- FORMER HONORARY CONSUL IN HONG KONG AWARDED THE “ORDER OF FIJI” – THE Fijian Government today conferred the Order of Fiji award to Fiji’s former Honorary Consul in Hong Kong, Professor Desmond Yu Tai Lee.
- WOMEN EXPO OPENING DOORS FOR NETWORKING – Women groups from all over the country have commended Fiji’s first National Women’s Expo which was officially opened today by Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama.
- WOMEN LEADERS PROMOTE CAPACITY BUILDING – Over 50 traditional women leaders from across the 14 provinces in Fiji have converged in Suva today for the first ever “Marama ni Yavusa” program aimed to build capacity of women leaders in their communities.
- FIJI PRESENTS ‘SUVA DECLARATION’ AT UNESCAP MEETING – The Fijian Government delegation currently attending the 70th Session of UNESCAP have presented a draft resolution sponsored by Fiji.
- TEXTILE, CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR COUNCIL REASSURED OF SUPPORT – Government has reassured the textile, clothing and footwear industry stakeholders of its support as they are major contributors to the Fijian economy.
1 FORMER HONORARY CONSUL IN HONG KONG AWARDED THE “ORDER OF FIJI”
THE Fijian Government today conferred the Order of Fiji award to Fiji’s former Honorary Consul in Hong Kong, Professor Desmond Yu Tai Lee.
Acting President and Chief Justice Anthony Gates conferred the honorary office of the Order of Fiji award to Dr Lee at Boron House in Suva.
Dr Lee said during his term there have been positive bilateral relations between Fiji and Hong Kong.
“The relations between Fiji and Hong Kong has become stronger; there are few achievements that perhaps need mention,” Dr Lee said.
“Hong Kong and Chinese passport holders were granted visa free access to Fiji and in 2009 Fiji signed air services agreement between China and Fiji,” Dr Lee said.
“I would like to commend the Fijian government for recognising the work that has been done over the years and we will continue to pursue opportunities in other areas,” he said.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said the Government was grateful for the dedication and commitment that Dr Lee has made for Fiji when he was a honorary consul for 22 years.
Minister Kubuabola said during the two decades of his honorary service, Dr Lee facilitated and provided assistance to all Fijian dignitaries and citizens who sought help in Hong Kong. He said during that period, Dr Lee witnessed major changes in Fiji and has also contributed to Fiji’s international relations.
Ratu Inoke conveyed on behalf of both the Fijian Government and the Fijian people, his gratitude to Dr Lee for his service to the nation.
2 WOMEN EXPO OPENING DOORS FOR NETWORKING
Women groups from all over the country have commended Fiji’s first National Women’s Expo which was officially opened today by Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama.
The three day expo is designed to put spotlight on the talents of our female artisans, farmers and small to medium businesswomen, particularly those from rural areas.
Commending the government initiative, 74 year old Nabubu villager, Dimeri Caucaunitabua said she was thankful to the Ministry of Women for giving them the opportunity to showcase their products and demonstrate their skills during this event.
“We are pleased to be able to part of the expo and to network with other women that are here this week,” Ms Cacaunitabua said.
“I am grateful to government as well for paying our transportation costs and accommodation to enable us to be here.
“It’s great to be able to attend events such as these as usually we women in the village are always busy with traditional obligations and engagements,” she added.
Similar sentiments were shared by Lakshmi Women’s Group member, Nutan Chand.
“I am part of a 80 member women’s group in Navua and it is an honour for us to be here today,” Ms Chand said.
“I am looking forward to the next two days as I will be able to showcase the doily products that I have made and also participate in the various trainings that have been organised for us.
“This is the first time for me to attend an event of this sort and I am looking forward to learning something new and making new friends also.”
More than 2000 women from around Fiji are in Suva for the expo and members of the public are being urged to visit the Vodafone Arena to participate in this national event.
3 WOMEN LEADERS PROMOTE CAPACITY BUILDING
Over 50 traditional women leaders from across the 14 provinces in Fiji have converged in Suva today for the first ever “Marama ni Yavusa” program aimed to build capacity of women leaders in their communities.
Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni said the program focuses on building the capacity of the Marama ni Yavusa or the Mataqali.
“The program addresses leadership & good governance principals together with communication and confidence building,” Dr Luveni said.
