CAPTION: Incoming President of ECOSOC, Ambassador Nestor Osorio of Colombia, and G77 Chair, Ambassador Peter Thomson of Fiji at today’s ECOSOC review meeting in New York.
1. FIJI PRESENTS ECOSOC REFORM PROPOSALS AT UNITED NATIONS – In its capacity as Chair of the Group of 77 and China, Fiji today presented the Group’s position on the United Nations Economics and Social Council (ECOSOC) reforms.
2. CABINET APPROVES STANDARD FOR BATTERIES SOLD IN FIJI – Cabinet has approved the introduction of Trade Standards (Battery Standard) Order 2013, in Fiji. This is to improve the quality of batteries sold in the country.
3. CABINET APPROVES LAND TRANSPORT (AMENDMENT) DECREE 2012 AND LAND TRANSPORT (PHOTOGRAPHIC DETECTION DEVICE) REGULATIONS 2013 – Cabinet has approved the Land Transport (Amendment) Decree 2012, and the Land Transport (Photographic Detection Device) Regulations 2012.
4. HEADS OF MISSIONS URGED TO STRENGTHEN FOREIGN PARTICIPATION – Fiji’s heads of missions in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands are being urged take a more proactive role in advancing Fiji’s foreign policy within the region.
5. VILLAGE PRAISE DEVELOPMENT OF ROAD ACCESSIBILITY – Two villages in the highlands of Nadroga have welcomed the recent development of roads into their villages after years of neglect.
1 FIJI PRESENTS ECOSOC REFORM PROPOSALS AT UNITED NATIONS
In its capacity as Chair of the Group of 77 and China, Fiji today presented the Group’s position on the United Nations Economics and Social Council (ECOSOC) reforms.
Speaking in the ECOSOC Chamber in New York this morning, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson, said that the relevance and effectiveness of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) has diminished over the years. He called for a new transformational vision to be brought to the ECOSOC to restore and enhance its relevance.
Ambassador Thomson announced that the G77’s position was that real outcomes were required from the ECOSOC reform process.
“For ECOSOC to remain relevant, it has to be truly equitably representative; it has to be empowered to convene its own meetings as and when necessary, and concrete mechanisms have to be put in place to follow up and implement outcomes of major UN conferences and summits.”
He said the G77’s position on the practice of holding alternate substantive ECOSOC meetings in Geneva was uneconomical to the United Nations and its members.
“He said the practice “adversely affects participation from developing countries as most are unable to attend the session. To be more relevant as a hub, the Group proposes that all substantive discussions of ECOSOC should be held at the UN headquarters in New York.”
2 CABINET APPROVES STANDARD FOR BATTERIES SOLD IN FIJI
Cabinet has approved the introduction of Trade Standards (Battery Standard) Order 2013, in Fiji. This is to improve the quality of batteries sold in the country.
Cabinet based its decision on a submission by the Attorney General and Minister for Industry and Trade, Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
The Attorney General said that the Standard will be applicable to lead-acid batteries with a nominal voltage of 12V, used primarily as a power source for the starting of internal combustion engine vehicle, and commonly called “starter batteries”.
He said that batteries with nominal voltage of 6V are also included within the scope of the standard.
He also said that the Standard will apply to batteries for passenger cars; batteries for commercial and industrial vehicles for normal use; batteries for commercial and industrial vehicles for severe use; and batteries for use in deep-cycling applications (e.g. marine use, taxis and coaches).
3 CABINET APPROVES LAND TRANSPORT (AMENDMENT) DECREE 2012 AND LAND TRANSPORT (PHOTOGRAPHIC DETECTION DEVICE) REGULATIONS 2013
Cabinet has approved the Land Transport (Amendment) Decree 2012, and the Land Transport (Photographic Detection Device) Regulations 2012.
Cabinet based its decision on a submission by the Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities Timoci Lesi Natuva.
Minister Natuva said that the Land Transport (Amendment) Decree 2012 amends the Land Transport Act in order to provide for the implementation of the photographic detection device project.
He said that a photographic detection device is an approved device that captures images of offences committed under the Act and the subsidiary laws made under the Act.
“The Amendment Decree provides that offences detected by a photographic detection device will be on an owner onus basis.
