Fiji Football Association (FFA) Ready to Work with Japan Football Association (JFA)

Fiji Football Association has welcomed the decision of the Japan Football Association (JFA) to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and work along for progress in football.
President Rajesh Patel thanked the Ambassador of Fiji to Japan, His Excellency, Mr. Isikeli Mataitoga for a successful meeting with the JFA President Kohzo Tashima in Japan last week.
Patel and Tashima share a close relationship as they both are FIFA Council Members.
“Fiji FA is ready to work closely with the Japan Football Association in various ways such as sports exchange programs and I would like to thank our Fijian Ambassador to Japan for a successful meeting to create this partnership,” Patel said.
“I already had discussions with JFA President and after a successful meeting between JFA President and the Fijian Ambassador, now we need to work on drafting an MOU between JFA and FFA to set out clearly the areas of cooperation which would include sports team exchange, official’s development programs, Coaching Clinic, etc.
“We are ready to work hand in hand for the benefit of developing and progressing in football.”

Fiji and JICA Reaffirm Commitment To Building Back Better

Strengthened partnership between Fiji and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will enhance opportunities focused on progressive rebuilding and recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 and climate induced challenges.

This commitment was articulated today at a courtesy call received by the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Immigration and Sugar Industry and Acting Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Yogesh Karan from the new Resident Representative of JICA Fiji Office, Ms. Mayumi Amaike.

At an introductory meeting held at the Office of the Prime Minister, PS Karan congratulated Ms. Amaike and wished her well in her new role at the JICA Office in Fiji.

This coincided with a farewell courtesy call from the outgoing Resident Representative of JICA Fiji Office, Ms. Yukari Ono. PS Karan acknowledged Ms. Ono’s leadership during her tenure in Fiji and also conveyed the Fijian Government’s best wishes to Ms. Ono in her future endeavors.

PS Karan thanked JICA for its ongoing assistance to Fiji through infrastructure projects, funding for Disaster Recovery and Rehabilitation, technical assistance in Disaster Risk Reduction and programs contributing to Fiji’s socioeconomic development.

Recognising JICA’s Volunteer programme, PS Karan commended the work of JICA volunteers in their efforts to reach communities in Fiji.

In terms of the cooperation for COVID-19 response, PS Karan said Fiji is currently working with its international development partners in the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine, whilst focusing on strategies for economic recovery and building back better.

In response, Ms. Amaike said, “While the three priority areas of “Strengthening the Basics for Economic Growth” (especially Infrastructure and Fishery), “Climate Change and Environment”, “Provision of Quality Social Service” (Health and Education) remain important, we will also work with our partners in Fiji in the COVID-19 pandemic fight.

“There are about 2,400 ex-participants of our programs in Japan. Since I have been in charge of training programs in Japan for the past several years, I would like to seek opportunities to collaborate with them in our programs.

“This is the 37th year of JICAs bilateral cooperation with Fiji, in terms of economic and social development. We are proud of our achievements through our cooperation – for instance construction of critical infrastructure (Water Treatment Plant, Fishery Port, USP, CWM Paediatric hospital, Fiji School of Nursing, Fiji Meteorological Service) as well as countless capacity development through trainings and technical cooperation projects.

“We are grateful for the trust developed overtime with the Fijian Government and its people. Although we are in a difficult time with the pandemic, JICA looks forward to continuing working closely together with the Fijian People,” Ms. Amaike said.

Ms. Ono shared the same sentiments and said that it has been a great honour for her to serve as a first female resident representative of JICA Fiji office, in its 37 years operation. She said during her tenure in Fiji from December 2017 to January 2021, the Japanese Government and JICA’s attention to Fiji and Pacific Region have increased with several new cooperation.

“I’d like to express my hearty appreciation to the Fijian Government and people of Fiji for the kindness rendered to me and all the JICA related personnel. I hope that this cordial relationship will be strengthened and continue into the future.”

(Source: The Fijian Government, 26 February 2021)

Fiji Reaffirms Commitment to the Climate Action Momentum

The global efforts to cut emissions, prepare for disasters, and manage displaced people are all inter-connected; none can succeed without the others, that is why all of those issues sit at the heart of Fiji’s climate action agenda.

This message was conveyed today by the Fijian Prime Minister, Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama while delivering a statement at the virtual forum on the 5th year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework and the Nansen initiative.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said the Paris Accords, the Nansen initiative and Sendai Framework together with the global commitments promise humanity a better future, and 5 years from their adoptions, it is crucial to collectively reflect on the progress and best way forward.

