Over 50 traditional women leaders from across the 14 provinces in Fiji have converged in Suva today for the first ever “Marama ni Yavusa” program aimed to build capacity of women leaders in their communities.

Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni said the program focuses on building the capacity of the Marama ni Yavusa or the Mataqali.

“The program addresses leadership & good governance principals together with communication and confidence building,” Dr Luveni said.

“There are a total of 1293 villages, 144 tikina and 14 provinces in Fiji of which a total of 170 women hold traditional titles.”

Dr Luveni said the statutory bodies by gender are a ratio of 77-per cent men to 23-percent women, including the 14 provincial council members.

The three day workshop will have a selection of key note speakers including the facilitation of a leadership tool kit which can be replicated at local village level.

Dr Luveni added that championing gender should not be the sole responsibility of the Ministry but the responsibility of all sectors of the government including the private sector.

This program was made possible in partnership with the iTaukei Affairs Board and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

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The Fijian Government delegation currently attending the 70th Session of UNESCAP have presented a draft resolution sponsored by Fiji.

Entitled “The Implementation of the Suva Declaration on Improving Maritime Transport and Related Services in the Pacific,” the head of the Fiji delegation and permanent secretary for the Ministry of Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, Pita Wise, presented the draft to the Working Group.

In his statement, Mr Wise said that UNESCAP convened the High- level Meeting on Strengthening Inter-island Shipping and Logistics in the Pacific Island Countries in Suva from 23-25 July 2013.

The meeting was conducted in collaboration with the International Maritime Organization, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and was attended by 33 delegates of 18 Pacific countries and territories, 42 representatives of 19 specialized agencies and related organizations, intergovernmental organizations and other entities. The Suva Declaration was adopted by acclamation at the end of that meeting on July 25.

“The Pacific Island Countries strongly support the Draft Resolution because it seeks to address the inherent transport connectivity barriers that currently exist in the Pacific. These barriers pose significant stumbling blocks to develop our capacities to achieve enhanced regional integration despite the multiple vulnerabilities that are beyond our control,” Mr Wise said.

“The Suva Declaration provides us with another opportunity to pool resources from not just the region but in the south-south, north-south and triangular cooperation with the other sub regions and our more developed partners in the ESCAP Regional Commission,” Mr Wise added.

The Working Group has endorsed the Draft Resolution, which paves the way for its adoption by the Commission later this week.




Government has reassured the textile, clothing and footwear industry stakeholders of its support as they are contributors to the Fijian economy.

Permanent secretary for the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Shaheen Ali acknowledged the industry’s role in the economy at the Annual General Meeting & Industry Discussion at Textile Clothing & Footwear (TCF) Council of Fiji.

“The Fijian Government identifies the TCF industry as an integral contributor towards providing employment to Fijians, currently employing 5,500 workers, the majority being women, and contributing towards growth of the Fijian economy through trade,” Mr Ali said.

“Over recent years, the industry has rapidly become a critical part of the economic structure of Fiji, exporting garments to Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Pacific
Island Countries,” he added.

Mr Ali highlighted that with the expiring of the SPARTECA-TCF scheme at the end of this year, Government will continue its efforts to assist the Fijian TCF industry in its reliance on market access to Australia and New Zealand.

“As most of you will be aware, our Fijian TCF industry is export oriented and heavily reliant on preferential market access to Australia (and New Zealand) under the original SPARTECA and the SPARTECA TCF Scheme. However, the SPARTECA-TCF scheme will expire at the end of 2014, which will affect duty free Fijian exports to Australia. Government is determined to win an extension of the SPARTECA,” Mr Ali said.

“Government is committed to working with industry players to identify and overcome these challenges by implementing reforms to adapt to the ever-changing international trading rules.”

Mr Ali further added that Fiji has the potential to become a leader in the TCF industry in the Pacific and beyond with a focus on quality and targeting niche markets where the industry has (or can develop) a competitive advantage.

Textile Clothing & Footwear (TCF) Council president, Kaushik Kumar expressed the council’s appreciation to Government for it’s support through the marketing grant to the TCF industry.
“We have been receiving $100,000 a year under the National Export Strategy grant which has been used very effectively to promote the TCF sector in the in overseas markets mainly in Australia, participating in trade fairs in USA,” Mr Kumar said.

“Advertisements and promotions in industrial related magazines have only been possible because of the funding we have received from Government. The results of our participation and promotional activities have seen an increase in the employment numbers in the industry as well as increase in import figures,” he added.

Mr Kumar confirmed that Fiji is the only country in the Pacific making garments and does not have any competitors.




A small investment made by Government for a youth group in Tailevu is reaping rewards; one year after the project was established.

In 2013 Government provided funds to the youth group of Lodoni in Tailevu to establish a fish farming business and earn income. The design of the venture is two-fold; to earn income and to live off the farm.

Youth group leader Sera Bukuti said the project is instilling a lot of pride and maturity for the youth. She said that since the beginning of this new project, the young men and women are learning for the first time how to provide for their families and for their community.

"The fish is mainly tilapia. With this initiative, we are helping the villagers especially, in the rural sector, to save extra money and also increase their income earnings,” she said.

The group received funding materials for a farmhouse, construction of road and feed for their fish ponds from the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Last month the group harvested “tilapia” and earned close to $3000 monthly and earned $700 a month from the prawn farm. The success of this project is also seeing the youth group venture to other farming produce including watermelons.

Government’s district officer in Tailevu Viliame Baleirara said these projects is bringing about positive changes to the division especially for the young men and women of Tailevu.




Fiji delivered its statement at the opening of the opening of the 70th Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific currently underway in Bangkok, Thailand.

This statement was delivered by the Head of the Fijian delegation to the meeting, the Ministry of Strategic Planning permanent secretary Mr Pita Wise. The Fijian permanent secretary who is also the Deputy Chairman of the Special Body on Least Developed, Landlocked Developing and Pacific Island Development States, presented a Report on the “Preparatory Meeting” which was held earlier this month.

In his presentation, Mr Wise reiterated that development challenges faced by these groups of countries should be brought to the forefront of the Post-2015 development agenda. Therefore development challenges need to be addressed with urgency. These include, eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, promoting inclusive growth, employment generation and decent work, improving educational outcomes, focusing in particular on improving the quality of education, improving health outcomes such as on non-communicable diseases.

In addition, the promotion of gender equality and empowerment, managing demographic dynamics and urbanisation, upgrading infrastructure, expanding productive capacities, increasing access to trade in products and services and building trade facilities, promoting accountable and responsive governance, protecting natural capital, promoting green growth and tackling climate change must be given special priority.

Mr Wise further reiterated the concern on external threats to sustainable development and underscores the need for development agenda beyond 2015, together with its targets and indicators to be contextualized within the realities on the ground in each of the respective countries under this grouping.

To close the development gaps and implementing a post-2015 development agenda, LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS will require significant mobilization of resources from different sources and the effective use of financing that will be made available. Moreover, he stressed the need for a global monitoring and accountability framework for the effective implementation of the post-2015 development agenda, including the identification of responsibilities for implementation, financing and monitoring.