- FIJI TO RATIFY THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES – Fiji will soon ratify the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRDP).
- Investment Fiji provides platform for exporters to better understand Trade in Fiji – “Trade is the engine of growth, especially for a small Island developing economy like Fiji- increased trade leads to job creation, development of new industries, improved standards of living and alleviation of poverty.”
- CONFERENCE CAPTURES YOUTH VOICE – For the first time, youth in the Northern Division were recently given the opportunity to comment on Government’s youth policies and programmes.
- SOCIAL WELFARE PROMOTES POSITIVE PARENTING – Positive parenting is at the heart of the awareness and advocacy programs facilitated by the Child Services Unit of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation.
1 FIJI TO RATIFY THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Fiji will soon ratify the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRDP).
The Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) executive Director Dr Sitiveni Yanuyanutawa said that the recent review of the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP Act 1994) and the drafting of Disability Decree 2013 is a milestone achievement for Fiji. He said the strengthening of the legislative framework will enable Fiji to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons Living with Disabilities.
“The completion of review of FNCDP Act and draft Decree on Disability will be a boost in terms of providing an inclusive and enabling environment for the persons living with disability. It will give persons with disability more powers to exercise their rights to live dignified and productive lives.
“The Council also looks forward to ratifying of the Convention this year. Fiji signed to CRPD on 2nd June 2010 and for next year the Council also hopes to get the endorsement for Biwako Millennium Framework for Action (BMF). The BMF +5 reinforces a rights based approach to disability issues by recognising the importance of the Convention,” Dr Yanuyanutawa said.
He said that the Convention and the BMF will pursue a common goal of achieving an inclusive and rights-based society for persons living with disabilities.
“Steps taken by the State to ratify the CRPD, will contribute towards the implementation of the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action. According to the 2009 National Baseline Survey called “Making women with disability visible” there are a total of 11,402 persons with disability in Fiji of which 54% are males and 46% are females.
“The government provides monthly social welfare assistance to persons living with disabilities, they are also able to travel through buses for free and also get 20 percent concession on taxi fares for the first 20 kilometers travelled.
“According to the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the proper name to describe the disabled persons is called PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES. Through the ratification of the Convention there will more opportunities to provide a barrier free and inclusive society for all persons with disabilities in Fiji,” Dr Yanuyanutawa added.
The “Biwako Millennium Framework for Action (BMF) was adopted in Otsu City, Shiga, Japan by 28 Governments at the “High Level Intergovernmental Meeting to Conclude the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons” in October 2002.
The Minister for Women Dr Jiko Luveni said that Government is already putting in mechanisms that promote the rights of disabled persons in the country.
“The disabled persons of Fiji will feature strongly in our Annual Corporate Plan (2014) as there are great strides done already to see the new disability decree this year. Likewise Fiji will ratify the Convention of the Rights of the Disables Persons soon and that is a new marking”, Minister Luveni said.
“The stimulus for the support driven approach for the disabled persons is really welcoming to all. The Ministry in partnership with all the relevant stakeholders should prescribe action areas for delivery and oversight next year”.
2 Investment Fiji provides platform for exporters to better understand Trade in Fiji
“Trade is the engine of growth, especially for a small Island developing economy like Fiji- increased trade leads to job creation, development of new industries, improved standards of living and alleviation of poverty.”
These were the words of the Ministry of Industry and Trade permanent secretary Mr Shaheen Ali as he opened the EXPORT AWARENESS SEMINAR organized by Investment Fiji today.
The seminar’s theme “Better Trade Facilitation & Economic Growth” supports the initiative of providing a platform for dialogue and better understanding of policies and implementation for both trade facilitation (market access) and growth
Mr Ali highlighted that due to the successful reforms by the Bainimarama Government, the Fijian economy is on a positive trajectory.
“We have successful absorbed the Global Financial Crisis, Food/Fuel Crisis, and floods last year. Our economy is expected to grow by 3.2% in 2013 and 2.5% in 2014.
“The positive and stable growth has led to consumer confidence resulting in increased demand for imports and an increasing trade deficit, contributing to Fiji’s current account deficit,” Mr Ali said.
