CAPTION: His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau meets Jope Tukutukuivalu of Asco Motors. Photo: MINFO.
1. HEAD OF STATE REAFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR ENVIRONMENT – His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau in reaffirming his commitment to support the environment has pledged his support for Earth Hour 2013.
2. CENTRAL EASTERN HEALTH OUTREACH SERVICE ROTUMA – A team of medical officials have completed an outreach tour in Rotuma led by the General Manager of the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, Ned Taito.
3. EDUCATION MINISTER ENCOURAGES ATHLETES FOR COCA COLA GAMES – The Minister for Education for Education Filipe Bole has called on school athletes performing for the two-day Coca Cola Games to enjoy their participation as they represent their respective schools and athletic zones.
4. NEW FLOOD GATES TO ALLEVIATE FLOODING IN REWA – Close to 700 villagers in the Tikina of Dreketi in the Rewa Province will benefit from the newly constructed flood gate at Nakorovou village in Rewa.
5. STAKEHOLDERS MEET TO REVIEW ENVIRONMENT IMPACT GUIDELINES – The use of the Environment Impact Assessment tool must ensure that it does not forsake environmental impact in the process of any development.
6. PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE DONATES NEW BOAT TO PRIMARY SCHOOL – Mamanuca Primary School executives in Malolo Island today had their prayers answered following the handing over of a fibre boat and an outboard engine by the Office of the Prime Minister.
7. FIJI TO HOST INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH MEET – Fiji will host a five day international meeting and will see local and international sugar research personnel sharing information on ‘erianthus’ – a sugar hybrid.
8. PLANS TO ORGANISE A CONFERENCE FOR SHORT STATURED PERSONS – The Fijian Government through the Ministry of Social Welfare will organise an in-country workshop designed to create awareness for those that are of short stature, commonly known as ‘dwarfism’.
1 HEAD OF STATE REAFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR ENVIRONMENT
His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau in reaffirming his commitment to support the environment has pledged his support for Earth Hour 2013.
Visiting the WWF South Pacific office today, His Excellency said that he was pleased to be involved with Earth Hour again this year and was ready to participate in the exercise.
Highlighting the enthusiasm showed by the public, private sector and individuals, Ratu Epeli pointed out that the solution to a successful exercise such as Earth Hour is getting quarterly updates from all organisations that were involved.
“We don’t want to be in a position where we start something and we can’t finish it,” HE said.
WWF South Pacific representative, Kesaia Tabunakawai while briefing President Nailatikau said that out of the 50 corporate organisations that were invited last year, only four came forward and took up the challenge to help in protecting the environment.
“Four corporate organisations have picked up the challenge of sustainability on the environment and unless we get all corporate bodies on board to help us, we are going to lose some of our precious natural resources.
The four corporate entities are Bank of the South Pacific, Asco Motors, Land Transport Authority and Nailaga village (in partnership with WWF).
2 CENTRAL EASTERN HEALTH OUTREACH SERVICE ROTUMA
A team of medical officials have completed an outreach tour in Rotuma led by the General Manager of the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, Ned Taito.
The tour saw medical officials provide different medical services involving, dental, eye and heart diseases cases.
“The outreach program is conducted after every 3 months. It allows us to achieve Government’s goal of taking the services to the people,” Mr Taito said.
The team conducted their services free of charge at the Rotuma Hospital and also visited Malhaha Primary School and Rotuma High School where they took part in medical checkups for students at these schools.
“We did scanning and check up for rheumatic heart diseases for children between the ages of 5 to 15 years old,” Taito said.
Taito said their last visit to Rotuma was 3 years ago.
He said in 2011 they did an outreach in Koro, Ovalau, Kadavu, and Kadavu and Southern Lau.
“Last year the team teamed up with the Northern Health team and conducted a similar outreach in Taveuni while the rest did outreach in Korovou and screening all the way to Nayavu”, Taito said.
The teams next outreach program will be to Vunidawa and Wainibokasi.
