1. PRESIDENT VISITS BALATA HIGH – His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today visited two high schools in the Tavua District to continue his advocacy on HIV and AIDS.
2. MAINTAIN UNCCD BUDGET – SALACAKAU – On behalf of the G77 and China, Fiji has called on members of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) not to decrease the Budget if parties are to see effective implementation of the Convention.
3. FIJI TO SHARE REFORM EXPERIENCES AT PACIFIC CONFERENCE – Fiji will continue to share its experiences in civil service reforms with other Pacific island countries this week at the Pacific Public Service Commissioners’ Conference (PPSCC) in Apia, Samoa from September 25-27.
4. EXPORTERS URGED TO BE INNOVATIVE – The Fijian government continues to assist exporters in getting best market access through strengthened trading infrastructure and environment.
5. MORE THAN $100K ASSISTANCE FOR NADOGO FROM GOVT – Government’s assistance of more than $100,000 for Nadogo Central College has been commended by the community and school management.
6. FIJIAN STUDENTS SETTLING WELL IN CHINA – Twenty two Fijian students who left the country recently to undertake studies in the People’s Republic of China have all settled in well.
7. SIX NEW RESOURCE CENTRES FOR WOMEN OF FIJI – Good news for women across the country as the Ministry of Women will open six new women centres before the end of the year.
1 FIJI PRESIDENT VISITS BALATA HIGH
His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today visited two high schools in the Tavua District to continue his advocacy on HIV and AIDS.
Speaking to the students, the Head of State reminded them on Government’s commitment towards ensuring that those persons living with HIV and AIDS do not face discrimination and also have access to anti lateral viral drugs. He added that as Fiji’s president, he was happy to note that there were no reported cases of students in schools that are HIV positive.
“According to statistics for Fiji – there are no students that are currently reported and I pray that it remains like that,” Ratu Epeli said.
However, he urged students to concentrate on studying and fulfilling their dreams and to live life to its fullest.
“Government has brought a level playing field for all and with term three already well underway, I wish those students sitting for external exams all the best – remember you are competing with the rest of Fiji, so give it your best shot.”
Tomorrow he is expected to be at Tavua College – the last secondary school for the Head of State to visit on Viti Levu before he travels to Vanua Levu and the outer islands.
2 MAINTAIN UNCCD BUDGET – SALACAKAU
On behalf of the G77 and China, Fiji has called on members of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) not to decrease the Budget if parties are to see effective implementation of the Convention.
Fiji’s High Commissioner to South Africa, His Excellency Beniamino Salacakau made these comments at the High Level Inter active Dialogue session amongst Ministers and Other Officials at the Special Session of the 11th Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD (COP11) currently under way in Windhoek, Namibia today.
In his statement to the COP, High Commissioner Salacakau said that “It is imperative that we reduce unnecessary expenditure and bureaucratic inefficiencies to improve the performance of the Convention’s subsidiary bodies. Policy developments need to be translated into concrete actions on the ground in order to improve the living conditions of our populations and the integrity of our environment”.
Fiji has been attending the COP11 in its capacity as Chair of G77. The Fiji delegation has been led by Fiji’s High Commissioner to South Africa, supported by Counselor Sainivalati Navoti of the Fiji Mission to the UN.
UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.
The Convention’s 195 parties work together to improve the living conditions for people in drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought. The UNCCD is particularly committed to a bottom-up approach, encouraging the participation of local people in combating desertification and land degradation. Fiji ratified the UNCCD on 26 August, 1998.
Although desertification and drought are challenges of a global dimension, the G77 is of the view that many of the solutions will be found at the regional, national and local level. Regional coordination plays a critical role in bridging the gap between local successful initiatives and international decision-making level. UNCCD COP11 will conclude on Friday 27 November, 2013.
3 FIJI TO SHARE REFORM EXPERIENCES AT PACIFIC CONFERENCE
Fiji will continue to share its experiences in civil service reforms with other Pacific island countries this week at the Pacific Public Service Commissioners’ Conference (PPSCC) in Apia, Samoa from September 25-27.