Mr Ali reiterated government’s efforts to reduce the trade deficit through numerous reforms and measures and in order to gain success the support from all sectors is needed only through a structured and inclusive process.
Mr Ali reminded participants on the current process of consolidating the development of Fiji’s first National Trade Policy Framework (TPF).
He outlined the importance and the functions of the Trade Policy Framework and the formation of the National Trade and Development Council (NTDC).
“Through the Trade Policy Framework, we are trying to achieve: a “One Fiji”, a “Team Fiji” approach. Our vision is to make Fiji an “internationally competitive economy that serves as the hub of the Pacific”.
“The Framework is part of the Fijian Government’s effort to engender better coordination amongst all our stakeholders and a closer relationship with the business community,” Mr Ali said.
The Permanent Secretary stated the priority of government to continue consultation and partnership to strive for better market access arrangements are made possible made possible through the NTDC.
The seminar’s theme being “Better Trade Facilitation & Economic Growth” supports the initiative providing a platform for dialogue and better understanding of policies and implementation for both trade facilitation (market access) and growth.
The seminar gathered key speakers from trade facilitation and trade policy making agencies, together with valuable stakeholders, the private sector.
Investment Fiji CEO, Ravuni Uluilakeba reminded exporters who participated at today’s event of their support and their crucial role in Fiji’s economy.
“You are here today to take advantage of Fiji’s extensive network of Fiji’s Trade agreements and export requirements.
“As a key government agency for promoting trade and investment, Investment Fiji is there for you and will help you in your exports and your other needs that you require,” Mr Uluilakeba said.
3 CONFERENCE CAPTURES YOUTH VOICE
For the first time, youth in the Northern Division were recently given the opportunity to comment on Government’s youth policies and programmes.
At the first ever Divisional Youth Conference in Labasa, various youth group and individuals were invited to present challenges, recommendations and proposals to Fiji’s Ministry of Youth and Sports on those programmes that directly affect them.
The Ministry’s principal youth officer Mrs Amele Navunicagi who officially closed the event said that the inaugural conference reflects a growing commitment by all stakeholders to fully address the needs of Fiji’s youth.
“We have many emerging youth issues, new challenges and new problems to address particularly when our beloved Fiji is going through a transitional period where reforms are being implemented to build a better future for us all,” said Mrs Navunicagi.
She pointed out that developing Fiji’s youth population can directly influence Fiji’s future prosperity.
Labasa District Youth representative, Laisani Sepo expressed her appreciation to the organisers for making the process inclusive-based and also commented that the conference had “clarified a lot of things in regards to youth development in Fiji”.
4 SOCIAL WELFARE PROMOTES POSITIVE PARENTING
Positive parenting is at the heart of the awareness and advocacy programs facilitated by the Child Services Unit of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation.
This was reiterated by the Assistant Director Child Services Unit, Ms Ela Tukutukulevu during her presentation at the Social Justice Seminar organised by the Saint Agnes Parish in Suva recently.
Ms Tukutukulevu said Government has partnered with the UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) to create awareness in the communities on the importance of parental role in raising healthy children.
She said the facilitation package called, “Children Are a Precious Gift from God Facilitation Manual” is one of the instrumental tools available in creating awareness on positive parenting.
“Launched in 2012, the package is designed to build on community appreciation of children and drawing their attention on some of the issues which children face in their development.
“It targets community leaders, faith-based leaders, parents and care-givers to identify ways in which they can better deal with issues on child protection and care. The package facilitates discussions with communities on issues of child welfare, using the theme “children are a gift from god” as an entry point to get the communities to take ownership of creating supportive and conducive environment for children,” Ms Tukutukulevu said.
“A key aspect of the package is on positive parenting, positive discipline, types of problems faced by children and we have tried to bring it under the umbrella that children are precious and their welfare and care is of utmost priority.
“There are contextualized tools to create awareness aligned to child protection and without the community commitment to address the reality of issues that influence children protection, we cannot responsibly nurture our children. The package challenges our mindsets as parents, leaders and mentors in the communities,” she said.
Ms Tukutukulevu said so far the Ministry has already reached out to more than 50 communities through 16 trainings on the facilitation package and the way forward for 2014 is to strengthen partnership with relevant stakeholders to raise awareness on child protection in Fiji.