“I would like to thank the Commissioner Eastern for allowing the medical outreach team to come on this trip, it really saved us a lot of expenses,” Taito said.
3 EDUCATION MINISTER ENCOURAGES ATHLETES FOR COCA COLA GAMES
The Minister for Education for Education Filipe Bole has called on school athletes performing for the two-day Coca Cola Games to enjoy their participation as they represent their respective schools and athletic zones.
“First and foremost, the students participating in the Coke Games must enjoy their participation. In fact, these athletes are the top from their school athletic zones. Performing in this new – look stadium, which have been refurbished to internationalstandard by the Fiji Sports Council, should certainly boost the morale and enhance performance of the athletes. This will certainly release the pressure of the competition. While the athletes will exhibit their skills, we, the spectators must applaud them for their performances whether they finish first or last,” Minister Bole said.
“The game should bring students and teachers together and set aside differences. Parents and guardians will have to pay to watch superb performances and I am sure that the athletes will deliver their best,” he added.
While the Minister paid tribute to organizers of the games, he called on officials including school officials to closely monitor the 2-day event to ensure its smooth success.
I do salute the organizers for the immense task put into the preparation of the game. I am also reminding Principals and teachers to have tight control of their students’ behavior during the two days athletic finals. I wish all athletes well in their performances and may we all enjoy the two days Coca Cola Games,” Minister Bole said.
4 NEW FLOOD GATES TO ALLEVIATE FLOODING IN REWA
Close to 700 villagers in the Tikina of Dreketi in the Rewa Province will benefit from the newly constructed flood gate at Nakorovou village in Rewa.
Villagers have had to face flooding problems for long time and this has affected their agricultural produce, which they depend on as a main source of income for their livelihoods.
Village spokesperson Seru Serevi said villagers have had to face these problems since the time of their forefathers.
“The rise in sea-level was consistently affecting our crops and in worst scenarios, we were not able to feed from our crops from our plantations and we had to buy from the market,” Mr Serevi said.
“Apart from that, the availability of land, land has been becoming scarce for new families that needed to build their houses,” he said.
The funding for the construction of the flood gate was through the Prime Minister’s office.
Mr Serevi adds the new flood gates is a huge relief for villagers of Nakorovou and the neighbouring villages along the coastline.
Dreketi Mata-ni-tikina Semi Vakado thanked government for the assistance and said that this has also eased flooding in Dreketi village.
Meanwhile, Senior Agricultural and Land Water Resource Management officer central Davendra Prasad said this project was worth $233,000.
“Through the assistance provided by the Prime Minister’s office LWRM engineers also constructed a 63metre sea-wall within six months”, Mr Prasad said.
Other villages within the tikina of Rewa that have benefitted from this project include; Nadoria, Nabuli, Nalase and Vunisinu.
5 STAKEHOLDERS MEET TO REVIEW ENVIRONMENT IMPACT GUIDELINES
The use of the Environment Impact Assessment tool must ensure that it does not forsake environmental impact in the process of any development.
This was highlighted to stakeholders from Fiji’s environmental sector when they met today to review the EIA guidelines.
The Ministry of Local Government and Environment’s acting permanent secretary, Mr Saverio Baleikanacea said the EIA was a decision-making tool that effectively considers both the benefit of a development and its impact to the receiving environment over the years.
He said this world renowned tool was now being used by all stakeholders such as the private and public sector as well as the community at large.
“It (EIA) allows an opportunity to put in place proper mitigative measures prior to undertaking any development that may make major alterations to the natural status of our environment,” Mr Baleikanacea said.
However, he pointed out that for this assessment to be an effective tool in development planning, it needs to continuously “keep up to par with the modern trend of development”.
Mr Baleikanacea said the workshop provides a good start to this process as it sets the medium for information sharing, lesson learnt and understanding the roles and responsibilities of approving authorities.
The assessment is a preventative measure that seeks to avoid costly mistakes in project planning and development.
The workshop featured speakers from the Department of Lands, Mineral Resources Department, i-Taukei Land Trust Board and the Department of Country Planning.
