- FIJI AND UAE SIGN MOU ON MILITARY COOPERATION – Fiji and the United Arab Emirates today further strengthened their bilateral relations through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military cooperation.
- FIJI CHAIRS UNFCCC SUBSIDIARY BODY MEETINGS – In another first for Fiji, the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation permanent secretary Amena Yauvoli, takes up the vital role as Chair for the Subsidiary Body of Implementation (SBI) for the UN body that looks after Climate Change from this month.
- FIJIAN PUBLIC SERVICE RE-ENGAGES WITH AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION – Senior government officials are currently attending a series of meetings and events arranged by the Australian Public Service Commission to share knowledge and information relevant to the challenges faced by the Fiji Public Sector.
- WOMEN TO UNDERGO FINANCIAL LITERACY TRAINING – Women micro entrepreneurs will now benefit from the Financial Literacy training program facilitated by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation.
- HEALTH MINISTER CONFIDENT IN ADDRESSING RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE–Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma is confident and determined on the progress and innovative approaches taken to address Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) in Fiji.
1. FIJI AND UAE SIGN MOU ON MILITARY COOPERATION
Fiji and the United Arab Emirates today further strengthened their bilateral relations through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military cooperation.
The MOU was signed by the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commander, Brigadier-General, Mosese Tikoitoga and Major General Staff Pilot, Mohammad Rashid Obaid Al Ali of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.
The MOU will allow exchange of defence-related information, military training and education as well as cooperation in areas of security.
Major General Ali of the UAE Armed Forces said that the MOU is a huge step forward in enhancing military cooperation between the two countries.
“This document will assist us in beginning our cooperation together and we hope that we will work together on various fields relating to military cooperation,” Major General Ali said.
RFMF Commander, Brigadier General, Mosese Tikoitoga said that the MOU enhances the capacity of the RFMF and Fiji looked forward to working with the UAE Armed Forces.
“This MOU is the beginning of a new and important relationship in the defence agreement between the UAE Armed Forces and the RFMF which will go a long way in establishing formal negotiations and ties in furthering our engagements,” Brigadier-General Tikoitoga said.
“Fiji has served in the Middle East region for over 30 years, learning a lot from these peace-keeping efforts and we would like to thank the UAE Armed Forces for the opportunity to sharing their expertise with us.”
The UAE Armed Forces also expressed their appreciation to the Fijian government for hosting them.
2. FIJI CHAIRS UNFCCC SUBSIDIARY BODY MEETINGS
In another first for Fiji, the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation permanent secretary Amena Yauvoli, takes up the vital role as Chair for the Subsidiary Body of Implementation (SBI) for the UN body that looks after Climate Change from this month.
The SBI is one of the two bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change, the other one being Subsidiary Body for Science and Technological Advice (SBSTA).
The SBI is charged with implementation of work under the UNFCCC.
Climate change negotiations are currently underway in Bonn, Germany encompassing the 40th sessions of the subsidiary bodies SBI and SBSTA, as well as the resumed second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).
For the first time at a June session, there will be a ministerial level meeting designed to provide guidance, confidence and further impetus for governments working on their national contributions to the new, universal climate change agreement in Paris in 2015.
Leaders will also meet to advance implementation of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and to accelerate other emission reduction efforts.
The Bonn meetings are also taking place in the wake of the release of recent reports of the IPCC on adaptation and mitigation, which are part of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).
The Fijian delegation to the meeting include Climate Change director, Dr Mahendra Kumar; Disaster Management Office director, Manasa Tagicakibau; Conservator of Forest, Samuel Lagitaki; Deputy Conservator, Eliki Senivasa and Manasa Katonivualiku and Joteshna Zenos from the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In his opening statement, Mr Yauvoli appealed for the cooperation of all Parties in going through the key items on the SBI agenda so that they are strongly placed to take key decisions and provide a solid basis for the Conference of Parties (COP) meeting in Paris in 2015.
The Paris COP is expected to take a decision on a successor agreement that will be the basis of a comprehensive global response to climate change that will address reduction of greenhouse gases (mitigation), adaptation and the necessary support to countries to make this possible.
