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1. FIJIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH VANUATU ACTING HEAD OF STATE – His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau met this week with the Acting President of Vanuatu His Excellency Phillip Boedoro at Government House.
2. FIJIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH STUDENTS IN PORT VILA – His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau met with Fijian students in Vanuatu last night and reminded them on the importance of their studies.
3. GOVERNMENT TO ESTABLISH REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH UNIT – The establishment of a new Reproductive Health Unit in Suva next year will commit authorities to address reproductive concerns and challenges.
4. FIJIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS WITH KOREA FIRST VICE MINISTER FOREIGN AFFAIRS -The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola today (22 October) met with the First Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Mr Kim Kyou-hyun in Seoul.
5. FIJI HIGH COMMISSION ORGANISES RECEPTION FOR FIJIAN STUDENTS IN MALAYSIA – The Fiji High Commission in Malaysia, in collaboration with Winning Magnitude Sdn Bhd of Malaysia, organised a welcome dinner for Fijian Government sponsored students earlier this month.
6. 36,272 BENEFIT FROM GOVERNMENT’S BUS FARE SUBSIDY – A total of 36,272 people comprising of senior citizens and persons with disabilities are benefiting from the government’s bus fare subsidy program.
7. UNESCO EMPHASISES IMPORTANCE OF CULTURE IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – At a meeting in New York today, the Assistant Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Mr Francesco Bandarin, sought the support of the Group of 77 and China in ensuring that culture is adequately reflected in the discussions and formulation of sustainable development goals.
8. NEWLY RENOVATED OFFICE POSITIONED TO BOOST AGRO PRODUCTION – The Ministry of Agriculture has renovated its Agricultural office on Koro Island in the Lomaiviti Group as part of efforts to improve service delivery to farmers on the island.
1 FIJIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH VANUATU ACTING HEAD OF STATE
His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau met this week with the Acting President of Vanuatu His Excellency Phillip Boedoro at Government House.
During their meeting, the President provided an update on Fiji’s path to elections adding that the recent promulgation of the Fiji Constitution is an important step in this electoral process.
Mr Boedoro who is the Speaker of the House of Representatives was updated on other matters including the electronic voter registration in Fiji.
“Work has already started towards achieving this with registrations in Fiji already well underway and we have over 500, 000 Fijian already registered,” President Nailatikau said.
“Registrations around the world have also begun with a team already in New Zealand registering our citizens there before they move to Australia and other part of the world,” Ratu Epeli said.
HE Boedoro thanked Ratu Epeli for visiting Vanuatu and said they were happy that Fiji had moved ahead positively in recent years and Vanuatu was looking forward to elections next year.
Mr Boedoro is acting in this capacity, as Vanuatu’s President, H.E Iolu Johnson Abil is currently ill. The President wished him well as he recovers from his illness.
2 FIJIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH STUDENTS IN PORT VILA
His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau met with Fijian students in Vanuatu last night and reminded them on the importance of their studies.
“I know you are either here on scholarship or privately funded but this should not stop you from giving your best in your education,” he said.
“You are the future of Fiji and your decisions are very important to Fiji and its running so make sure that you set your priorities right and graduate with high marks,” the President told the students.
He said Fiji’s 2013 Constitution provides Fiji’s youth the opportunity to make Fiji a very successful country.
“The Assenting of the Constitution means youth of Fiji have a much higher calling. The Constitution is all about youth,” he said.
“The Constitution has now provided a level playing field for all Fijians and everyone will now get an equal opportunity on what is available. It will come down on individuals.”
Close to 30 Fijian students study Legal Studies at the University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Post Vila faculty.
“Most of you will be voting for the first time but don’t just be excited about getting to vote. It is those responsibilities that come with decision making which is more important. So my message to you is get registered but exercise your rights with responsibility,” the Fijian Head of State said.
3 GOVERNMENT TO ESTABLISH REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH UNIT
The establishment of a new Reproductive Health Unit in Suva next year will commit authorities to address reproductive concerns and challenges.
Spearheaded by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, this development will target young Fijians to be involved in reproductive health awareness programs.
The Head of the Ministry, Dr Jiko Luveni said that this establishment commits her Ministry to provide consistent reproductive support especially to young girls and women in the country.
“Access to services is one of the key thematic areas of the Ministry’s empowerment programs for women and there needs to be more work done in terms of addressing the health issues of women and young girls in Fiji.”
“This Unit is dedicated to raise awareness and empower young people to effectively address the issues relating their reproductive health,” Dr Luveni said.
She said the Unit aims to provide reproductive health programs, targeting women and young people in rural and maritime areas.
