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1. FIJIAN PRESIDENT VISITS MSG SECRETARIAT – His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau visited the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) secretariat in Port Vila, Vanuatu this morning; the first for any head of state.
2. FIJIAN FOREIGN MINISTER HOLDS TALKS WITH JAPAN MINISTER – The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola today met with the Honorable Nobuteru Ishihara, Minister for Environment and State Minister, Nuclear Accident Prevention at the Ministry of Environment headquarters in Tokyo.
3. PACIFIC SIDS AMBASSADORS WORK ON SAFEGUARDING OCEANS – The New York-based Ambassadors of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) met today to discuss joint action on safeguarding the Worlds Oceans.
4. PARTNERSHIP VITAL FOR GREEN GROWTH IMPLEMENTATION – Fiji and other Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSID’s) need effective partnership to ensure implementation of green economy and green growth strategies.
5. ENERGY TRAINING TO REDUCE HIGH RELIANCE ON FOSSIL ENERGY – Seventeen industry workers and officers from the department of energy graduated as Energy Auditors on Friday after 2 weeks of intensive training in Suva.
6. EXCAVATOR FOR RA FARMERS – The Ministry of Agriculture has recently purchased an excavator worth $274,000 which will be hired out at a government subsidized rate to farmers in the province of Ra.
1. FIJIAN PRESIDENT VISITS MSG SECRETARIAT
His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau visited the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) secretariat in Port Vila, Vanuatu this morning; the first for any head of state.
He was greeted by the MSG Director General Peter Forau. Traditional ceremonies of welcome were accorded to the President by the Chiefs of the Malampa province – Fiji’s adopted home in Vanuatu.
Mr Forau said the visit by the President was historic as he had represented Fiji on behalf of Government during the opening of the secretariat when he was the Foreign Minister.
“This is a historic occasion that Ratu Epeli is here because he also witnessed the official opening of the Secretariat as Foreign Minister,” Forau said.
“However, what is more important is that Ratu Epeli is also the first Head of State of any MSG member country to visit the secretariat.”
While reminding guests on the importance of the MSG to the region, President Nailatikau commended the work undertaken by the Secretariat to advance the affairs of the MSG.
“I must say that the MSG has had a positive impact in all member states which is very pleasing to note,” the Fijian Head of State said.
“We have progressed in all fronts and I hope this continues so that the voices of our people – all Melanesians are heard in unity.”
2. FIJIAN FOREIGN MINISTER HOLDS TALKS WITH JAPAN MINISTER
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola today met with the Honorable Nobuteru Ishihara, Minister for Environment and State Minister, Nuclear Accident Prevention at the Ministry of Environment headquarters in Tokyo.
Minister Kubuabola is in Japan participating at the “PALM Ministerial Meeting” scheduled to take place in Tokyo from 26-27 October 2013.
Minister Ishihara who recently met with Minister Kubuabola whilst on an official visit to Fiji on 16 September 2013, expressed his sincere appreciation for the Minister`s visit and promotion of close bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
In his brief, Minister Ishihara highlighted the upcoming “Waste Disposal Management” Training Programme schedule to be held in Japan from January to March, 2014. He invited Fiji to participate and that invitations will be extended to all Pacific Island Countries [PICs]. The Environment Minister further added on Japan`s participation in a similar programme schedule in Indonesia, next year.
In response, Minister Kubuabola thanked Minister Ishihara for receiving him, despite his busy schedule. He also confirmed Fiji`s support and participation in the “Waste Disposal Management” training program next year.
Minister Kubuabola acknowledged the assistance provided by Japan through its various funding on environmental related projects. In particular he requested assistance from the Government of Japan in holding training programme in Fiji in the area of climate change preparatory for the 2015 Rio Conference. This diplomatic training in the area climate change diplomacy and negotiations, is to assist Fiji and PIC wishing to participate in preparing for the UNFCC Conference in 2015. Such programme to be organized by Fiji, will include participants from other countries as well.
Minister Ishihara acknowledged receipt of Fiji’s request to hold the programme and advised that this proposal will be forwarded onto Japan’s Foreign Ministry to process.
Both Ministers agreed that the course details are to be discussed further between Mr Junichi Shiraishi, Vice Minister for Global Environment of Japan and Ambassador Mataitoga.
The successful meeting was also an opportunity for both countries to reaffirm the need to strengthen relations in the area of climate change.
Ambassador Mataitoga and Second Secretary Kelera Savu-Wright accompanied the Minister to this meeting.
3. PACIFIC SIDS AMBASSADORS WORK ON SAFEGUARDING OCEANS
The New York-based Ambassadors of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) met today to discuss joint action on safeguarding the Worlds Oceans.
The action is being taken in relation to the United Nations formulation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the World’s Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Fiji’s representative at the meeting, Ambassador Peter Thomson, said that PSIDS Missions are working to include an SDG to achieve healthy, productive and resilient oceans. He said that PSIDS Missions have established a working group that has been putting together the key elements of the proposed Oceans SDG.
Ambassador Thomson reported that the proposed SDG has three targets : achieving healthy fish stocks, achieving a healthy marine environment, and realizing the economic benefits of sustainable development of marine resources. The Oceans SDG is being designed to formulate actionable measures to achieve the overall goal of safeguarding the health of the world’s oceans.
