Caption: Minister for Local Government Colonel Saumatua unveils the National Environment Celebrations Campaign banner. Photo: MINFO.
1. MORE COOPERATION NEEDED TO BETTER ADDRESS ENVIRONMENT ISSUES
Government has set platforms to work with various stakeholders to better enforce and strengthen environment laws in communities.
This was relayed by the Minister for Local Government, Colonel Samuela Saumatua at the launch of National Environment celebration campaign which coincides with World Biodiversity Day at Colo-i-Suva today.
“The theme for this year’s celebration is Greener Fiji: Our Lifestyle. Working together for safer home,” Colonel Saumatua said.
Colonel Saumatua said the theme reflects cooperation and integration of work programmes between government and non-government organisations and communities.
“The (National Environment) celebrations is the first of its kind and the event will create a platform to raise awareness in our communities on the different environment issues,” he said.
Colonel Saumatua said environmental issues needs to be addressed through an integrated approach as it impacts on the country’s economic development, social stability and contributes to environment degradation.
He challenged all stakeholders present at the event to create more awareness to protect the environment for our future generations.
Meanwhile, the Department of Environment is currently training litter prevention officers within community settings to better inform people about litter laws.
Director for Environment, Jope Davetanivalu highlighted that the department is working hard to ensure that people adhere to the Litter Decree law.
“Parts of the new laws state that a person or corporate body or any organizations that both directly or indirectly deposit and abandon any dangerous litter in public is considered as an offence,” Mr Davetanivalu said.
All stakeholders are adamant that through this integrated approach, they will be able to bring forth positive changes in attitudes towards environment sustainability.
2. FASANOC AND NETBALL FIJI RECEIVE GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE FOR PREPARATIONS
Two sporting organisations received a major financial boost today for overseas tournament preparations under government’s allocation of $1.5 million for assisting sporting bodies.
Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASNOC) and Netball Fiji received a cheque of $49,000 and $80,000 respectively from the Fiji National Sports Commission for their preparation for international tournaments.
Fiji National Sports Commission (FNSC) executive chairman, Peter Mazey said the contributions given to the two sporting organisations was part of government’s allocation of $1.5 million to assist FASANOC (Pacific Mini Games), Netball Fiji (World Youth Championships in Glasgow and Pacific Netball Series in Samoa), Rugby League (World Championships in United Kingdom) and Fiji Rugby (7s World Cup in Moscow).
Mr Mazey said government has provided substantial funding for sporting developments this year.
“We have an additional $1.5 million for those sports and additional funds as well for assisting other sporting organisations in the hosting of tournaments in Fiji, bringing in sporting experts and scholarships for athletes to go overseas,” Mr Mazey said.
FASANOC chief executive officer, Lorraine Mar said that FASANOC was grateful for the assistance and for government’s support towards Team Fiji.
“FASANOC has already utilised its resources in terms of giving preparation grants to the various sporting bodies,” Ms Mar said.
“From last year, we had said that government’s contribution would be forwarded to them once we receive it which we will immediately do after this as this money will be used for training the athletes.”
Expressing her gratitude to the FNSC, Netball Fiji president, Wainikiti Bogidrau said the contribution received today would go towards the Pacific Netball Series.
“We are taking two teams across- our national team and our under 21 squad,” Ms Bogidrau said.
“They will be playing in the second tier competition against the Samoan Under 21 team. As for our national team, they are there to defend their title, they will be playing Papua New Guinea on June 4th, Cook Islands on June 5th and Samoa the host nation who are also our strongest competitors,” she said.
The FNSC also confirmed that total contributions for the year to FASANOC will be $142,000 and $210,000 for Netball Fiji.
3. AIRPORT UPGRADE RECEIVES OVERWHELMING INTEREST
Airports Fiji Limited (AFL) is receiving overwhelming interests from contractors around the globe for the redesign of the Nadi International Airport.
AFL acting chief executive officer, Naushad Ali said they have received expressions of interest from companies as far as South Africa for works expected to begin in July.
“We have received overwhelming responses from China, Korea, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other local companies that have shown interest in these major works at Fiji’s main gateway,” Mr Ali said.
“This shows the level of interest from renowned international and local companies who want to be part of the unique designing of the new look Nadi Airport terminal.”
Initial plans are now being developed on a multi-million dollar upgrade with special emphasis on new and improved passenger facilities such as retail shopping and dining.
“We are currently in the designing stages and Fiji will soon boast a modern international airport with local architecture to portray the unique Fijian culture,” Mr Ali said.
“We are not rushing into things but we hope to start by July and we want to do it right.”
Mr Ali said the urgency of the upgrade aligned well with the recent Government decree that has cancelled all present concessionaires’ contracts for a twelve month period, while new contracts are either entered into or tendered out, based on the upgraded facilities.
Many of the changes would be integrated into a new, larger departure lounge extending out to the edge of passenger walkways that provide access to and from departing or arriving aircraft.
Mr Ali said the changes would also improve passenger facilitation by creating more space for passengers to be comfortably processed when arriving or departing from Nadi.
The proposed changes are believed to create a better environment for all stakeholders.
“Ultimately it will be our visitors to Fiji who will benefit, enjoying an international shopping and food experience in surroundings that would be world-class, and a fitting first and last impression of the country at Nadi International Airport,” Mr Ali said.
The airport serves close to a million international passengers every year at its single terminal.