“In particular, we will be targeting young girls who are out there in the rural areas who may be facing challenges in accessing health services and we hope to help them overcome barriers like culture that may prevent them from addressing issues concerning their reproductive health.
She said one of the key issues that would be addressed through the new Unit is unintended pregnancies among teenage girls.
“One of the key concepts for the program is to get the communities to take ownership of the program, enabling them to effectively understand about reproductive health, easily access the needed health services to make informed decisions.
The program will also involve the participation of Fiji’s youth as authorities work with each other to address reproductive health.
“In the process will be training 300 youth, in rural areas as agents for promoting reproductive health programs. This initiative will also educate young people on availability of contraceptives and preventative measures on addressing issues of teenage pregnancies, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS,” Dr Luveni added.
The new Unit will be based at the Ministry’s Headquarters in Suva.
4 FIJIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS WITH KOREA FIRST VICE MINISTER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola today (22 October) met with the First Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Mr Kim Kyou-hyun in Seoul.
Minister Kubuabola who is on his way to attend the PALM Ministerial Meeting in Japan took time to convey the Fijian government’s appreciation of the ROK’s continuous support and also provided an update on Fiji’s political development.
He said that Fiji is well on the way to democratic elections in 2014 with the achievement of important reform milestones including the adoption of Fiji’s new Constitution last month. He added that Fiji’s social and political landscape have been reformed and modernized to promote equality and freedom and do away with divisive practices.
“Social, political and economic development will now be premised on policies and programmes that promote unity, equality and togetherness,” Minister Kubuabola said.
He reiterated Fiji’s gratitude to the government of ROK for the support and understanding including its commitment to bilateral investment and trade initiatives.
In response, Vice Minister Kim commended Fiji’s effort saying that he was confident that Fiji would continue to progress further with its social, economic and political development.
“Like Fiji, we have had our own share of challenges and experience in the development process but we have progressed to become what we are today, and we are more than willing to share with you some of our experiences including technological development,” he said.
He added that the ROK valued Fiji’s support in their development including support to its candidacy to various UN agencies and other international government organizations.
First Vice Minister Kim reaffirmed ROK’s commitment to assisting Fiji in whatever way possible including cooperation in projects and programmes that are mutually beneficial.
The meeting was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Seoul Korea and was attended by senior officials including Fiji’s Resident Ambassador in Korea, His Excellency Filimone Kau and the ROK’s Ambassador Designate to Fiji, Mr Kim Seong-in.
5 FIJI HIGH COMMISSION ORGANISES RECEPTION FOR FIJIAN STUDENTS IN MALAYSIA
The Fiji High Commission in Malaysia, in collaboration with Winning Magnitude Sdn Bhd of Malaysia, organised a welcome dinner for Fijian Government sponsored students earlier this month.
The dinner was held at the Sunway Lagoon Resort, Kuala Lumpur and was the first to be organised by the Fiji High Commission.
In 2008, the Fijian Government through the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs began sending to Malaysia for study opportunities. This year, the Public Service Commission joined the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs in sending students to Malaysia and there are now are 34 students in Malaysia sponsored by both agencies.
Amongst the guests at the dinner was the CEO of Winning Magnitude, Mr Kabilan Muniandy whose company is the focal point for the Government in finding placements for sponsored students.
Mr Muniandy addressed the students and thanked them for choosing Malaysia, saying that this is a reflection of the positive standard of Malaysia’s higher education. Also present was the CEO of Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) Mr Yazid Hamid. EMGS is the new agency responsible for the processing of student visa. In his address to the students, Mr Hamid reiterated that the processing of students’ entrance to Malaysia next year would be improved.
Mr Muniandy said that the EMGS is also liaising with the various industries in Malaysia regarding the possibility of students’ taking up internship placements once they have completed their studies.
The keynote address was delivered by Fiji’s High Commissioner in Malaysia, Ratu Meli Bainimarama who welcomed the newly sponsored students in Malaysia and reminded them of importance of completing their studies and returning home to contribute to the Government’s vision of building a better Fiji for all.
“By accepting the scholarship, you have abandoned yourself to the Government’s long-term objective of creating a smarter Fiji through, amongst others, higher education. In the face of greater global competition and in our pursuit for a knowledge-based economy, a great education is more important than ever. A higher education is the single best investment Government has made in your future. Now that you are on the scholarship, please do your best to complete your studies.”
He reminded guests on the Fijian Government’s commitment to continue sending students to Malaysia in 2014 and reiterated the Prime Minister’s personal commitment to making education available to empower Fiji’s youth.
“Our Prime Minister has said it many times, but it bears mentioning again: Education is a cornerstone of Fiji’s future and in this context, there is no more important issue in Fiji than empowering our young people through education”.