Faced with the perils associated with ocean acidification, with the diminishment of fish stocks as a result of over-fishing and illegal and unreported fishing, and with ongoing pollution impacting on marine eco-systems, Ambassador Thomson said that PSIDS had agreed failure is not an option in having the Oceans SDG adopted next year. He acknowledged that there is heavy international competition in agreeing on what SDGs should be agreed upon for the Post-2015 Development Agenda but said that PSIDS were determined the Oceans SDG be put in place to safeguard the future health of the world’s oceans.
The PSIDS represented at the UN in New York are: Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The PSIDS Chair is Ambassador Robert Aisi of the PNG Mission to the UN.
4. PARTNERSHIP VITAL FOR GREEN GROWTH IMPLEMENTATION
Fiji and other Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSID’s) need effective partnership to ensure implementation of green economy and green growth strategies.
These were the sentiments echoed by Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Relations Ratu Inoke Kubuabola following a meeting with Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) Director of Executive and Government Relations, Policy and Communications, Ms. Hyoeun Jenny Kim.
Minister Kubuabola said partnership is indeed critical and Fiji was looking forward to the support and participation of entities and organizations like GGGI in supporting green and blue initiatives for Fiji and the region.
“Partnership with organisations like GGGI which have the networks and experience to assist developing countries in their promotion and implementation of green growth economic development strategies is vital moving forward,” Minister Kubuabola said.
GGGI grew out of the green growth experience of the Republic of Korea. Launched by former President Lee Myung-bak on June 16, 2010, GGGI began as a non-for-profit foundation with the mission to create an international platform for evidence-based learning and policy innovation for the twin imperatives of economic development and environmental sustainability.
In October last year, GGGI adopted a new international governance structure following the signing of its Establishment Agreement which was held in Rio de Janeiro during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012.
Membership to GGGI is open to any member state of the United Nations that subscribes to the organisations goals and objectives. Regional integration organisations – bodies consisting of sovereign states of a given region are also eligible for GGGI membership.
According to Ms. Jenny Kim, the work of the GGGI in focusing on the areas of green growth was important particularly for Pacific Island Countries (PIC’s). She added that Fiji’s interest to become a member was noted and the due process will be followed when Fiji officially communicates its intention to join.
Minister Kubuabola also took the opportunity to promote the Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF) as a regional mechanism for implementation of green economy and green growth related developments for PSIDs.
He added that it is equally important that PIDF seeks to become a member of GGGI should the opportunity arise.
5. ENERGY TRAINING TO REDUCE HIGH RELIANCE ON FOSSIL ENERGY
Seventeen industry workers and officers from the department of energy graduated as Energy Auditors on Friday after 2 weeks of intensive training in Suva.
The Energy Audit training was conducted by 2 officers from the National Productivity of India in collaboration with the Fiji National University and the Department of Energy.
While closing the training, the Ministry of Works Deputy Secretary -Operation Mr Manasa Lesuma encouraged the seventeen participants to practise their new skills.
“The most important part of the training is for you to understand the procedures of caring out energy audits and be able to apply them in workplaces,” Mr Lesuma said.
Mr Lesuma said the Department of Energy have put in place effective strategies to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel and energy audit assessment and implementation is one of them.
Energy Audit trainer Dr Palaniappan Dharmalingam explained about what the participants went through.
“We also conducted preliminary energy audit on some industries in Fiji like the biscuit manufacturing industry whereby the participants visited these industries so they understand how the energy has been spent and how to save energy,” Dr Dharmalingam said.
Fiji National University’s Productivity and Quality Manager Mr Binesh Chand explained that Energy Auditors are now ready to provide their service for Fiji.
“This is a certified Energy Auditor program and participants go through theory and practical training and they sit for exams and those that were competent are awarded a certified Energy Auditor certificate. They will now be able to go out into the industry and provide audits,” Mr Chand.
6.EXCAVATOR FOR RA FARMERS
The Ministry of Agriculture has recently purchased an excavator worth $274,000 which will be hired out at a government subsidized rate to farmers in the province of Ra.
Senior Agriculture Officer Ra Petero Mausio said the excavator will be available to farmers working under the SIGAVOU Project along with those farmers involved with commercial agriculture in the province.
“This excavator will be used together with other machines to improve drainage in the province which should enable farmers to fully utilize their land and increase crop production for food and income security, alleviate poverty and increase exports,” said Mausio.
“There are 200 farmers under the SIGAVOU Development Project and about 1000 semi commercial and commercial farmers growing crops for export market in the province of Ra,” he added.
“Drainage improvement in the area needs urgent attention so that farmers can successfully grow crops such as cassava, dalo, rice, papaya and assorted vegetables.”
“We will work closely with the Ministry’s Land and Water Resource Management Division for their expertise in guiding the operator in the construction and de-silting of drains.
“Once this activity is completed then we will focus on upgrading of farm roads to provide easy market access to the rural farming communities,” he said.
The machine was recently handed over by CARPTRAC to the Ministry of Agriculture Director of Extension Mrs Unaisi Waibuta.