CAPTION: SPREP’s Director general David Sheppard and IUCN’s Bernard O’Callaghan at the MSG Environment Technical working group meeting in Nadi today.
1. EUROPEAN ENVOYS PRESENT CREDENTIALS TO PRESIDENT – The representative for the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific has presented his credentials to the President, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.
2. FIJI NEEDS YOUNG, SKILLFUL FARMERS: AMA – Students who were awarded Commercial Agriculture Scholarships by the Fijian Government to study at the Fiji National University have been urged to perform to the best of their ability.
3. RETIREES ATTEND FIJI VOLUNTEER SCHEME MEETING – Former public servants gathered this week for the inaugural alumnae meeting, to discuss ways in which to strengthen and increase the Database for the Fiji Volunteer Scheme (FVS).
4. MSG FORUM URGED TO STRENGTHEN AGENDA ON INTERNATIONAL STAGE – The issue of climate change and environment awareness for countries that are part of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, need to be continuously pushed onto the regional and international stage.
5. FIJI PACIFIC ENVOY MEETS WITH PACIFIC LEADERS – Fiji’s Roving Envoy to the Pacific Islands, Ambassador Litia Mawi recently paid a courtesy visit to His Excellency the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Christopher Loeak, in the country’s capital, Majuro.
6. MINISTRY INVESTS IN NATIONWIDE CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT – The Ministry of Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts together with the Multi Ethnic Cultural Centre today signed off an agreement that will see the promotion of cultural activities in communities nationwide.
7. AWARENESS WORKSHOP TO STRENTHEN ENVIRONMENT LAWS – Officials representing shipping and custom agencies in the country met to today and called for greater compliance towards environmental laws in the country.
1 EUROPEAN ENVOYS PRESENT CREDENTIALS TO PRESIDENT
The representative for the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific has presented his credentials to the President, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.
His Excellency Mr Andrew Jacobs will be taking over as the resident Ambassador for the EU to Fiji and non-resident Ambassador to the Cook Islands, Niue, Tuvalu, Republic of Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa and Tonga.
The President welcomed the European envoy to the country as he presented his credentials.
Mr Jacobs is a linguist as he has a combined Honours Degree in French and Italian from the University of Exeter and he started his career as a language teacher.
He began his diplomatic career in 1993 working as the programme officer under the Directorate General for External Relations for the South and South-east Asia.
Mr Jacobs was the Directorate General for Development and Cooperation (Europe Aid) as the head of unit for North Africa and the Middle East just before taking up his posting in Fiji.
Also presenting his credentials this week was the non resident Ambassador of Finland for Fiji, His Excellency Mr Pasi Patokallio.
The ambassador holds a masters degree in international relations from the University of Tampere in Finland and he is the resident representative to Australia.
He is a career diplomat and has served as ambassador in countries such as Canada and Israel.
2 FIJI NEEDS YOUNG, SKILLFUL FARMERS: AMA
Students who were awarded the Commercial Agriculture Scholarships by the Fijian Government to study at the Fiji National University have been urged to perform to the best of their ability.
The Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA), Sales and Marketing manager, Alivereti Yaya said that because of government’s own commitment, students must make the best use of the opportunities provided.
Mr Yaya reiterated government’s stance to produce a new generation of farmers in the country to optimize food production and become quality food exporters.
“The students should strive for the best in the future and make the most of the great opportunity provided to them,” Mr Yaya said.
He is calling on the 50 students who were awarded scholarships to take their studies as a challenge and focus on their aim to become skillful farmers in the near future.
Government has reaffirmed the aims of the program to train young people with the right skills and experience.
Mr Yaya said the initiative is a commendable one as students are being trained to run a farm commercially, something needs strengthening amongst traditional farmers.
“Introducing the new techniques and skills at a young age will bring optimistic outcomes in the future. This will solve our supply problems as we bring in new farmers with new methods of farming.
“If we continue to do that for the next ten years, we will not run short of farmers. Hence, quality produce supply would also be consistent,” Mr Yaya highlighted.
3 RETIREES ATTEND FIJI VOLUNTEER SCHEME MEETING
Former public servants gathered this week for the inaugural alumnae meeting, to discuss ways in which to strengthen and increase the Database for the Fiji Volunteer Scheme (FVS).
Public Service Commission permanent secretary Parmesh Chand said retirees who wish to join the FVS will have to first register with the National Employment Centre (NEC).
“It is prudent to increase the network and collaboration with retirees given their wealth of experience and knowledge.”
Mr Chand said the PSC has been working closely with the NEC in compiling a database of retirees.
“The FVS was successfully launched by our Prime Minister in February last year. Since then, we have formulated guidelines, published collateral materials and recruited and dispatched for assignment 18 retired teachers to the Republic of Marshall Islands and Nauru.
“We have also just over 20 volunteers in various assignments attached locally. We have a separate Office for promoting and facilitating the Fiji Volunteer Service, but using resources from within at PSC.”
Mr Chand said the Commission in 2012 had approved the Framework for the formulation of a public service retiree’s alumnae.
“An existence of alumnae of public service retirees would assist the Fiji Volunteer Service to update the Database of retirees and graduates capturing academic qualifications, skills and experience.”
He added that the FVS will be able to draw a list of retirees who are unemployed but are employable in the labour market, meritorious and willing to serve under the Scheme.
