1. FIJIAN PRIME MINISTER SENDS CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO IRAN – Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has sent a congratulatory message to the recently appointed President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, His Excellency Dr Hassan Rouhani.
2. MINISTER KUBUABOLA DISCUSSES SIDS ISSUES WITH UN ENVOY – Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, met today with the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr Wu Hongbo, at the margins of the Small Islands Developing States’ inter-regional preparatory meeting currently underway in Bridgetown, Barbados.
3. ISRAEL GRATEFUL OF FIJI’S INVOLVEMENT IN GOLAN – The Government of Israel is grateful and appreciative of Fiji’s involvement in peacekeeping duties to bring stability in the Middle East region says Israeli’s non – resident Ambassador to Fiji His Excellency Yuval Rotem.
4. NEW LIME SOIL TO BOOST AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION – Farmers around the country can expect increasing yields following the launching of the commercial manufacturing of agricultural lime today.
5. MINISTER USAMATE SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON CLIMATE CHANGE IN UN REGIONAL MEETING – Fiji’s Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, Mr Jone Usamate is leading Fiji’s delegation at the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Dialogue meet at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand this week.
6. CLARIFICATION ON SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION FORMS – All students who are interested in applying for the 2014 Public Service Commission (PSC) Local Scholarship, Multi Ethnic Awards & Student Loan Scheme will need to apply when the advertisement is released.
7. PIDF’S INCLUSIVE ROLE EXPLAINED TO UN HIGH REPRESENTATIVE – The Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, briefed UN Under-Secretary-General Mr Gyan Acharya, the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, on the role and objective of the Pacific Islands Development Forum, which recently held its inaugural meeting in Nadi.
8. KADAVU WOMEN ACQUIRE FINANCIAL LITERACY SKILLS – The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation have ventured into partnership with the South Pacific Business Development and BSP (Bank of South Pacific) to train local women to become competent finance managers in their communities.
1 FIJIAN PRIME MINISTER SENDS CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO IRAN
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has sent a congratulatory message to the recently appointed President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, His Excellency Dr Hassan Rouhani.
In his message, Prime Minister Bainimarama pointed out the various areas of cooperation between Fiji and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“On behalf the Government and the people of Fiji, I wish to extend our warm congratulations to you on your decisive election victory and your appointment as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
“Fiji and the Republic of Iran have much in common as developing countries. We have worked together cooperatively in the Group of 77 plus China and the Non-Aligned Movement to ensure greater South-South cooperation in sustainable development, especially during this year where we have been the respective Chairs of the two international organizations”, PM Bainimarama said.
The head of the Fijian Government said that Fiji looks forward to strengthening current relations for the development of the two nations.
“Fiji looks forward to further strengthen its bilateral relations with the Government and the people of Iran during your Presidency. We are very hopeful that we might see greater exchange of high level visits between our two countries, in order to strengthen our efforts in achieving greater cooperation and collaboration in the development of our two countries. I look forward to continuing our partnership during your term of Office and to consolidate this into a partnership of strategic value”.
2 MINISTER KUBUABOLA DISCUSSES SIDS ISSUES WITH UN ENVOY
Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, met today with the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr Wu Hongbo, at the margins of the Small Islands Developing States’ inter-regional preparatory meeting currently underway in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Minister Kubuabola congratulated the Under-Secretary-General for his appointment this year as head of the UN Division for Economic and Social Affairs and as the Secretary-General for the third SIDS international conference to be held in Samoa in September 2014.
On issues of concern to Small Island developing States, USG Wu highlighted that SIDS need to speak with one voice in order to make a strong impact. He invited the SIDS to make use of the platform to be afforded by the convening of the UN Secretary-General’s high level Summit on climate change in 2014 and to approach issues of common concern as a collective group rather than as individual SIDS countries.
Minister Kubuabola underscored Fiji’s readiness to work with the UN system to advance issues of interest to SIDS. The Minister outlined for the Under-Secretary General the latest development on Fiji’s Constitutional process and the great hope that all Fijians have as we move towards national elections under the new Constitution. The Minister took the opportunity to update USG Wu on the recent meeting and outcome of the Pacific Islands Development Forum, with its inclusive approach and focus on sustainable development.
The Under-Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for the Minister’s explanation regarding the PIDF. He again expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister of Fiji for the warm hospitality afforded to him during his last visit to Fiji in July to attend the Pacific SIDS regional preparatory meeting.
3 ISRAEL GRATEFUL OF FIJI’S INVOLVEMENT IN GOLAN
The Government of Israel is grateful and appreciative of Fiji’s involvement in peacekeeping duties to bring stability in the Middle East region says Israeli’s non – resident Ambassador to Fiji, His Excellency Yuval Rotem.
