Posts tagged Prime Minister Bainimarama

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama Donates Sports Equipment

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama Opens Fiji Crop & Livestock Council Office.




Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama chaired the Special Session of the International Sugar Organisation in London yesterday (October 1, 2013).

The main objective of the two-day meeting is to elect the new executive director of the International Sugar Organisation because the term of the current director Dr. Peter Baron will finish at the end of the year after serving in the position for over 20 years.

In his address to the council, the Prime Minister thanked delegates who participated at the 43rd Session of the International Sugar Council that was held in Fiji in June this year.

Several ISO delegates expressed their appreciation on the warm hospitality and the successful outcome of the Council session in Fiji.

The Prime Minister welcomed the Government of Sri Lanka who had finalised the membership of the 1992 International Sugar Agreement. This brings the ISO membership to an all time record of 87 countries.

The members agreed to reach a decision on the appointment of the new executive director by consensus and by secret vote only if necessary but the central aim remains to achieve consensus in the selection of the candidate.

The two candidates running for the position, Mr. Jose Orive from Guatemala and Mr. Gerarado Patacconi of Italy, who is being sponsored by the European Union, addressed the Council on their candidature and vision to the Council.

The final decision will be taken by the Council by today (October 2, 2013).




PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has expressed confidence that friendly relations between Fiji and the People’s Republic of China will continue to reach new heights.

In a congratulatory message to his Chinese counterpart, Premier, Mr Li Keqiang, on the occasion of the 64th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the head of the Fijian Government said, “I am confident that the friendly relations between our two great countries will continue to prosper and elevated into greater heights in the coming years.”

Prime Minister Bainimarama assured Premier Keqiang of Fiji’s commitment to grow relations between the two nations.

“I wish Your Excellency good health, your great country and its people prosperity and happiness”, the Prime Minister said in his message.

The Chinese Embassy hosted a reception last night which was attended by His Excellency, the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and the first lady, Adi Koila Nailatikau as well as Cabinet Ministers.

China’s Ambassador to Fiji, Mr Huang Yong said China considers Fiji as an equal partner and equal member of the world community.

“The China-Fiji relationship embodies the very essence of China’s major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics,” he said.

He said China-Fiji relations have reached new heights and continues to provide tangible result.

Mr Yong said one such case was the bilateral trade between the two nations which in the first half of 2013 reached US$125million (FJD$232.6m), an increase by 26.5 per cent when compared to last year.

“Exchanges and cooperation between the two countries are not only broad and comprehensive but also bring tangible benefits to the two peoples,” the Ambassador said.

“We support the government and people of Fiji in choosing their own development path in line with their own national conditions.”



PM Bainimarama’s Address at the 68th General Debate of the UN General Assembly


United Nations New York
Wed. 25th Sept., 2013

The President of the United Nations General Assembly,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I wish to congratulate you Mr. President, on your election to the Presidency of the  General Assembly’s 68th Session and express my confidence that under your able and wise guidance, this session will successfully accomplish its many tasks. I would also like to pay tribute to the tireless efforts of your predecessor, His Excellency Mr Vuk Jeremic, and extend my appreciation for the effectiveness with which he directed the work of the last session.

Mr. President,
Fiji reached a pivotal moment in its history earlier this month when His Excellency the President of the Republic of Fiji promulgated the nation’s new Constitution. This Constitution introduces the first genuine democracy Fiji will enjoy since we gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1970.

43 years and three constitutions later, we finally have a Constitution that is worthy of the Fijian people. It is a Constitution that meets the test of a genuine democracy that upholds the legal and moral basis of a common and equal citizenry without denying anyone’s individuality or culture.

The 2013 Fijian Constitution enshrines principles that are at the heart of all the world’s great liberal democracies – an independent judiciary, a secular state and a wide range of civil, political and socio-economic rights. It recognises the indigenous peoples of Fiji and their customary practices; protects the rights of the predominantly indigenous landowners and also of their tenants; demands accountability and transparency from Government officials; builds strong and independent institutions; and replaces our old weighted electoral system with one based on the principle of one person, one vote, one value.

