that there are funds available for housing assistance however people must understand that one third of the total project is paid by the recipient and the remaining two thirds is paid by government.

?Please also be aware that the assistance is not only for Vanua Levu but Fiji as whole, there are others who also seek assistance,? Mr Semainaliwa said.

Tabia villager Kavaia Rivonokula said having proper homes is important and government should look into increasing rural housing assistance programmes in their 20 year plan.

Meanwhile, Tabia Village headman, Tomasi Cakausolo ?also requested the NDP team to inform government of their appreciation for having technical colleges in Fiji after he was informed that Technical Colleges were there to support youths and drop outs.

NDP Team Leader Mr Semainaliwa explained to the villagers that government has already embarked on the building ten technical colleges around Fi

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  1. CLIMATE CHANGE AND DISASTER RISKS IN AGRICULTURE

Staff of the Ministry of Agriculture are undergoing training this week on the linkages between agriculture and Climate Change (CC), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Disaster Risk Management (DRM).

With support from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the three days training which started today at the Tanoa Hotel in Suva is being conducted with the objective of providing to be more proactive rather than reactive and to promote disaster risk management alongside identifying risk reduction strategies in agriculture.

The Director for Human Resources Finance and Information, Ms Mereseini Bou while delivering her opening remarks this morning, emphasized that Fiji is one of the country in the Pacific Islands that has the highest expenses in terms of damages and loses from natural disasters.

?Based on this, we have been continuously challenged as a nation and we have been consistently reminded on the roles and responsibilities that we must play to mitigate the many risks associated with natural disasters.?

The Fijian Government, she said has provided a direction through the Green Growth Framework and? the 2020 Agriculture Sector Policy Agenda with much emphasis on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management.

?With that, it has placed emphasis on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management activities that focus on the management of natural resources and the application of different cropping systems in an effort to show how food security and resilience can be improved in preparation to natural disasters,? she said.

Ms Bou added the two documents clearly show how committed the nation is in supporting the implementation of a more proactive approach towards disaster risk reduction in agriculture.

The training which ends this Friday will focus on theoretical presentations, group discussions, practical field work and visitation to communities in order to gauge local perspectives of climate change and disaster risk management and reduction in agriculture.

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