6 PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE DONATES NEW BOAT TO PRIMARY SCHOOL
Mamanuca Primary School executives in Malolo Island today had their prayers answered following the handing over of a fibre boat and an outboard engine by the Office of the Prime Minister.
It has been 44 years since the school was established however there had been no boat of their own to transport students from nearby islands to the school in Malolo.
School head teacher Moape Rika said it was a historic moment for the school as they had been requesting for a boat over the years but nothing was done.
“Today is a very historic day not only for the school but also for the villagers whose children will use the boat,” he said.
“We had been requesting for a boat for a very long time but nothing happened and we would like to thank the Prime Minister and this government for coming to our aid.”
The school has a roll of 148 students who attend classes from one to eight.
The Office of the Prime Minister deputy secretary Edward Tunidau said providing the new fibre boat was government’s obligation to ensure that students have access to education without any interruptions.
7 FIJI TO HOST INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH MEET
Fiji will host a five day international meeting and will see local and international sugar research personnel sharing information on ‘erianthus’ – a sugar hybrid.
“The International Workshop on Noblisation of erianthus has been made possible through the funding from the European Union in Brussels under the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) – sugar research programme,” the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji’s chief executive officer Jai Gawander said.
Erianthus is a hybrid of sugar cane to increase yield and fibre in the cane via hybrid of Noble (normal cane) and varieties such as Mana (most commonly used for sugar production).
The meeting would see sugar hybrid experts from India, China and Australia making presentations on their success stories and how they were able to achieve this hybrid when other sugar producing countries failed.
“Only two groups of people in the world have claimed to be successful in erianthus breeding and this workshop would give other sugar growing countries a chance to learn from them and try implementing erianthus in their countries,” Mr Gawander said.
“The world authority on erianthus breeding will also be present and presentations on bio – technology usage in this process would be highlighted.”
Countries that have confirmed participation include Australia, Japan, China, India, France, United States of America, Vietnam, Mauritius and Myanmar.
The meeting is scheduled for May, 23 to 27.
8 PLANS TO ORGANISE A CONFERENCE FOR SHORT STATURED PERSONS
The Fijian Government through the Ministry of Social Welfare will organise an in-country workshop designed to create awareness for those that are of short stature, commonly known as ‘dwarfism’.
Pointing out the discrimination often faced by those who are short statured, the head of the Social Welfare ministry, Dr Jiko Luveni said that this conference will raise awareness and the need for communities to provide an enabling and inclusive society for short statured people.
“Short statured people are part of the society we live in and often we have noticed that they are discriminated and bullied in their communities. There is a need to ensure that these people are respected and given equality of dignity,” Dr Luveni highlighted.
She said the idea to organise this conference emanated from Fiji’s participation at the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on Final Review of the Implementation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons 2003-2012 in Korea.
Dr Luveni was elected as vice chairperson of the Officials’ Segment of the Asia Pacific High Level Meeting that was held in November last year at Incheon City, Republic of Korea.
“Fiji is on track in terms of developing its national policies to guide disability inclusive development and which is well aligned to international conventions on disability as well as the Asia Pacific Regional Action Plan.”
In 2010, Fiji became the 145th signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The CRPD is the first international, legally binding human rights treaty targeted at protecting the human rights of people with disabilities.
The Ministry works with the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) to create a barrier free and inclusive environment in Fiji for the disadvantaged and especially those who are physically, mentally and vertically challenged.
Meanwhile the planned conference will see the participation of Margherita Coppolino, one of Australia’s best-known and most influential disability and diversity consultants to develop a Short Stature Action Plan for Fiji.
Ms Margherita is regarded as a powerful speaker and motivator. Her life and work has been profiled in The Australian (Lifelines section), The Gold Within by Noel Waite, Women’s Business, Women’s Wealth by Amanda Ellis. In 1999 Margherita was also the inaugural recipient of the Olive Zakharov scholarship for women in management.