. 1. FIJIAN PRESIDENT LEADS GLOBAL HIV/AIDS AWARENESs CAMPAIGN IN FIJI – The Fijian President, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, today led the nation in commemorating and recognizing the work undertaken to reduce HIV/AIDS.
- FIJIAN MINISTER OPENS INTERNATIONAL BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP – The Hon. Minister for Youth and Sports Mr Laisenia Tuitubou opened the FIBA USP Oceania Basketball Under-19 Championship at the Vodafone Arena this morning.
- GOVERNMENT PLEDGES INVESTMENT IN SPORTING FACILITIES – Government has and will continue to invest in international standard sporting facilities to allow Fiji to host international tournaments for all sports.
- PACIFIC REGIONALISM SEMINAR ATTRACTS JAPANESE – More than 200 recently people attended a workshop on Pacific regionalism organised by the Fijian Embassy in Japan and funded by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.
- GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TRAINED ON DISASTER MANAGEMENT – Government officials recently participated at the Introduction to Disaster Management and Initial Damage Assessment training.
1 FIJIAN PRESIDENT LEADS GLOBAL HIV/AIDS AWARENESs CAMPAIGN IN FIJI
The Fijian President, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, today led the nation in commemorating and recognizing the work undertaken to reduce HIV/AIDS.
World AIDS Day is celebrated globally to create awareness on HIV/AIDS and pays tribute to those who work tirelessly to reduce statistics. The event, which is also celebrated here in Fiji, provides an opportunity for Fijians to recognize the serious of the disease.
Today’s event saw His Excellency the President urging Fijians to acknowledge and take seriously the implications of HIV and AIDS.
“Today is the day where we all recommit ourselves to taking the response forward. We have laws to protect not only people living with HIV but those affected as well and we understand so much more about the epidemic. But despite all of these, people still ignore or are ignorant of how to protect themselves and others from HIV,” His Excellency said.
It was also an opportunity for the Fijian Head of State to pay tribute to those working behind the scenes to reduce statistics.
“We also acknowledge the contribution of many dedicated health professionals – the nurses, doctors, pharmacists and all others who come face to face with the epidemic and provide care and support to the infected. They must keep up the good work on our behalf.”
“In the past the disease was hidden. Most did not want to know their status and did not seek treatment or to even come forward. This is slowly decreasing. I encourage everyone who knows that they are at risk to take a HIV test”, the President said.
“Knowing your status is important. So be responsible and get a blood test.”
His Excellency highlighted his own contribution to reducing numbers in the country.
As Fiji’s Special Representative on HIV/AIDS, I had set a target two years ago to complete visiting all the secondary schools throughout Fiji to help create further awareness on HIV/AIDS.
The secondary schools comprise persons who are categorized by the United Nations as being in the most vulnerable age group that is from 14 years and upwards.
“I have so far visited 160 schools and personally interacted with over 60,000 students, teachers and parents. I have not been able to complete all the secondary schools this year due to official engagements involving traveling abroad, but I intend to complete visiting the remaining 20 schools by the first school term of 2015.”
“I place high priority on my school visits because we are dealing with very active and inquisitive minds. These are the very persons who will carry our nation into the future.”
SAN Fiji (sex workers network) representative, Rani Ravuni said today’s event recognises the need to strengthen partnership between Government, stakeholders and communities to work towards zero HIV and AIDS cases in Fiji.
“We have over 200 members in our organization and recently started counselling in communities in partnership with Medical Services Pacific (MSP) and identified gaps to respond to individuals,” Ravuni said.
The Fijian Parliament also took time to reflect on the World AIDS Day following an announcement by the Speaker of the House Dr Jiko Luveni on the significance of the day.
2 FIJIAN MINISTER OPENS INTERNATIONAL BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
The Hon. Minister for Youth and Sports Mr Laisenia Tuitubou opened the FIBA USP Oceania Basketball Under-19 Championship at the Vodafone Arena this morning.
Hon. Minister commended Basketball Fiji for securing the rights to host the Oceania and said; “It is often a rare occasion for developing island nations like Fiji to host international tournaments with so many athletes at a single tournament.”
“Gatherings like this often go well beyond one’s expectations as many people eventually create a livelihood from sports.”
Hon. Tuitubou however stated that Fiji still needs to improve and work around its infrastructure and logistics to match international standards.
“Fiji needs to work harder with great perseverance to enhance our international sports events management capabilities, broaden our media landscape through the application of ICT at all levels of sports promotion and development to consolidate its role in national development and regional development,” said Hon. Tuitubou.
He also said that Government will continue to invest in international standard sporting facilities to allow Fiji to host more international tournaments for all sport.
“Government through the Fiji National Sports Commission and the Office of the Prime Minister provided close to $0.5 million towards Basketball Fiji in preparations for this championship,” the Minister said.
He added that that is a sign of Government’s commitment to developing sports and players alike in Fiji.
