- BUILDING CHANGES TO COMMIT TO NATIONAL TRUST – The Government Service Centre (GSC), formerly known as the Customs House and the Fiji Visitors Bureau building, in the heart of Suva City has been restored to its original colour.
- STUDENTS ENCOURAGED TO USE HOLIDAYS WELL – The Ministry of Education acting permanent secretary Mrs. Basundra Kumar has encouraged students to fully utilise the school break as an opportunity to revise for the next school term.
- AGRICULTURE PARTICIPATES AT INTERNATIONAL FARM MEET IN INDIA – Fiji recently participated at the Asia Pacific Regional Consultation on Role of Family Farming in the 21st Century: Achieving the Zero Hunger Challenge by 2025 at the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India.
- PROGRESS OF FIJI’S PACIFIC ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE PROJECT REVIEWED – The Ministry of Agriculture met this week with relevant internal stakeholders to assess the progress of the regional project on climate change which looks at building resilience to the effects of rainfall and sea level rise on food production and food security.
- IRAQ AND FIJI ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS – The Republic of Iraq and the Republic of Fiji formalized diplomatic relations at a ceremony at the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United Nations in New York on 12 August, 2014.
1 BUILDING CHANGES TO COMMIT TO NATIONAL TRUST
The Government Service Centre (GSC), formerly known as the Customs House and the Fiji Visitors Bureau building, in the heart of Suva City, has been restored to its original colour.
While speaking at the commemoration of the restoration of the 119-year-old building at Thomson Street, Suva today, Public Service Commission permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand said the building has great history attached to it.
Mr Chand said general refurbishments were carried out to maintain the building’s structure but the original colour scheme of the building has been restored.
Heritage building advisor from the National Trust of Fiji, Bart Vanaller, used photographic evidence from the National Archives as well as paint scrapings from the deepest layer of paint to identify the original colour scheme of the building, which now looks as new as it did in 1895.
“Built in 1895 to accommodate the Customs House, it was turned into a private residence in 1967, being residence for the Harbour Master. Over time, it became the Fiji Visitors Bureau and acted as a hub of information for visitors to our beautiful port,” Mr Chand said.
“In 2009, it was handed over to the Public Service Commission in its capacity as the office accommodation and housing manager for the Government and was that same year declared as a National Heritage Class ‘A’ Building under the National Trust of Fiji.”
The GSC, as the building is now known, provides information and assistance to members of the public with queries about government services. Birth, Death and Marriage Certificates are also printed at the GSC considerably lower price.
Mr Chand also said the building instils a sense of civic pride in the people of Fiji.
“The National Trust of Fiji has stepped in to ensure that the historic significance of this Building and all the buildings like it are kept intact. The national heritage and culture of our country illustrates for all what a rich history Fiji has, and even more, what we are capable of achieving.
“The Public Service Commission is working with the National Trust of Fiji and the Department of Heritage and Culture of the Ministry of Education so that all buildings with Heritage status are restored and maintained compliant with National Trust of Fiji requirements,” Mr Chand added.
National Trust of Fiji chairman, Robin Yarrow said the restoration of GSC is a commendable undertaking by government and the private sector, particularly, Dulux Paints.
Mr Yarrow also highlighted that investments in restoring and better managing heritage structures have a direct benefit in various ways, including increased tourist numbers.
The maintenance of the building will be carried out by the Suva City Council and the PSC.
2 STUDENTS ENCOURAGED TO USE HOLIDAYS WELL
The Ministry of Education acting permanent secretary Mrs. Basundra Kumar has encouraged students to fully utilise the school break as an opportunity to revise for the next school term.
The acting permanent secretary said that school holidays should be an opportunity for students and teachers to “have a balanced and a safe two weeks break.”
“The right balance for students is to do revision and to have fun during the break,” said Mrs Kumar.
“The school holidays are an exciting time for children and we want them to be safe. With children having more spare time on their hands, it’s important they’re reminded of simple rules from crossing the road to being proactive if an emergency does occur” remarked Mrs Kumar.
“Parents can assist their school children in drawing up plans for this holiday as this can create some fun and enjoyable moments for both parents and their children,” added Mrs Kumar.