HE Rotam who is based in Canberra said Israel commends the increasing number of Fijian troops at the Golan Heights on the border of Israel and Syria.
He pointed out that because of Fiji’s commitment to peacekeeping duties in volatile areas, it was a “natural occurrence to see members of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) along their (Israel’s) border line”.
“We have enormous admiration and respect for Fiji for the understanding and its cooperation in peacekeeping missions in the Middle East,” he said.
“This is not the first time that Fiji has come to the region and they have demonstrated a very high level of professionalism to approaching issues and we (Israel) are happy to see Fiji along our borders especially in Sinai, Lebanon and now at Golan.”
HE Rotem also met with Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama today and thanked him for the services provided by Fijians in the Middle East.
He is in the country to meet with government ministries and departments to explore more areas of cooperation to strengthen the Fiji – Israeli relations.
4 NEW LIME SOIL TO BOOST AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION
Farmers around the country can expect increasing yields following the launching of the commercial manufacturing of agricultural limetoday.
Launching Fiji’s first locally manufactured aglime, Minister for Agriculture, Inia Seruiratu said that aglime is a soil additive made from pulverised limestone.
“The effect of aglime on soils is that it increases the pH of acidic soil, provides a source of calcium and magnesium for plants, permits improved water penetration for acidic soils and improves the uptake of major plant nutrients of plants growing on acid soils,” Mr Seruiratu said.
The Minister added that various studies done in the past on Fiji’s soils have confirmed that most of our local farm soils are acidic and need liming to revitalise and maximise crop yields.
“We have noticed that the current soil condition on some key agricultural areas is depleting and productivity is lost,” Minister Seruiratu said.
Standard Concrete Limited, the manufacturers of Aglime in collaboration with the Aus Aid Market Development Facility were also commended by the Minister for having the vision and effort for developing a business initiative that would benefit both the company and the farmers from the increasing yields expected after the aglime application.
“This ongoing project would build strong partnership between governments and the private sector in a collaborative effort to solve issues of interest to agricultural development in Fiji,” Mr Seruiratu said.
Mr Seruiratu also pointed out that ‘liming’ can only be practical in Fiji if the farmers know and understand the need for aglime in their soil to improve their yield.
Aglime will be made available at the Agriculture Show in Lautoka from next week.
5 MINISTER USAMATE SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON CLIMATE CHANGE IN UN REGIONAL MEETING
Fiji’s Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, Mr Jone Usamate is leading Fiji’s delegation at the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Dialogue meet at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand this week.
This is the first meeting at policy level which has been organized after the launch of the report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda at the end of May 2013.
The high level ministerial forum is part of the extensive advocacy efforts by the Fijian government in regional and multilateral forums to shine the spotlight on the destructive impacts on climate change and sea-level rise in Fiji and the region. In his statement, Minister Usamate advocated strongly for “ambitious yet practical solutions locked into time-bound, targeted and clearly measureable benchmarks” based on the lessons learned from the MDGs framework and in the overall ocontext of the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.
The UN High Level Panel Report recommended five ‘big transformative shifts’ that include a transformative sustainable development paradigm which is universal in nature where no one is left behind.
Minister Usamate stressed that this inclusive approach “must remain firmly anchored at the forefront of the post-2015 development agenda”. He further added that, “this is the fabric that will bridge the seamless transition from the successes and weaknesses of the current MDGs to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will frame the future that we want”.
Climate Change has been highlighted as one of the major impediments delaying the progress of developing countries like Fiji from achieving sustainable development. Minister Usamate also highlighted the fact that the Pacific region’s “small and vulnerable island economies are paying a very high price on the challenges and destructive impacts, some of them irreversible, brought about by climate change and sea-level rise”.
The recommendations in the Report aim to eradicate extreme poverty in all its forms by 2030 through inclusive, equitable and sustainable development.
However, in his statement to the high level forum, Minister Usamate pointed out that “most of our islands and atolls which are home to distinctive and unique groups of people, centuries-old cultures and traditions and the rich biodiversity of our natural resources may not even exist by 2030 if our prevailing consumption and production patterns remain unchanged”, adding that you cannot have development “when there is no land under your feet”.
Minister Usamate’s intervention highlighted the grave challenges that Fiji faces as a nation, and as part of a region which has some of the poorest, smallest and most vulnerable economies of the world.
Climate change and sea-level rise threatens territorial integrity and sovereignty.