The last major upgrade to the Nadi airport had been done in 2003, with an investment of FJ$72m while 26,000m” apron area was replaced in 2006 at a total cost of about FJ$11m.
4. FIJI SOON TO HAVE DEEP SEA MINING TESTS
Deep sea test drilling in Fiji’s exclusive economic zone for Seafloor Massive Sulphides (SMS) is likely to begin in the next few years to see the level of minerals in Fiji’s waters.
Mineral Resources director, Malakai Finau said Fiji has the potential of minerals under the seabed within Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone which has been established over the years through past research.
“The key here is exploration not mining. The licenses have been issued to a Korean Company and a Multi-National Company while an Australian Company’s application is being processed,” Mr Finau said.
Mr Finau added that there is a process in place where Fiji’s mining laws, especially on deep sea mining, will be developed.
“Although we don’t have a current law regarding deep sea mining, we have a policy that is the overall mechanism and is quite adequate at this time. As time comes we will be able to develop our own laws relating to deep sea mining,” he said.
He said that the total number of exploration licenses issued is 17 out of which 2 are for Deep Sea mining exploration.
Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute (KORDI) which has been issued with a research and exploration licence has reported findings of high grade mineral potential locations in the western waters of Fiji’s EEZ.
KORDI Minerals Limited Director Jang Wan Bang said test drilling will begin in the next two years for further research.
“We have found a few locations with very high potential for SMS,” Mr Wan Bang said.
“This potential sites are between Fiji and Vanuatu but remains in the EEZ of Fiji and we have been researching from our vessel last year.”
“Later this year, we will use underwater vehicles to get clearer pictures of the seabed before test drilling begins in three years time.”
5. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS STUDY IN KOREA ON OFFER
The Global Collaborative Scholarship Program is offering three partial scholarships for undergraduate studies in International Relations at Korea’s Kyung Hee University.
Public Service Commission (PSC), permanent secretary Parmesh Chand said Fiji is grateful to the Government of the Republic of Korea for education assistance which will build the capacities and knowledge of civil servants in international affairs and will directly contribute to building better global and regional partnership for the country.
Mr Chand is encouraging members of the public who meet the criteria to apply for this offer.
The scholarship entitlements will include full tuition fees, monthly allowance of up to USD$500, accommodation, return air-fares and other costs.
Applicants must be Fiji citizens, must have completed primary and secondary school at the time of application, be recommended by the Ambassador/Consul of his/her country to Korea, not be under any bonding obligation, have a good command of spoken and written English and be physically and mentally fit.
Successful applicants will be required to study for four to five years depending on how fast he or she is able to learn Korean.
Details of the programme and application forms can be obtained from the PSC website www.psc.gov.fj . Interested candidates may also visit the websites www.kyunghee.edu <http://www.kyunghee.edu> or http://ciss.khu.ac.kr for more information.
Applications must include three copies (one original and two copies) of the completed application form for admission with photo attached, self-introductory essay, study plan, recommendation letter from a professor of Kyung Hee University, Ambassador of the applicant’s country residing in Korea, Ambassador of Korea residing in the applicant’s country or principal of the applicant’s high school, copy of high school results (form 7), copy of high school transcripts, birth certificate, copy of the front page of the passport and a completed Training Needs Analysis (TNA) form.
6. KAVA EXPORT TO INCREASE BY 18,000 KILOS
Fiji’s kava exports could soon increase by 18, 000 kilograms per month to the Unites States of America once final paper work is completed between the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) and an American company.
AMA sales and marketing officer, Alifereti Yaya says they are currently talking to an American investor who is arranging his company before finalising the deal.
“We have been talking to this US Company which wants to start importing Fijian kava for the US market,” Mr Yaya said.
“Currently, we are exporting kava to the States but should this deal follow through, we could see our kava exports to go up by 18,000kgs per month. That is kava which is not pounded.”
Fiji currently exports kava to Australia, USA, New Zealand, Kiribati and the United Kingdom (Fijian citizens) which earns the nation between $7 million to $8m annually.
Exported kava to these countries is for consumption while some use it as research for pharmaceutical needs.
“Right now, Fiji kava is being exported for drinking. Only two kilos are allowed by travellers or visitors to Australia per person because of the ban it placed earlier while British Army, Rugby players and other people in the United Kingdom take kava with them or have kava sent to them by friends and family members.”
7. “GREEN MEAL” CHALLENGE TO PROMOTE ECO- FRIENDLY MEALS
The Department of Environment has organized a “Green Meal” challenge to promote the production of meals in an eco- friendly manner.
Senior environment officer and challenge organizer, Sarah Tawaka said the purpose of the challenge is to bring out the message in line with International Environment Day Celebrations.
“The whole concept or aim behind the green meal competition is to try and bring out the message to the people and the service providers, basically to reduce our footprints, this is in line with the International Environment Day Celebration theme which is “Eat safe and reduce your footprints”,” Ms Tawaka said.
She added that human’s ways of producing meals and other things affect nature.
“We tend to leave a lot of our waste behind, and we do not realize that we are harming our natural resources and let alone our environment, which we need to preserve and keep safe,” Ms Tawaka added.
Ms Tawaka said there will be various activities such as the two screening sessions and the final judging session which will be held on August 16, before announcing the winner of the challenge.
Those who wish to participate in the challenge may enter in either the individual category or the companies’ category. Registration began on May 22 and will close on June 12.