“And one country, company, and community at a time, humanity is taking steps to decarbonize and become more disaster-resilient. The USA is not only back in this campaign, they are moving aggressively to make climate action a core priority of the new Administration. More countries and companies are announcing actionable commitments to reach net-zero in a few decades – including France and the EU.

“Some of the more vulnerable communities are finding their own ways to adapt – some are relocating. Others are being defended by seawalls. And past tragedies are informing better disaster planning and motivating world leaders, business executives, and entire institutions to build back better after disasters strike,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said.

Reaffirming Fiji’s commitment to climate actions, Prime Minister Bainimarama said, “We pledge to achieve economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050 – and that commitment will soon be legislated through a ground-breaking climate change Bill. Our National Adaptation Plan maps out a multi-billion-dollar effort to strengthen our climate resilience.

“Our commitment to plant 30 million trees and sustainably manage every square kilometre of our ocean by 2030 could very well mean Fiji becomes a carbon-negative society in the not-too-distant future. And our rapidly-strengthening disaster readiness has led Fiji to become the first nation to achieve Target E of the Sendai Framework.”

The Head of Fijian Government stated Fiji has also begun establishing its own transparent and inclusive processes for managing climate-induced relocation.

“We have identified at least 43 communities that need to be relocated to higher ground due to worsening climate impacts, with six moved already. We have developed and launched the Planned Relocation Guidelines to give affected communities a powerful voice in where, when, and how they are relocated, and ensure that they have clear-income generating opportunities available. And we have launched a Climate Relocation Trust Fund to put badly-needed resources behind that effort.” We’ve dealt with questions that only real experiences can expose, and that only bold and innovative action can solve.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said that working in solidarity to initiate innovative actions is crucial in maintaining the momentum to tackle the challenges posed by climate change.

“I’ve had the privilege of personally handing keys over to families to homes on higher ground after their old houses were lost to a rising Pacific. I know first-hand that, even in our warming world, strong commitments – backed by resources and hard work – can bring hope back into the lives of the most vulnerable of our citizens,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said.

(Source: The Fijian Government, 04 February 2021)

Yaqona, Dalo, Cassava, Goat, Sheep, Bees – Top Crop and Livestock Causalities of TC Yasa, Parliament Informed 3-Phase Response and Rehabilitation Plan Developed

Yaqona, dalo, cassava, watermelon and chillies were the top five crops affected following TC Yasa, was one of the findings in the Detailed Damage Assessment (DDA).

Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, the Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy told Parliament on Monday (8.2.21) the top five livestock that suffered the highest casualties and injuries were goat, sheep, bees, cattle and horses.

“Total damages to the agriculture sector recorded a value of more than $147m, out of which 94per cent were value of damages on crop, 5.4per cent on livestock and 0.6per cent on infrastructure,” he said.

He said on Zone 1, which was the most affected area according to the cyclone path, crop planting area damage recorded was more than 50per cent of total area and captured value of dead livestock at around $5.2m.

“These findings require a rapid response and a well-coordinated rehabilitation plan to ensure Fijians livelihoods are properly restored,” the Hon. Dr Reddy explained.

Therefore, he said, as lead agency for food security and livelihood cluster, the Ministry was tasked with designing a response and rehabilitation plan for the next six months post TC Yasa for crop, livestock, fisheries and forest sector.

He said a three-phase plan was then developed.

“Phase One was designed to cover the first six weeks after disaster, and included immediate food security plan that targeted over 23,000 households.
“This included some of the work carried out straight after TC Yasa such as distribution of seed packages, kumala and bele cuttings etc.”

Minister Reddy explained Phase 2 covered life-saving rehabilitation plan, sought the rapid recovery of Fiji’s rural productive sector by targeting almost 14,000 agriculture households and prioritized subsistence and semi-commercial farmers that had lost 75per cent or more of their stock.

“It consists of six components – provision of planting material and tools, land clearing and preparation, rehabilitation of infrastructure and repair to farm roads.

“The plan also highlight Fisheries and Forestry area of priorities.”

The Hon. Minister said the third phase of the response and resilience plan facilitated the transition to sustainable development that ensured Fiji was better prepared and resilient to the effects of future natural disasters and climate change.

(Source: The Fijian Government, 10 February 2021),-DALO,-CASSAVA,-GOAT,-SHEEP,-BEES-TOP-CROP

Over 23,000 Households Needed Immediate Assistance Following TC Yasa, Parliament Hears

Following TC Yasa, an estimated 23,725 households in Zones 1 and 2 were identified to have needed immediate assistance, revealed Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Dr Mahendra Reddy in his Ministerial Statement to Parliament on Monday (8.2.21).