Public Service Commission (PSC) permanent secretary Mr Parmesh Chand said Fiji has also been identified as one of the countries to report on its significant reform approaches in areas of Workforce Capability and Training.
“Fiji is expected to showcase its current reform activities and strategies towards selected key governance areas pertaining to the Conference theme. We will share our experiences with our fellow neighbouring countries and also hear and learn from their experiences.
“As a result, we will be enriched with new ideas and change initiatives for improved delivery of services to ordinary members of the public,” Mr Chand said.
The theme for this year’s Conference is “Public Service role in Social, Economic, Cultural and Institutional change within the Pacific.” Mr Chand said that speakers will present on the theme of the conference and member countries will have the opportunity to reflect the same in their country reports.
Mr Chand added that he would be providing an overview report on the Pacific Public Service Excellence Award (PPSEA) working group.
Fiji was chosen as Chair of the PPSEA at the 10th PPSCC conference held in Majuro, Marshall Islands in August last year. Other members of the working group include Public Service Commissioners from Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands and Vanuatu.
The basis of Fiji’s selection was largely in view of our proven track records and experience in running a service excellence programme for our own public service.
The PSC has since been working closely with the Secretariat of the Conference and other members of the Working Group in putting together a framework for recognizing excellence in public service delivery in the Region.
Mr Chand and Commission member, Dr Akanisi Kedrayate will be attending the Conference in Samoa.
4 EXPORTERS URGED TO BE INNOVATIVE
The Fijian government continues to assist exporters in getting best market access through strengthened trading infrastructure and environment.
At a recent investment seminar, the Ministry of Industry and Trade permanent secretary Mr Shaheen Ali told exporters that government has identified that the strengthening of the trading infrastructure and environment must be well matched with products that can compete in international markets.
“The industry in turn should take on the challenge and develop products that are competitive in international markets and complies with international standards and demands,” Mr Ali said.
“It is important that government and the business community continue consultation and partnership to strive for best market access arrangements –made possible through the National Trade and Development Council (NTDC),” he added.
Mr Ali said Government has put in various initiatives to create employment by encouraging self sufficient investments which also helps in diversifying products for competitive markets.
”Domestically, the Government has invested in self-sufficiency and economic security through initiatives such as “Fijian Made – Buy Fijian”, Northern Development Program and land reforms.
“The aim is to strengthen our economy internally, which will also build capacity to explore overseas markets and improve our balance of payments and reserves – through exports,” Mr Ali said.
Supporting the statement by Mr Ali at the Investment Fiji’s awareness seminar about developing products for international markets was the CEO for Fiji Export Council (FEC), Mr Jone Cavubati who urged exporters to think differently.
“You need to be innovative with your product, especially packaging to make sure that you meet the requirements of export markets and also consider your marketing plan.
“The logistics in the value chain required ensuring all orders for your suppliers and that all orders reach your buyers,” Mr Cavubati said.
Mr Cavubati highlighted the need for exporters to understand the mechanisms and dynamics especially concerning trade agreements and market access.
“When you start exporting you have to understand the risks and have the resources that will enable you to market your products globally considering all your marketing plans,” he said.
Fiji currently exports to five top countries including Australia, US, EU, Japan and New Zealand and also to other Pacific countries and Asia.
Investment Fiji’s export awareness seminar was an avenue to also encourage exporters to participate in the Vodafone & Westpac Prime Minister’s Exporter of the Year Awards.
The government of the day continues to recognise Fiji’s exporters by the premier event rewarding exporters’ and their valuable contribution towards the growing economy.
5 MORE THAN $100K ASSISTANCE FOR NADOGO FROM GOVT
Government’s assistance of more than $100,000 for Nadogo Central College has been commended by the community and school management.
