1. CEREMONIAL MEETING OF GROUP OF 77 & CHINA APPOINTS 2014 CHAIR – A ceremonial meeting of the Group of 77 & China was held at Ambassadorial level at the United Nations today to elect the Plurinational State of Bolivia as the Group’s 2014 Chair.
2. NADI TOWN WELCOMES BUDGET – The Nadi Special Administrator Robin Ali, has welcomed the 2014 national budget announced earlier today by the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama saying it was a well thought budget.
3. SAVUSAVU GRATEFUL FOR ASSISTANCE – The Copra Town of Savusavu on Vanua Levu is grateful towards Government for incorporating its plans into the National Budget for 2014.
4. FIJIAN ENVOY HOLDS TALKS WITH THE DIRECTOR OF INFOFISH INTERNATIONAL – Fiji’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, Ratu Meli Bainimarama met with the Director of INFOFISH International, Dr. Abdul Kunhimohamed at the Fiji Chancery this week.
5. COMOROS AND FIJI ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS – The Union of the Comoros and the Republic of Fiji formalised diplomatic relations at a ceremony at the Fiji Mission to the United Nations in New York on 7th November, 2013.
6. NAGADO JOINS THE BATTLE AGAINST INJUSTICE – Nagado and Korobebe villages are now part of the Zero Tolerance Violence Community Campaign after they were admitted into the program this week.
7. NEW PROJECT SETS THE PLATFORM FOR IMPROVED LIVELIHOOD – Creating new platforms to enhance the economic potential of women is one of government’s key strategies of to improve the standard of living in rural and remote communities.
1 CEREMONIAL MEETING OF GROUP OF 77 & CHINA APPOINTS 2014 CHAIR
A ceremonial meeting of the Group of 77 & China was held at Ambassadorial level at the United Nations today to elect the Plurinational State of Bolivia as the Group’s 2014 Chair.
The meeting was presided over by Fiji’s Ambassador Peter Thomson and heard addresses from the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Jan Eliasson, and the Chef de Cabinet of the President of the General Assembly’s Office, Dr Paulette Bethel.
Upon the election by acclamation of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, the Permanent Representative of Bolivia, Ambassador Sacha Soliz, was invited to the podium to deliver his country’s speech of acceptance. Ambassadors Thomson and Soliz were then accorded speeches of thanks and support from the Group of 77 membership, with emphasis on the need for the Group’s solidarity in the work ahead in relation to the UN’s Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Fiji’s G77 Chairmanship responsibilities will continue during the UN’s heavy workload months of November and December, during which time the business before the UN’s six committees has to be concluded. Importantly during this period, agreement must be reached on negotiations surrounding the proposed programme budget for the UN’s 2014-15 biennium.
Actual transfer of the G77 Chairmanship responsibilities will be made at a G77 Ambassadorial meeting to be held at the United Nations in January 2014. Ambassadors Soliz and Thomson assured today’s meeting that arrangements are being made between the Permanent Missions of Fiji and Bolivia for a smooth handover of the leadership baton.
Ambassador Sacha Soliz was a member of the Bolivian delegation that visited Fiji in May, 2013. His Excellency President Evo Morales of Bolivia led the delegation that visited Fiji to attend the G77’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Personalities of the South, held at Natadola.
2 NADI TOWN WELCOMES BUDGET
The Nadi Special Administrator Robin Ali, has welcomed the 2014 national budget announced earlier today by the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama saying it was a well thought budget.
The budget announcement has seen various projects and initiatives that will be implemented next year including developments in urban and peri – urban centres around the country.
Mr Ali said his municipality is grateful that Government has seen the need to upgrade markets around the country including the one in Nadi.
“We are happy that Government has seen the need to upgrade and modernize markets which is a major source of income for our agriculture producers and we welcome the announcement of $504, 000 to upgrade the Nadi market,” he said.
Nadi Market vendor Mohammed Tahir said while he did not hear the announcement, he was happy to be informed of the development.
“We have been in the current state for many years and we thank the Prime Minister for seeing the need to assist us (farmers) especially with our produce,” Mr Tahir said.
“We also thank Government for the free school fees for our children.”
3 SAVUSAVU GRATEFUL FOR ASSISTANCE
The Copra Town of Savusavu on Vanua Levu is grateful towards Government for incorporating its plans into the National Budget for 2014.
Savusavu Town Council chief executive officer Dharmendra Lal says the announcement in Suva today was a positive sign for the town as developments in the area would bring employment opportunities and boost its facilities to provide services not only to residents there but also visitors and tourists.