The Minister provided an update to the House on the assistance provided by the Ministry of Agriculture following TC’s Yasa and Ana.

He revealed the immediate assistance rendered to affected households was made following the findings from the Initial Damage Assessment (IDA) where after 72 hours of TC Yasa, the Ministry recommended the provision of three months food ration to NDMO for households in Zone 1 and 2.

“In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture commenced the immediate food security response which included the distribution of vegetable seed packages for home gardening, root crop cuttings, and other planting materials targeting household in Zones 1 and 2, which is estimated to be 23,725 households,” he told the House.

Minister Reddy said over 19,000 affected households were provided home gardening seed packages, over 7,000 households received kumala and bele cuttings, and 2,000 households given cassava cuttings as part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s immediate response within six weeks post TC Yasa.

“In addition, the Ministry distributed live chicks, starter and growers to more than 1,000 poultry farmers and over three metric tonnes of sugar to 190 bee farmers to assist in the rehabilitation of their stock.

“Due to significant loss of livestock from TC Yasa, vets from our livestock division were deployed through mobile clinics to provide immediate free veterinary services to affected livestock farmers.

He said as part of the Ministry’s early intervention, this veterinary team provided free services to livestock farmers, including the provision of free veterinary medication, and helping with the rehabilitation of their livestock.

Minister Reddy revealed, it was the first time that the Ministry’s TC Yasa Detailed Damage Assessment (DDA) collected data via hand-held devices using the online Kobo Toolbox software application.

“This online system ensured the timely collation of DDA data at Headquarters during assessment period. The survey captured over 19,000 household interviews from affected farmers which comprehensively assessed the impact of TC Yasa,” the Hon. Dr Reddy explained.

(Source: The Fijian Government, 10 February 2021),000-HOUSEHOLDS-NEEDED-IMMEDIATE-ASSISTANCE

Climate Change a Real Threat to the Pacific – PM Bainimarama

Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama delivered a powerful statement at the opening of the Virtual Pacific Regional Consultation on Internal Displacement earlier this evening, saying that climate change also contributes to mass-migration across our region.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said that every year, more of our citizens will be forced to leave their homes to escape stronger storms, rising seas, and swelling rivers brought by climate change.

“It is a crisis we did not cause but the consequences of which we bear nonetheless. Some of our lower-lying neighbors face an existential threat. At the current rate of emissions, the displacement of their people won’t be internal but external, across borders, as their entire nations slip beneath the rising seas.”

For this reason, the Prime Minister said Fiji has offered permanent settlement to the citizens of Tuvalu and Kiribati should they need it.

On the home front, Prime Minister Bainimarama said that we’re focused on the complex challenge of relocating vulnerable Fijian communities, with 43 already identified.

“You can bet that number will rise. Six communities have been fully or partially relocated so far. Moving a community and doing it sustainably; ensuring Fijians can live with both security and the dignity of good jobs and access to essential services – that is how we can spark a sense of ownership among people who have endured the trauma of leaving the land they knew as home, the land where their ancestors are buried and which they hoped their children would inherit,” he added.

Prime Minister Bainimarama also highlighted at the virtual consultation, Fiji’s milestone achievement in launching the world’s first Planned Relocation Guidelines at the COP24 and the launch of a relocation fund for people displaced by climate change in 2019.

“Our National Adaptation Plan also maps out a multi-billion-dollar effort to strengthen our climate resilience and we’re looking to nature to fortify communities and create sustainable sources of income.

“Climate-driven displacement isn’t some distant doomsday proposition. It is happening right now. In response, we have to change and adapt as quickly as the climate. To do that, we need the support of the rest of the world and as the Chair for the Platform of Disaster Displacement, Fiji looks forward to leading alongside our development partners and organisations, like the Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security, not by talking – but by doing.”

The virtual consultation presents an opportunity for Pacific government officials to exchange their country experiences in addressing climate and disaster-induced internal displacement.

(Source: The Fijian Government, 11 February 2021)

Video message – New Year Greetings from HE Mr. Isikeli Mataitoga, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Fiji to Japan

The coronavirus pandemic forced the Governor of Tokyo to cancel the “Tokyo Ambassadors Night,” a New Year’s reception which the Tokyo Metropolitan Government holds every year. This year, Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga was honoured to represent the diplomatic corps in Tokyo, and delivered a New Year greetings and words of encouragement to the citizens of Tokyo.

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