The FVS which is administered by the Public Service Commission (PSC) is one of the four components of the National Employment Decree of 2009 designed to boost employment opportunities for young people, professionals and retirees.
4 MSG FORUM URGED TO STRENGTHEN AGENDA ON INTERNATIONAL STAGE
The issue of climate change and environment awareness for countries that are part of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, need to be continuously pushed onto the regional and international stage.
This underlying theme and objective behind the MSG Environment and Climate Change Ministerial Meeting which began today is a reminder that MSG countries need to adopt stronger measures to achieve this.
Fiji’s Department of Environment acting permanent secretary and chair of the working group, Mr Saverio Baleikanacea said that it is time for MSG countries to push for a collective presence on the world stage where climate change is concerned.
“Melanesia is recognised as one of the world’s most significant biodiversity areas – both terrestrial and marine,” he said.
“The MSG members constitute over three quarters of the population and land area of the broader Pacific group of nations, the land area cover greater than 5000, 000 km2 and include almost 2, 000 islands, the flora and fauna of our region are species rich and numerous species are endemic to Melanesia.”
“However despite these facts, the Environment Ministers and officials were concerned that the environment and climate change interests of MSG members have not been accorded the priority it deserves at the regional and international level.”
Mr Baleikanacea said the Ministerial meeting by MSG Ministers which begins later this week, provides the opportunity to re – look at how the MSG as a region can address these environmental and climate change issues.
5 FIJI PACIFIC ENVOY MEETS WITH PACIFIC LEADERS
Fiji’s Roving Envoy to the Pacific Islands, Ambassador Litia Mawi recently paid a courtesy visit to His Excellency the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Christopher Loeak, in the country’s capital, Majuro.
While Ambassador Mawi met with other senior government officials including Marshallese Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Philip Muller, her visit to the island nation was to brief His Excellency the President on the concept of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF). The PIDF was formerly known as the Engaging with the Pacific meet and was endorsed by the Pacific Islands Leaders and Representatives that attended the third Engaging with the Pacific meeting in Nadi in 2012.
Fiji’s Pacific envoy is visiting 22 Pacific Island countries including territories to brief senior government officials and heads of governments in the lead up to the PIDF meeting in 2013.
The meeting is targeted at engaging Leaders from key sectors in implementing the concept of green economic policies in Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS).
The Roving Ambassador’s first PIDF briefing visit was to the President of the Federated States of Micronesia, His Excellency Emanuel Mori and his senior Government officials in Pohnpei, and also presented in Honolulu to the East West Centre, Pacific Islands Development Programme, Co-Directors Dr Gerard Finin and Dr Sitiveni Halapua and other senior members.
While Ambassador Mawi briefed Pacific leaders on the PIDF meeting, it allowed her to update them on the developments taking place in the country including the progress of Fiji’s Roadmap to Elections and Parliamentary Democracy in 2014.
Accompanying the Roving Ambassador to these briefings is the First Secretary, Mr Daniel Johnson.
6 MINISTRY INVESTS IN NATIONWIDE CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
The Ministry of Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts together with the Multi Ethnic Cultural Centre today signed off an agreement that will see the promotion of cultural activities in communities nationwide.
The Ministry of Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts today signed a Memorandum of Agreement for the grant of $156,500 to six cultural centers in Suva, Nausori, Nadi, Ba, Labasa and Savusavu.
The purpose of the grant is to promote the efficiency in the teaching and learning of classical music and dance, minority communities cultures; provision of live cultural performance and the integration of various cultural programme.
“This is an opportunity to promote cultural integration within our society. I urge community members to utilize this opportunity to learn and understand about other cultures that exist within our society,” said the Ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Brij Lal.
“This is an effort to bridge the racial differences within our community and bring about the necessary changes needed for peace and progress,” he added.
The grant injected by the Ministry of Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts will facilitate the operational cost of programmes in the various centres.
The programme offered at the centres will include classical and folk dances, classical and folk songs, Tabla, Harmonium and other musical instruments, arts and craft skills and the provision of live cultural performances. The programmes will be facilitated by tutors at the various centres.
Students that successfully complete the courses will be awarded with certificates at the end of the year.
7 AWARENESS WORKSHOP TO STRENGTHEN ENVIRONMENT LAWS
Officials representing shipping and custom agencies in the country met to today and called for greater compliance towards environmental laws in the country.
Officials met at the Customs/Shipping Agents on Ozone Depleting Substances workshop in Suva today which was designed to boost awareness on the work done by relevant agencies and to look at collective recommendations.
National coordinator for Ozone Depleting substances Vika Rogers said this is opportune time to raise awareness among the public and relating stakeholders on banned substances under the Environmental laws.
“This is one area that needs more awareness and in most cases we have to companies question the department why have not been releasing some of the consignments,” Mrs Rogers said.
“The other reason we have met today is because these are the very people that are point of contacts at our borders agencies need to know especially on dealing with items which are prohibited from entering the country.”
Mrs Rogers highlighted that last month, the department coordinated with the Fiji Navy to assist in enforcing these laws.
Meanwhile Pacific Agencies Customs Department manager Ronal Dass said that there needs to be an alternative for Chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) or equipment containing CFCs for.
“If foreign countries import items that contain these gases, then it won’t be released to companies so in that case we need alternatives,” Mr Dass said.
Department of Environment officials pointed out that they are working with the relevant stakeholders to address this issue.
The one day workshop will cover other areas like quota distribution of CFC’s , licensing and permit requirements.