“We are overwhelmed with the budget for next year given the fact that it has incorporated some of Savusavu’s aspirations in the national budget which is a big thing for a small town like ours,” he said.
Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama while highlighting the allocations stated that Government had set aside funding for a few major projects in Savusavu namely the upgrading of the municipal market, the sewerage system, the port at Balaga Bay and also housing improvements in Naqere.
“We had planned for improvements to the Savusavu market and this will now be carried out in the New Year after Government allocated $150, 000 for the market,” Mr Lal said.
“We are also grateful that education has been given priority and we welcome this apart from other areas which were announced by the Hon Prime Minister.”
Savusavu has seen a rapid rise in tourist figures recently and coupled with five star hotels along its coasts upgrades to facilities Mr Lal says could never have come at a better time.
“This will assist us improve on the image and brand of Savusavu as one of the fastest growing towns in the country,” Mr Lal added.
4 FIJIAN ENVOY HOLDS TALKS WITH THE DIRECTOR OF INFOFISH INTERNATIONAL
Fiji’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, Ratu Meli Bainimarama met with the Director of INFOFISH International, Dr. Abdul Kunhimohamed at the Fiji Chancery this week.
Dr. Kunhimohamed briefed the High Commissioner on the work undertaken by INFOFISH International which currently has 14 members including Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. He also extended an invitation for Fiji to be a member of the organisation because of the benefits that could be enjoyed by Fiji like other members. In addition, Fiji has a lot to contribute to the organisation.
Dr. Kunhimohamed also extended an invitation for Fiji to host the next Pacific Tuna Conference in September 2015. The Conference was hosted by the Solomon Islands this year and drew a large number of delegates from the world over. In acknowledging the invitation, High Commissioner said that Fiji has been hosting a lot of international conferences and is well equipped in terms of infrastructure, logistics and air routes to host the conference in 2015.
As a prelim to the Fiji’s joining INFOFISH International, High Commissioner suggested, also in response to an invitation, for relevant Fiji officials to attend the INFOFISH Governing Council Meeting later in December this year as observers. Dr. Kunhinmohamed welcomed the suggestion and advised that they would be more than happy to accommodate Fiji at the meeting.
“The global development in the fisheries sector has grown manifold and if it is to prosper and be sustained as a gainful industry in Fiji especially as a safeguard for food security and employment generation, Fiji’s international network needs to be expanded and INFOFISH International presents a good opportunity for this”, said High Commissioner Bainimarama.
5 COMOROS AND FIJI ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
The Union of the Comoros and the Republic of Fiji formalised diplomatic relations at a ceremony at the Fiji Mission to the United Nations in New York on 7th November, 2013.
The Permanent Representative of the Union of the Comoros to the United Nations, Ambassador Roubani Kaambi and his Fijian counterpart, Ambassador Peter Thomson, today signed a joint communiqué establishing diplomatic relations between the two States.
The communiqué expresses the desire of the Comoros and Fiji to establish their diplomatic relations in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, guided by the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and the principles of international law. The communiqué calls for the promotion and strengthening of bonds of friendship and bilateral cooperation between the Comoros and Fiji in political, economic, cultural, humanitarian and other fields.
Following the formalisation ceremony, Ambassadors Kaambi and Thomson held talks on areas of common interest between their two countries, including their work within the Group of 77, and within the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). Ambassador Thomson reported on the steady progress of the Fiji Roadmap towards the achievement of sustainable democracy with parliamentary elections to be held in Fiji in 2014. In concluding the meeting, the Ambassadors assured each other of the mutual support of their Missions in the furtherance of common causes in multilateral affairs.
6 NAGADO JOINS THE BATTLE AGAINST INJUSTICE
Nagado and Korobebe villages are now part of the Zero Tolerance Violence Community Campaign after they were admitted into the program this week.
Administered by the Department of Women, the Zero Tolerance Violence Community Campaign continues to gain momentum, to date more than 60 communities have joined hands with the Ministry and Police to eliminate violence in their communities. The Nagado and Korobebe are two villages in Nadi that have joined the campaign this week and have been commended for this effort.
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni visited Nagado village on this week to officially launch the violence free campaign. Minister Luveni was joined by the officials from the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF) from the People’s Republic of China.
In her opening address, Dr Luveni said the campaign would steer a change in the mindset of the men and provide greater voices to women.
“The Ministry congratulates the male leaders in Nagado for supporting this campaign that would enable this community to acquire information and knowledge, take appropriate measures to be recognized as a violence free community in Fiji.
“The community will now have the opportunity to learn about the causes of violence, the reporting procedures and counseling services for victims of violence. The Ministry along with stakeholders like Police, Health, Legal Aid and Empower Pacific will provide 6 to 8 months of awareness programs and disseminate information on laws and legislations safeguarding women and children.