“For students who will be writing external examinations, this is a good time to reflect on lessons taught in school. Set aside at least two hours a day for revision of school work. Have some time for family bonding, do some home chores and have ‘clean fun’ with activities you indulge in,” said Mrs Kumar.
“Teachers, plan your movements well, have quality time with your family, have some entertaining activities and allow some time to plan for you and your class in term three. It is important that you enjoy your holidays, concluded Mrs Kumar.
School resumes for term three on the first of September.
3 AGRICULTURE PARTICIPATES AT INTERNATIONAL FARM MEET IN INDIA
Fiji recently participated at the Asia Pacific Regional Consultation on Role of Family Farming in the 21st Century: Achieving the Zero Hunger Challenge by 2025 at the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India.
The Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Ropate Ligairi led a delegation which included colleagues from his Ministry at the event which was held on the 7th of August.
The Consultation was held in partnership with M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Development Research Centre (IDRC), International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), UN Women, UKaid and Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) as part of a Forum on the International Year of Family Farming.
Matters discussed included the Environmental, Social and Economic Sustainability of Family Farms, Family Farming and Gender Relations, Enhancing Profitability of Family Farms, Mainstreaming nutritional dimension in farming systems and Technology, Skills and Information needs of Family Farms.
Given the role of the agriculture sector in reducing poverty and malnutrition, issues such as attracting and retaining youth in farming, water and climate was also discussed.
In addition, discussions centred on the need to focus on issues relating to the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Family Farms. Highlights of the consultation included Public Policies for strengthening Family Farms, Launching the National Zero Hunger Challenge in India and the adoption of the Chennai Declaration and request to the UN of a year during 2018-2020 as the International Year of Underutilized and Bio fortified Crops.
Representatives presented and discussed family farming problems faced by the Agriculture Sector in various countries.
The Ministry delegation also visited farms, grain legumes, Rice Research, National Institute of Plant Health in Hyderabad and Potato farms and seed companies in Meerut, India.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), this year recognizes the vital role of family forestry in celebration of the 2014 International Year of Family Farming.
4 PROGRESS OF FIJI’S PACIFIC ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE PROJECT REVIEWED
The Ministry of Agriculture met this week with relevant internal stakeholders to assess the progress of the regional project on climate change which looks at building resilience to the effects of rainfall and sea level rise on food production and food security.
Spearheaded nationally by the Ministry’s Land, Water and Resource Management (LWRM) Unit, he Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) project is a regional initiative that was introduced in 2009. The Unit as the implementation agency has had to work with the Ministry’s Extension, Land Resource Planning and Development (LRPD), Research Divisions and the communities to carry out this project in two selected piloted areas in Nakelo, Tailevu and Deuba in Serua.
Director LWRM, Colin Simmons said the objective of the meeting was to present the results of the project and the outcome of the project to discuss the progress and identify the gaps that need to be addressed before the end of the project by the end of 2014.
“At the end of this project cycle, we at the Ministry want to ensure that this will be replicated to communities and farmers in other parts of Fiji.”
The PACC Project was introduced with the intention of enhancing the capacity of local communities to adapt to climate change, including climate variability in food production and food security, coastal erosion, sea level rise and damage to coastal infrastructure and water resource management.
The project goals for Fiji are to contribute to the reduction of vulnerability and increase adaptive capacity to adverse effects of climate change in the food sector, reduce vulnerability of food shortages resulting from climate change effects and increasing understand of climate change impacts and awareness of how to build resilience at community level.
The PACC Project is supported by Australian Aid, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
5 IRAQ AND FIJI ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
The Republic of Iraq and the Republic of Fiji formalized diplomatic relations at a ceremony at the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United Nations in New York on 12 August, 2014.
The Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations, Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim and his Fiji counterpart, Ambassador Peter Thomson, signed a joint communiqué establishing diplomatic relations between the two States.
The communiqué conveys the agreement of both States for their diplomatic relations to be guided by the principles and norms of the United Nations Charter and International Law, in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The communiqué expresses the desire of both States to promote and strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between their two countries in political, economic, cultural, humanitarian and other fields.
Following the formalization ceremony, Ambassadors Alhakim and Thomson held talks on areas of common interest between their two countries and potential areas of cooperation at the United Nations and other international forums. Ambassador Alhakim expressed deep gratitude for Fiji’s provision of the United Nations Guard Unit in Iraq since 2004.