FIBA Oceania president Burton Shipley said; “I commend Basketball Fiji for their hard work in preparing for the tournament.”
“And FIBA Oceania has no doubt in their abilities is ensuring that this will be a success tournament,” said Mr Shipley.
3 GOVERNMENT PLEDGES INVESTMENT IN SPORTING FACILITIES
Government has and will continue to invest in international standard sporting facilities to allow Fiji to host international tournaments for all sports.
This was relayed by the Hon. Minister for Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou at the official opening of the FIBA Oceania under 19 Championship held at the Vodafone arena in Suva this morning.
“To our visiting counterparts, we are striving to ensure that we establish a better structure that is governed properly so we will continue to be granted rights by international bodies to host more international events not only basketball but other sports,” Minister Tuitubou said.
“The Fijian government has also placed significant emphasis on the growth of our nation, whether it is from economic perspective, social, health or from a political perspective,” he said.
Mr Tuitubou highlighted that government recognises that for our nation to reach pinnacle of success and to maintain a holistic and sustainable growth we must channel substantive and consistent effort on our young people and one way is through sports development.
“Basketball Fiji is one of the recent beneficiaries of Governments initiative and assistance through sports,” he said.
President of FIBA Oceania Burton Shipley commended the Fijian government for willing to host the event in Fiji this year.
“For Fiji to host such event will be positive recognition for the sports and the country on the international arena,” Mr Shipley said.
“This will be great opportunity for young players and teams to compete in the world qualifying event, it is an opportunity to show off the country of Fiji,” he said.
The 2014 FIBA –USP under 19 Oceania Basketball championships will be hosting 10 teams from around the region and the teams will be participating in the weeklong event.
4 PACIFIC REGIONALISM SEMINAR ATTRACTS JAPANESE
More than 200 recently people attended a workshop on Pacific regionalism organised by the Fijian Embassy in Japan and funded by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.
The seminar on “Recent Trends in Pacific Regionalism and the Role of Japan” held in Tokyo, has been the largest meet that places emphasis on Pacific regionalism and the role that Japan plays in the region.
Fiji’s Ambassador to Japan Isikeli Mataitoga opened the seminar and said that Pacific Island Countries (PICs) were seeking new and innovative ways to engage new partners in their sustainable development.
“As they engage in this new process of review, they are asking difficult but often necessary questions about the relevance and effectiveness of existing regional architecture in meeting the development aspirations of the Pacific islands people and communities,” he said.
He said the seminar explored the regional trends and the outlook for the Pacific Island nations along with the role that Japan could play. Ambassador Mataitoga added that Japan had been and continued to be a close and important partner of Pacific Island Countries in achieving their development goals.
The principal framework in which Japan engages with the PIC is through its development assistance program, delivered through the Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA].
He said that existing regional bodies serving PICs have all in recent times undergone review to determine whether they were still true to their mandate to serve the development aspirations of people of the Pacific Island Countries.
Pacific Islands Development Forum interim Secretary General Feleti Teo and Professor Michael O’Keefe of La Trobe University were the main speakers at the workshop.
The seminar was also attended by the President of Japan Pacific Islands Association Professor Izumi Kobayashi along with Ambassadors from other Pacific Island nations based in Tokyo.
Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga said since the Pacific island nations face common challenges such as broadly stretched territories, small-sized economies, and limited access to the international market, they were an important supply region for marine life resources, including for countries like Japan, which has a fish-eating food culture.
The seminar also examined recent dynamic evolution of regional cooperation in the Pacific island countries and discussed the outlook and implications of recent development.
The panelists also discussed the role of Japan in the Pacific Island nations and exchanged views on how the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) process should evolve under the new geopolitical situations.
The positive turn out is a reflection of the importance of Pacific regionalism and the role played by Japan poised to the Japanese.
5 GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TRAINED ON DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Government officials recently participated at the Introduction to Disaster Management and Initial Damage Assessment training.
The four days’ workshop held at the Ministry of Agriculture headquarters was organised by the Public Service Commission in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the International Federation Red Cross, focused on basic key concepts in Disaster Management.
Senior Adviser Disaster Risk Management Training and Professional Development of SPC, Dr. Kirstie Meheux told the participants that they had a great role to play as public servants during and after a disaster.
“The training is a combination of two courses of Disaster Management, long-term restoration and recovery from a disaster.
“Participants have been trained to go to communities and conduct assessment on the level of damage whether it is infrastructure, agriculture, education and other livelihoods.
“This will not only educate them of the precautionary measures or how to define types of disaster but to also strengthen working relationship with other government bodies,” Dr. Kirstie said.
Ministry of Education officer, Miliakere Moroca said that from the workshop, she was able to differentiate emergency from a disaster.
“Inclusive is how to effectively carry out disaster assessment and its different stages and through this, we are able to educate the education sector before, during and after a disaster especially for schools,” she said.