The assistance from the Prime Minister’s Office include the provision of a girls dormitory, water tanks for the school and a double story building that caters for three classrooms, a conference area and an office.
Nadogo Central College head teacher, Mr Sanjay Prasad said the community of Nadogo was thankful to the government for its commitment to assisting rural communities and ordinary Fijians.
“For a rural community such as Nadogo, I would like to thank the Prime Minister and his government for the tremendous efforts rendered to the community,” Mr Prasad said.
“The assistance from the PM’s office has assisted us cater for the increasing roll of 530 students which also includes more than a hundred boarders from the outer islands.”
Development, Cooperation and Facilitation Division (under the PM’s office) director, Salimoni Karusi said that Government has assisted the school with 18 double bunks including mattresses for the dormitory.
“The PM’s office gave the school an additional $37,000 for the completion of the double storey building while $70,000 was raised from their own fundraising,” Mr Karusi said.
Nadogo Central College caters for students from villages such as Mali, Nubu, Kelikoso and Nasasa.
6 FIJIAN STUDENTS SETTLING WELL IN CHINA
Twenty two Fijian students who left the country recently to undertake studies in the People’s Republic of China have all settled in well.
The Public Service Commission permanent secretary Mr Parmesh Chand said five students including two fully sponsored by the Government of the People’s Republic of China left Fiji shores on August 28 while the second group consisting of 13 students went on August 29 and four others parted on August 31.
“All students arrived safely in Beijing. The Fiji Embassy in China as well as Chinese Government officials received the students and they were accommodated at the China Foreign Affairs University before being placed at their different Universities.
The permanent secretary said that the students are adjusting and any developments will be communicated to their families here in Fiji.
“We are grateful that the students have arrived at their respective Universities have been enrolled into their respective programmes. Their families have also been informed that their children have settled well in China,” PS Chand said.
7 SIX NEW RESOURCE CENTRES FOR WOMEN OF FIJI
Good news for women across the country as the Ministry of Women will open six new women centres before the end of the year.
The women centres are designed to boost financial and income generating opportunities for Fiji’s women especially those in rural or remote communities.
The construction of these women resource centres are administered by the Fiji Women’s Federation (FWF) under the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation.
Ministry Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta said that Mau Women’s Resource Centre has opened up income generating opportunities for unemployed women and youths in Namosi province.
He said the benefits articulated from this Centre demonstrate the impact and potential of the resource centres in creating opportunities for improved livelihood.
The six new centres the Ministry is currently working on are Semo Centre in Sigatoka, Bua in north, Qarani in Gau, Savusavu in Cakaudrove province, Tavuki village in Kadavu and Nativi in Ra.
“The new centres will have each have business plans and it will focus on core products and skills to ensure quality and consistency of supply. Women have as important role as that of the men in social and economic development. They are the backbones of their communities. ,” Dr Koroivueta said.
“Opening of the women centres, will provide them with a new platform to acquire skills and enhance the agricultural and marine resources readily available to venture into independent income generating. Being financially independent means they can be better choices to improve their lives and also that of their families.”
Apart from the women resource centres, the Fiji Women’s Federation has also constructed 13 women centre extensions this year whereby women’s groups are given a funding of upto $5000 to make these extension centres.
“Of the 13 centres, the Saqani Women’s Centre in North along with Nabitu Women’s Centre in Tailevu has already been opened by the Minister for Women Dr Jiko Luveni,” Dr Koroivueta added.
In July this year, the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama opened the Mau Women’s Resource Centre that specializes in harvesting and production of seaweed products.
The Centre was built with a Government funding of $30,000 from is Fiji’s first resource centre to produce local seaweed food products including non-food items such as skin care products.
Since 2010 the Ministry has built a total of 11 women resource centres and 12 women centre extensions assisting 23 women’s groups in Fiji to venture into income generating through handicraft, embroidery, contemporary jewellery designing, producing virgin coconut oil, tailoring, wood carving, and catering, baking, salt making and seaweed byproducts.