“This means that the owner of a motor vehicle will be held liable for the offence detected by a photographic detection device.”
He said that the Amendment Decree provides for a Traffic Infringement Notice to be issued to the owner of a motor vehicle in respect of an offence detected by a photographic detection device.
He further said that the Amendment Decree also exempts the following types of motor vehicles from the payment of any penalty under the Act or subsidiary laws made under the Act, in respect of offences detected by a photographic detection device:
I. any motor vehicle used by a fire brigade established under the provisions of any written law;
II. any ambulance used by the National Ambulance Service under the National Ambulance Decree 2010;
III. any motor vehicle used by the Fiji Police Force;
IV. any motor vehicle used by the President of the Republic of Fiji including his or her motorcade and support vehicles;
V. any motor vehicle used by a Cabinet Minister, including his or her motorcade and support vehicles; and
VI. any motor vehicle exempted by the Chief Executive Officer.
The Minister said that the Land Transport (Photographic Detection Device) Regulations 2012 will enforce traffic safety laws, identify and record images of motor vehicles that enter an intersection in contravention of a red light or red traffic arrow, identify and record images of motor vehicles that exceed the speed limit; deter illegal activities on the road; ensure that the use of motor vehicles is regulated for the purposes of safety, protection of the environment and law enforcement; and establish a method that identifies each motor vehicle used on the road and the person who is responsible for it.
He said that the Regulation establishes the Photographic Traffic Infringement Processing Unit. The Unit will be responsible for the installation of the photographic detection devices, the certification of images produced by the photographic detection devices and the institution of proceedings against offenders.
4 HEADS OF MISSIONS URGED TO STRENGTHEN FOREIGN PARTICIPATION
Fiji’s heads of missions in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands are being urged take a more proactive role in advancing Fiji’s foreign policy within the region.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Mr Amena Yauvoli told a forum today for Fiji’s diplomatic heads of missions based in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Suva that more effort was needed to push for economic relations within the region.
“We need to collectively contribute towards government’s objective in driving growth in the economy and the lifting the standard of living for the people,” he said.
“We need to use investment in driving the macroeconomic objectives of this Government and you (ambassadors) are the face of government in your respective countries that you are based at.”
The two-day forum is aimed at increasing Fiji’s global engagement through regional realignment and is being conducted by Fiji’s Ambassador to Japan Isikeli Mataitoga.
The forum is being attended by Fiji’s acting Head of Mission to Australia, Ms Cheryl Brown-Irava, Fiji’s acting Head of Mission in New Zealand Ms Mere Tora – Fiji’s High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea Romanu Tikotikoca, Fiji’s Roving Ambassador (Pacific Islands) Mrs Litia Mawi and Fiji Consular in Sydney Mrs Losana Ravuso.
Ambassador Mataitoga said that while the forum would not deliberate on past issues, past experiences would be used to increase Fiji’s engagement internationally.
“The aim of this forum is not to maintain the status quo – but to lift it up to another level,” HE Mataitoga said.
4 VILLAGE PRAISE DEVELOPMENT OF ROAD ACCESSIBILITY
Two villages in the highlands of Nadroga have welcomed the recent development of roads into their villages after years of neglect.
The villages of Vunatovau and Nadromai located nine kilometres from Sigatoka town can now have access to commercial activities and schools following the development of the roads by New Zealand contractors, Higgins Group.
The request for improved road access over the years were finally answered when the Fiji Roads Authority completed the clearing of the roads to the village and built two slip ways costing more than $20,000.
For Vunatovau village head man, Josefa Kidi , the new road to his village will give villagers improved access to health services and schools for women and children from the village.
“We are so grateful to the current government not only for listening to our plea but acting on it straight away”, he said.
“For the past years we only tried but nothing happened however, finally we can now boast our new roads.”
For fellow villager Amelia Bai, the new road will allow her to sell her produce at the Sigatoka market on a daily basis.
“We couldn’t have asked for more. We can now sell our produce from the village as we can take them down to Sigatoka every morning,” she said.
“As a mother I am more than happy because my children can go to school every morning in the neighbouring village school.”
More than 30 students from the village attend classes at Nadromai Primary School which is two kilometres from Vunatovau.