“Violence is a serious crime and it should be never be tolerated in any case and the campaign aims to empower women to make informed decisions and apply the knowledge gained through awareness. It educates the communities on positive parenting, good family values which nurtures trust, care and respect as important pillars for development,” Minister Luveni explained.
Mrs Sainimere Galo, president of Soqosoqo Vakamarama Nagado said the women are proud of this new initiative that will give them the freedom to live an empowered life.
“Nagado is a large community there are over 900 people living here of this are 500 women who are domestic workers and caretakers of their families. Today we all are very impressed, Dr Luveni is the first minister to set foot in this village and talk about a topic that affected us for years and yet we were not allowed to talk about it.
“There are women here who are victims of domestic violence, and have suffered for years not knowing where to seek help. Through this campaign, years of silence will be broken as we will now have the knowledge to take action and seek help when faced with cases of violence. It’s our basic human right and we are glad that through this campaign women will be recognized,” she said.
The village headman, Mr Josaia Degei said a gatekeeping committee has been formed and will work closely with the stakeholders to ensure the village completes all the stages of awareness and reach the declaration phase.
“We are grateful to the government for giving us this opportunity to create a better society for our women and children. Sometimes we take women for granted and through this campaign the men have realized that without women our society cannot progress and their well being has now taken a priority into village development committee. This campaign has showed us the way for building an enabling and inclusive environment for women and children,” Mr Degei added.
7 NEW PROJECT SETS THE PLATFORM FOR IMPROVED LIVELIHOOD
Creating new platforms to enhance the economic potential of women is one of government’s key strategies of to improve the standard of living in rural and remote communities.
One of the significant projects that have been designed to achieve this goal is through the opening of new women centres for the women’s groups in Fiji.
Administered by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, this project continues to gain momentum and this week, a village of Naduru in the tikina of Nausori, Tailevu has been the latest beneficiary of this assistance.
The Naduru Women’s Centre that is located in Naduru village in Tailevu has been built with a funding of $5000 from the Ministry and was officially opened by the Minister Dr Jiko Luveni on Monday this week. Apart from opening the Centre, the Minister also took this opportunity to inform the Naduru villagers about Ministry’s programs for women and social welfare.
Minister Luveni encouraged the Naduru Women’s Group to effectively use the new Centre to bring positive changes in their lives.
“The Women Centre project aims to enhance the income generating capabilities of women and make their contributions more visible towards the development of their village. The centre brings greater understanding about the role of women and it has been built by the men of Naduru. Their contributions reflect on their appreciation and support for women’s role in the village.
“The Ministry is also looking at an additional budgetary allocation of $130,000 for next year to provide similar opportunities for other women’s groups in Fiji. This would mean more women’s groups will be able to access similar assistance to build their women resource centres,” Dr Luveni said.
Mrs Melaia Nabukavau, president of Naduru Women’s Group thanked the government for providing them with a new opportunity to earn income for their families.
“There are 75 women in this village and most of them are domestic workers, some of them depend on small scale farming and fishing to earn a living. The Naduru Women’s Group is made of women who are determined to earn income for their families and be seen as key partners into the village development.
“We are grateful to the government for providing us with a facility that will help us to achieve this vision and we had written to the Ministry and requested for this Centre. This is the first government project in this village and Dr Luveni is the first Minister to visit this village. The people are truly touched by this kind gesture and government’s effort to reach out to the people at the grassroot level,” Mrs Nabukavau said.
She highlighted the through the new Centre, their Group will be able to give a new direction to their baking and catering program.
“The Centre will be used to coordinate our income generating projects namely baking and catering for the village school students, there are over 100 students who study at Kuku District School, we will make lunch parcel and sell in the nearby schools as well. We will also bake things like cake, pie and bread and take catering orders for social events like weddings.
“The women have good baking skills and now since we have a specific place to work together, we will venture into daily baking sales. Currently women are able to make $50 a week from their baking and catering sales. We will sell our products even in festivals and social gatherings and the group is also determined to make healthy lunch packages for the students,” Mrs Nabukavau.
Mrs Pauliasi Talevakarua, turaga-ni-koro for Naduru village reiterated that the centre will unlock the potential economic opportunities for women and young girls.
“We are grateful to Dr Luveni for her commitment to see that this seen this much awaited project comes to life. Her visit here today has greatly motivated the women to work together as a group and be confident of themselves. This project will be instrumental in transforming the lives of women through capitalizing on their skills and resources to earn income, the project has provided a new beginning for Naduru village,” the Naduru leader said.