The Peoples’ Coalition Cabinet held its sixth meeting of 2024 on Tuesday 26 March 2024.
The decisions made by Cabinet include the following:
1. Review of National Housing Policy
Cabinet approved the review of the National Housing Policy issued in 2011.
The first phase of consultation will focus on key stakeholder groups to explore the high-level policy direction to clearly identify the range of policy issues and opportunities and further develop the required evidence base for policy change and refinement.
The outcomes of this first stage of focused consultations will be reported to Cabinet and form the basis for a draft NHP document for phase two of consultations with the wider public.
2. Review of the Mahogany Industry
Cabinet approved the review of Fiji’s mahogany industry by an inter-Ministry Taskforce, with the inclusion of key private sector stakeholders and professionals from the forestry sector.
The review will consider the legislative and institutional frameworks, financial support, marketing, and viability of Fiji’s mahogany industry.
Cabinet will be informed of the outcome of the review process within the next three months.
3. Fiji to make a submission to the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on Climate Change
Cabinet agreed that Fiji make a written submission to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which has been requested by the UN General Assembly to issue an advisory opinion on the “obligations of States in respect of climate change”.
The UNGA Resolution on the ICJ Advisory Opinion for climate change recognizes the challenge of the climate crisis, the UN’s commitment to global protection and the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations headquarters in New York will deliver Fiji’s oral submission to the court at The Hague. The oral submission will elaborate on the written submission and respond to submissions made by other UN Member States, International and Regional Organisations.
4. Agreement for Global Environment Facility (GEF) for Community Based Integrated Natural Resource Management (CBINRM)
Cabinet approved the Operational Partners’ Agreement (OPA) for the Global Environment Facility Sixth Cycle Project on Community Based Integrated Resource Management (GEF 6 CBINRM Project), between the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the Ministry of Finance, Strategic Planning, National Planning and Development (MFSPNDS), and Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, Culture, Heritage and Arts (Ministry).
The Project will promote community-based integrated natural resource management at landscape level, in particular in the Ra and Tailevu Provinces.
The CBINRM Project is expected to benefit approximately 3,500 individuals from 17 villages or 21 land owning units in the District of Dawasamu and Namena in Tailevu Province and Nakorotubu in Ra Province through the implementation of the following activities:
• 47,719 ha of land under improved land use plan integrating natural resource management at district level through the development of appropriate land use plans, community integrated development plans and implementation of appropriate restoration programmes.
• appropriate training and support provided towards income generating activities to reduce poverty and generate rural employment;
• introduction and supply of resilient crops as well as revitalisation of traditional knowledge and practices for food and nutrition security and build community resilience; and
• empowerment of community members, especially the inclusion and engagement of women, youth and children on sustainable land management.
The partners identified for the CBINRM Project are the Ministry of Fisheries and Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways, Department of Environment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; iTaukei Affairs Board (Ra Provincial Office, Tailevu Provincial Office), Communities within Dawasamu District and Namena District in the Province of Tailevu, Communities within Nakorotubu District in the Province of Ra.
The CBINRM Project will be implemented over a 5-year period.
A Steering Committee co-led by the Permanent Secretaries for iTaukei Affairs, and Economy, and comprising of the Permanent Secretaries or Heads of all relevant stakeholders, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Forestry, the Ministry of Agriculture, iTaukei Affairs Board, and FAO will provide leadership and oversight on the overall implementation of the CBINRM Project.
5. Girmit Commemoration and Celebration from 11th May – 13th May 2024
Cabinet agreed that this year’s 145th Girmit Commemoration and Celebration Event will take place at the Lautoka Girmit Multicultural Centre from 11 to 13 May 2024, and in Labasa on 11 May 2024.
The People’s Coalition Government designated ‘Girmit Day’ as a public holiday in 2023 to honour Girmit indentured labourers from India who were brought to Fiji from 1879, soon after cession in 1874.
This year’s celebration commemorates 145 years since the arrival of the Girmit indentured labourers to Fiji.
This year’s Girmit Day theme will be the “Journey of Girmit Descendants in Building a New Fiji”. The theme is also aligned to the objectives of the Coalition Government in terms of promoting social-cohesion and celebrating the contribution of various ethnic communities in the development and progress of Fiji and its people together.
A Subcommittee will organize and oversee the programme of the Girmit Day commemoration. The Subcommittee will organize all official activities and events to mark the intent and purpose of the Girmit Day Celebrations and ensure that the Girmit day events are hosted and organised within the approved budget.
6. Fiji–International Atomic Energy Agency Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Amended Small Quantities Protocol
Cabinet agreed that Fiji accept the modified text of the Small Quantities Protocol (SQP) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Under the SQP, the IAEA and Fiji will cooperate on establishing and identifying locations at which nuclear material is handled in Fiji; and together agree on arrangements that would enable the IAEA to perform on-site inspections at the established locations.
The purpose of an SQP is to minimise the burden of safeguards activities on States with little or no nuclear activities, while ensuring that the IAEA’s safeguards conclusions for SQP States are soundly based.
The SQP was modified in 2006.
Fiji through the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, will submit a letter to the IAEA to adopt the modified text.
7. Whole of Government to Achieve Sustainable Development Priorities
Cabinet approved a ‘Whole of Government’ approach towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will play a significant role in supporting the Ministry of Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, in coordinating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Fiji presented its 2nd Voluntary National Review (VNR) Report on implementation of the SDGs in 2023.
With a structured mechanism in place to monitor and track SDG implementation across Fiji including within and outside Government, Fiji will be able to make accurate decisions on socio-economic and development issues.
8. Fiji to Host Pacific Island Law Officers’ Network 43rd Annual Meeting
Cabinet agreed that Fiji host the 2024 Pacific Islands Law Officers’ Network (PILON) annual meeting.
The meeting is tentatively scheduled to be held in October 2024.
PILON is an established network of senior law public law officers comprising representatives of Pacific Island member countries, New Zealand and Australia.
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