Countries are being urged to take bold measures and ambitious targets to reduce emissions and ensure that the temperature rise remains below 2 degrees Celsius.
Business as usual will lead to temperatures rises that will lead to damaging and irreversible impacts on life and ecosystems with devastating consequences.
3. FIJIAN PUBLIC SERVICE RE-ENGAGES WITH AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
Senior government officials are currently attending a series of meetings and events in Canberra arranged by the Australian Public Service Commission to share knowledge and information relevant to the challenges faced by the Fiji Public Sector.
Officials attending this meeting include Public Service Commission permanent secretary Parmesh Chand, Finance ministry permanent secretary Filimone Waqabaca, Deputy Secretary for Finance Kelera Vakaloloma and the PSC Policy, Research and Advisory Services director Kelera Nukutaumaki.
The program focuses on strategic public sector challenges including the prerequisites for devolution of human resource management (HRM) policies and procedures to line agencies, coordination of public sector reforms by central key agencies and key financial and human resource strategies including performance management.
Mr Chand said this study tour will give the delegates the opportunity to examine and discuss with Australian counterparts approaches to key issues such as performance management, leadership development and human capital planning.
Mr Chand said the tour will also set the platform for future collaboration and assistance between public sectors of the two countries.
4. WOMEN TO UNDERGO FINANCIAL LITERACY TRAINING
Women micro entrepreneurs will now benefit from the Financial Literacy training program facilitated by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation.
The Ministry today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Westpac Banking Corporation to help women micro-entrepreneurs gain financial education and business skills
Minister Dr Jiko Luveni said the Ministry is working with banks to boost its financial inclusion programmes.
“We really need to have a close working relationship with Westpac given that it is the bank for social welfare recipients,” Dr Luveni said.
“This MOU being signed today is another step that will enhance this partnership.”
Dr Luveni said the Ministry has already provided eight such training to communities in Ba, Tailevu, Ra and Ovalau and will continue to target other areas.
Westpac Banking Corporation general manager, Adrian Hughes highlighted that this partnership will hold free financial literacy programs for women to help them understand about their finances, how to budget and the importance of saving.
“This partnership aims to help women micro-entrepreneurs gain financial education and business skills to understand the concept and make use of business expansion via micro–finance options,” Mr Hughes said.
“We provide these programs not only in urban areas but also to rural and maritime zones and conduct trainings for the women on leadership and entrepreneurship.”
The program will provide women with greater independence and empowerment and encourage them to lean more towards having independent careers.
5. HEALTH MINISTER CONFIDENT IN ADDRESSING RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE
Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma is confident and determined on the progress and innovative approaches taken to address Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) in Fiji.
Work on RHD has been ongoing since 2005 and support from the private sector has boosted and improved the entire spectrum of healthcare.
“Health (Ministry) has benefitted from the social corporate responsibility of the private sector which is evident from the collaboration with the Rotary Club of Suva and the Ministry of Education in raising awareness on RHD,” Dr Sharma said.
“A sustainable partnership in health service delivery assists in improving access to secondary and tertiary levels of care.”
RHD is an area of concern as prevalence has been found in children between the ages of 4-19. To address child mortality, the Health Ministry and the Government over the past five years has developed programs to address and reduce the rates of child mortality.
For instance in primary health care, antenatal nutrition has been focused on, with the provision of food vouchers, iron and folic acid supplementation, addressing child nutrition through the NIMS and Vita-meal program.
The Ministry has now in place an evolving Challenged Child concept, school health and oral health screenings and revitalization of Community Health Worker Schemes. While in secondary health care, pediatric and medical outreach programs have been further extended.
“We have taken a step further in tertiary health care with the availability of surgeries conducted locally and with patients being referred for specialist treatment abroad. Vodafone Foundation has been supportive in sending children for complex surgery to India”, Dr Sharma added.
To further strengthen this area of concern, research and training has been ongoing since 2008. Nurses have been trained to conduct cardiac ultrasound in children for early detection of RHD.
Meanwhile Dr Sharma recently undertook a presentation at the World Heart Federation (WHF) held in Melbourne Australia on Fiji’s experience on Private/Public Partnership in Rheumatic Heart Disease.