Fiji Leads Regional Meeting on Sustainable Health Development 

Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon. Rosy Akbar with the participants of the Regional workshop on water, sanitation held in Nadi

Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon. Rosy Akbar with the participants of the Regional workshop on water, sanitation held in Nadi. Photo: DEPTFO.

The countries in the Pacific region have been given the opportunity to collaboratively device strategies to enhance the accessibility of safe drinking water and hygiene.

This has been made possible through the 3 day Regional workshop called, “Pacific Strategy to Implement Sustainable Development Goal on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene,” which is held at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi from Wednesday to Friday this week.

The workshop is organised by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services with the support of World Health Organisation and DFAT (Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade).

At the official opening of the regional workshop, Minister for Health and Medical Services, Hon. Rosy Akbar highlighted the importance of a multisectoral approach for enhanced collaboration.

“Access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation and hygiene are all essential ingredients to ensure human health. The same is true for proper wastewater management, which is a basic prerequisite for environmental health. In adopting the development agenda for the next 15 years, “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs), the Fijian government, along with other 192 countries at the UN General Assembly vowed to transform the world.

“In order to have progressive realization of universal WASH access for the SDGs, it is more important than ever to address the human rights issues and therefore it is critical to have a systematic approach to monitoring various dimensions of inequalities. Sharing our lessons of what worked for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) and how we can capitalize on these lessons and build on this success for the Sustainable Development Goals is our distinct privilege,” Minister Akbar said.

Minister Akbar reiterated that the discussions will pave the way forward for the nations to provide quality drinking water and in general the safe management of water and sanitation systems.

“Undoubtedly the safe management of WASH and wastewater is crucial for human health, but also critical for food security, educational attainment, as well as balance human development, and ecological preservation. Taking a holistic view across the Agenda 2030 is not just natural for us, but urgent for our survival,” Minister Akbar said.

“The workshop will also consider Sanitation Safety Planning to complete the WASH picture for the SDGs. The SDG framework therefore provides a common thread across these topics strategically considered for this workshop, so that participating and other countries could use these examples in making their national WASH plans for the SDGs, especially as they get ready to set their national targets within the Agenda 2030. I sincerely hope that this 3 days’ workshop will suit your agendas considering your roles as national government institutions, donors, UN agencies responsible for monitoring WASH and wastewater targets for the SDGs,” Minister Akbar said.

Dr Rokho Kim, Environmental Health Specialist at the (WHO) World Health Organisation thanked all the stakeholders for their commitment to make this workshop a reality.

“This historical meeting would not have been possible if it were not for the strong leadership and commitment of the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services supported by donors of JMP and Australian DFAT. We understand that the workshop will focus on SDG WASH issues from target setting to implementation and to monitoring. At the same time, the workshop will address the approaches of risk management in the WASH sector to ensure safely managed services, the key ingredients of SDG WASH.”

DEPTFO