It negatively affects, inter alia, the rights of the people in the region to be able to live with dignity and a sense of security in the land of their birth and the right to bequeath to their future generations their unique and distinctive socio-cultural inheritance.
There can be no greater loss. He appealed to the international community that “in recognition of the principle of respect for our common humanity, to accord climate change a prioritised status in the framework of the SDGs in the post-2015 development agenda”.
He added that, “for the Pacific region, it is not just the future we want that is at stake but the future that we need”. He is accompanied by Fiji’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, Ratu Meli Bainimarama and Foreign Affairs official, Mrs Setaita Tupua-Kalou.
6 CLARIFICATION ON SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION FORMS
All students who are interested in applying for the 2014 Public Service Commission (PSC) Local Scholarship, Multi Ethnic Awards & Student Loan Scheme will need to apply when the advertisement is released.
PSC permanent secretary Mr Parmesh Chand said students may also visit the PSC website www.psc.gov.fj for updates and as well as view advertisements in the Fiji Sun.
Mr Chand’s comments follows the discovery of a shop in Labasa town selling PSC Scholarship application forms for one dollar to students.
“We have found out that this particular shop was selling the old PSC scholarship application forms to students which still have the old Scholarship office address as Reverend John Hunt Building.
“This is a real concern for us and we have notified the Police in the North accordingly to immediately stop this practice of misleading students,” Mr Chand said.
He said students are encouraged to visit their closest Government Service Centre (GSC) within their vicinity or town for the latest updates on PSC Scholarships.
Mr Chand also highlighted that all applications for scholarships are now being submitted online using: www.egov.gov.fj
“We will only give exception to students who live in rural or remote areas and who have absolutely no access to the internet. Hard copies of e-gov applications will be made available at the GSCs and with school principals, upon request,” Mr Chand said.
Interested applicants can also contact the PSC Scholarship Unit on Telephone 3316523/3316524/3316526 or Mobile: 5409 or via email: email@example.com, for further queries.
7 PIDF’S INCLUSIVE ROLE EXPLAINED TO UN HIGH REPRESENTATIVE
The Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, briefed the UN Under-Secretary-General Mr Gyan Acharya, the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, on the role and objective of the Pacific Islands Development Forum, which recently held its inaugural meeting in Nadi.
The meeting took place in the margins of the SIDS inter-regional preparatory meeting currently underway in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Minister Kubuabola underscored the significance of the PIDF as a body that brings together for the first time in the Pacific, high level representatives of the Pacific Islands Governments, private sector and civil society organisations. With its focus on sustainable development and its inclusive approach, the forum’s role as a key organisation was acknowledged by the High Representative.
In the lead up to the Samoa global conference in 2014, Under-Secretary-General Acharya indicated that the involvement of the private sector and civil society is necessary to ensure that sustainable development issues facing Small Island developing States are properly addressed in a comprehensive manner. He expressed his willingness to work closely with Fiji and SIDS countries in general in the preparations towards the 2014 Samoa conference.
8 KADAVU WOMEN ACQUIRE FINANCIAL LITERACY SKILLS
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation have ventured into partnership with the South Pacific Business Development and BSP (Bank of South Pacific) to train local women to become competent finance managers in their communities.
This partnership has opened up opportunities for 51 women from Kadavu to undergo financial literacy training held today at the Fiji Women’s Federation Office in Suva.
While officially opening the training, the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni reiterated that this development will enable rural women to broaden their knowledge and make effective decisions on managing their finances.
“The financial literacy training is an important deliverable reflected into the Ministry’s Annual Corporate Plan. These trainings and coaching activities build the knowledge and most importantly self-confidence in rural women so that they can achieve their dreams for themselves and their families without being too dependent on their spouses.
“The training activities are designed to help the women in becoming financially independent by helping them realise that they have the power to actually earn income by using their own talents and available resources. They are also provided with simple tools to plan and manage their business and household finances. It helps them to have a confident mindset and empowers them to make effective decisions on managing finances to improve their livelihood,” Minister Luveni said.
South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) Microfinance (Fiji) General Manager Mr Elrico Munoz said that the training focuses on 4 major components including planning, earning, spending and savings.
“In the planning component of the financial literacy training, the women are taught and coached on how to set goals in life and translate these into actionable day to day budgets, habits and activities. The next component on earning, teaches them how to become financially independent by establishing their own income-generating activities to address their personal and household needs.
“In the third step they are taught how to prioritize their needs and wants and track their spending patterns so that are not be trapped in the cycle of debts. The forth component on Savings, teach the women on setting aside their savings before any spending so that they can cope up with foreseen and unforeseen events in their lives,” Mr Rico explained.