“There are a total of 1293 villages, 144 tikina and 14 provinces in Fiji of which a total of 170 women hold traditional titles.”
Dr Luveni said the statutory bodies by gender are a ratio of 77-per cent men to 23-per cent women, including the 14 provincial council members.
The three day workshop will have a selection of key note speakers including the facilitation of a leadership tool kit which can be replicated at local village level.
Dr Luveni added that championing gender should not be the sole responsibility of the Ministry but the responsibility of all sectors of the government including the private sector.
This program was made possible in partnership with the iTaukei Affairs Board and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
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4 FIJI PRESENTS ‘SUVA DECLARATION’ AT UNESCAP MEETING
The Fijian Government delegation currently attending the 70th Session of UNESCAP have presented a draft resolution sponsored by Fiji.
Entitled “The Implementation of the Suva Declaration on Improving Maritime Transport and Related Services in the Pacific,” the head of the Fiji delegation and permanent secretary for the Ministry of Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, Pita Wise, presented the draft to the Working Group.
In his statement, Mr Wise said that UNESCAP convened the High- level Meeting on Strengthening Inter-island Shipping and Logistics in the Pacific Island Countries in Suva from 23-25 July 2013.
The meeting was conducted in collaboration with the International Maritime Organization, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and was attended by 33 delegates of 18 Pacific countries and territories, 42 representatives of 19 specialized agencies and related organizations, intergovernmental organizations and other entities. The Suva Declaration was adopted by acclamation at the end of that meeting on July 25.
“The Pacific Island Countries strongly support the Draft Resolution because it seeks to address the inherent transport connectivity barriers that currently exist in the Pacific. These barriers pose significant stumbling blocks to develop our capacities to achieve enhanced regional integration despite the multiple vulnerabilities that are beyond our control,” Mr Wise said.
“The Suva Declaration provides us with another opportunity to pool resources from not just the region but in the south-south, north-south and triangular cooperation with the other sub regions and our more developed partners in the ESCAP Regional Commission,” Mr Wise added.
The Working Group has endorsed the Draft Resolution, which paves the way for its adoption by the Commission later this week.
5 TEXTILE, CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR COUNCIL REASSURED OF SUPPORT
Government has reassured the textile, clothing and footwear industry stakeholders of its support as they are major contributors to the Fijian economy.
Permanent secretary for the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Shaheen Ali acknowledged the industry’s role in the economy at the Annual General Meeting & Industry Discussion at Textile Clothing & Footwear (TCF) Council of Fiji.
“The Fijian Government identifies the TCF industry as an integral contributor towards providing employment to Fijians, currently employing 5,500 workers, the majority being women, and contributing towards growth of the Fijian economy through trade,” Mr Ali said.
“Over recent years, the industry has rapidly become a critical part of the economic structure of Fiji, exporting garments to Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Pacific
Island Countries,” he added.
Mr Ali highlighted that with the expiring of the SPARTECA-TCF scheme at the end of this year, Government will continue its efforts to assist the Fijian TCF industry in its reliance on market access to Australia and New Zealand.
“As most of you will be aware, our Fijian TCF industry is export oriented and heavily reliant on preferential market access to Australia (and New Zealand) under the original SPARTECA and the SPARTECA TCF Scheme. However, the SPARTECA-TCF scheme will expire at the end of 2014, which will affect duty free Fijian exports to Australia. Government is determined to win an extension of the SPARTECA,” Mr Ali said.
“Government is committed to working with industry players to identify and overcome these challenges by implementing reforms to adapt to the ever-changing international trading rules.”
Mr Ali further added that Fiji has the potential to become a leader in the TCF industry in the Pacific and beyond with a focus on quality and targeting niche markets where the industry has (or can develop) a competitive advantage.
Textile Clothing & Footwear (TCF) Council president, Kaushik Kumar expressed the council’s appreciation to Government for it’s support through the marketing grant to the TCF industry.
“We have been receiving $100,000 a year under the National Export Strategy grant which has been used very effectively to promote the TCF sector in the in overseas markets mainly in Australia, participating in trade fairs in USA,” Mr Kumar said.
“Advertisements and promotions in industrial related magazines have only been possible because of the funding we have received from Government. The results of our participation and promotional activities have seen an increase in the employment numbers in the industry as well as increase in import figures,” he added.
Mr Kumar confirmed that Fiji is the only country in the Pacific making garments and does not have any competitors.