High Commissioner Bainimarama also thanked Winning Magnitude for assisting Fijian students and that the Fijian Government will continue to work with the company in securing placements for its sponsored students.
6 36,272 BENEFIT FROM GOVERNMENT’S BUS FARE SUBSIDY
A total of 36,272 people comprising of senior citizens and persons with disabilities are benefiting from the government’s bus fare subsidy program.
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni said to date, there are 35074 elderly, (60 years and over), along with 1198 persons with disability who are benefiting from the bus fare subsidy.
“If we look at the census, in Fiji we have about 62,000 people who are 60 years and above in age. Until now we have only just over 50 percent of that number who are benefiting from the bus fare scheme. There are about 36,272 beneficiaries of the bus fare subsidy and majority of these are senior citizens.”
“The Department of Social Welfare processes all the applications for bus fare subsidy, those who want to apply have to provide their passport photos and birth certificate and we process the Identification Card (ID) cards. For elderly they carry a yellow ID card and for permanently disabled they have a red ID card.”
“With the inclusion of electronic ticketing they are given their e-ticketing cards free of charge from the Vodafone Fiji Limited. The conditions are still be the same even when using e-ticketing card, those 60 years and above pay half the bus fare while persons with disabilities can travel for free,” Dr Luveni explained.
The bus fare scheme is an agreement between the government and the Fiji Bus Operators Association (FBOA) that was signed in 2011 and it allows elderly persons with age of 60 years and above to pay half the fare while disabled persons are eligible for free bus fares.
7 UNESCO EMPHASISE IMPORTANCE OF CULTURE IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
At a meeting in New York today, the Assistant Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Mr Francesco Bandarin, sought the support of the Group of 77 and China in ensuring that culture is adequately reflected in the discussions and formulation of sustainable development goals.
Mr Bandarin made that request at a meeting with the Chair of G77 in New York, who was represented by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations, Mr. Luke Daunivalu.
At the meeting, Mr Bandarin thanked Fiji for the vital role it undertakes as current Chair of the Group of 77 and China and further shared the views of UNESCO on the importance of culture in the formulation of sustainable development goals.
He discussed some of UNESCO’s major expectations and concerns, particularly the manner in which culture has been left out of the discourse for the future development goals. Mr. Daunivalu stressed that for developing countries, culture is a prominent part of their society and its integration into the future development framework is only natural. The main challenge is to translate that ideal into concrete goals and commitments. UNESCO’s support in that regard is therefore necessary. Mr Daunivalu added that awareness-raising and appropriate sensitization efforts would assist member States of the United Nations to achieve that goal.
In the lead up to 2015, UNESCO is targeting to convene a conference in New York to bring together experts to help refocus discussions and integrate culture into the formulation of the post-2015 development agenda. In particular, UNESCO hopes that the UN resolution on “Culture and development” will assist in fulfilling that objective, calling for the mainstreaming of culture into development policies and strategies, while underscoring culture’s intrinsic contribution to sustainable development.
UNESCO played a key role in the recognition of Levuka as Fiji’s first World Heritage Site, which was finally listed in June 2013.
8 NEWLY RENOVATED OFFICE POSITIONED TO BOOST AGRO PRODUCTION
The Ministry of Agriculture has renovated its Agricultural office on Koro Island in the Lomaiviti Group as part of efforts to improve service delivery to farmers on the island.
The Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development permanent secretary, Mr Filipe Alifereti who led the team of government officials on a tour of the Lomaiviti Group, recently opened the renovated office.
“I am glad to be part of this great achievement and hope that our staff will elevate the assistance rendered to the people of this island,” said Mr Alifereti.
“This year Government has estimated an increase of 5.2 percent in crop production for the country till December 2013 with the island of Koro known as one of the major contributors of dalo and yaqona.”
“I encourage our farmers to use the vacant land on export commodities such as dalo, yaqona, ginger, uvi, and tavioka so that we can increase exports and reduce import by year 2015,” said Mr Alifereti.
The delegation included the Permanent Secretary for Fisheries and Forest Mr Inoke Wainiqolo, Permanent Secretary for Youth and Sports Mr Josefa Sania, Commissioner Eastern Mr Netani Rika, Commissioner Central Mr Laisenia Tuitubou, Deputy Secretary for Agriculture Development Mr Uraia Waibuta and Ministry officials also visited the Bio-Fuel project on the island as part of the tour program and discussed with villagers and farming groups on areas that required assistance and improvements.
Mr Alifereti expressed gratitude to the farmers of the Tikina of Cawa and Mudu for all their hard work and contribution to sustain the overseas markets. He also thanked the Ministry for Agriculture and the Department of Fisheries and Forests for all the development carried out on the Island.