This historic achievement is the culmination of a path that Fiji embarked on in 2007 to establish a modern and stable society that can be a proud and responsible part of the global community.

Mr. President, for years we struggled as a nation under a system that created different classes of citizens and in which the votes of some Fijians counted more than others. How could we be one nation when our fundamental law said that we were not one people?

The very idea of a just and equal society, of an accountable government, of loyalty to the nation-state, was being eroded from within. There were too many elites that thought the best way to entrench their own privileges was to sow the seeds of division and undermine our independent institutions. The removals of government in 1987 and 2000 were the most radical expressions of this dysfunction.

As a result, tens of thousands of Fijians suffered and many made the decision to leave their home forever, to leave Fiji. As I have said before, this is one of the most shameful episodes of our history and I’m determined that this must never, never happen again. We must never allow a fellow citizen to be second class, to be less than an equal of his neighbor.

Surely, such a basic principle as this deserves the full support of all nations that would never accept any less for their own people.
So we set out to make change for the good, permanent change that would set the nation on a straight course and allow Fiji to finally reach the potential it had when we so enthusiastically embraced our independence.

It has been a long journey and we have faced numerous challenges along the way. But it is with great pleasure and deep honour that I stand here today and say, “Our national compass has finally been reset.” Under this new Constitution, we’re heading towards Fiji’s first genuinely democratic elections by September 2014, and a much brighter future, as one nation.
Every month that passes we are building the foundations of our new parliamentary democracy. Unlike in the past, we are building a credible and fair system that will guide this process. Four political parties have registered thus far under new laws that create transparency and accountability and, close to 540,000 Fijians – out of an estimated 620,000 eligible voters – have registered for the 2014 election.

Many modern, stable democracies have gone through their own turbulent periods. Some have gone through decades of instability and bloodshed, while others have had a single defining moment. These events changed the course of history. They turned their countries from bastions of elitism and oppression into nations of freedom, equality and true democracy.

The United States has its Bunker Hill and Civil War; France has the storming of the Bastille and the French Revolution; Australia, the Eureka Stockade; and Britain a bloody history to establish constitutional monarchy.

Fijians too have had their share of turbulence. Regrettably, and to our great disappointment, some of these oldest friends had no faith in us. They abandoned us and sought to punish us with sanctions. We sought their assistance and understanding, but they turned their backs on us. They chose to support a form of democracy, governance and justice in Fiji that they would never have accepted for themselves.

We hope that they see now that we were true to our word. All nations struggle over time to overcome their unique challenges, to correct historic sins, and to be worthy of the principles on which they were founded. We are, in Fiji, no different.
Our isolation led us to seek out new relationships that have proven fruitful. Now, our standing in the world has never been stronger.

A key principle that has guided Fiji’s political development and foreign policy, soundly grounded in the Charter of the United Nations, is that we determine our own destinies as sovereign states. At the same time, we recognise the necessity of collaborating with all Member States of the United Nations with the aim of sustainable world peace, substantive justice, dignity and respect for all.

It is that spirit of collaboration that inspires us to go beyond parochial interests and to reach out to help others. To this end, it enjoins us to be loyal to common ideals, goals, values and principles. They remain the guiding beacons as we navigate our way in this millennium.

Mr President,
The theme you have set to guide the general debate at this 68th session, which is “The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage,” is most fitting for this junction of the road at which the UN stands. In the midst of increasing poverty and underdevelopment, during an era of unprecedented wealth accumulation and technological advances, the rift that divides the rich and the poor zones of the world ever widens. We must not therefore lose focus on one imperative of our time, that equality among nations, big and small, is central to the relevance, credibility, and even survival of this global organisation.

In this regard, we are encouraged by the progress made thus far in the General Assembly to expeditiously launch the follow-up mechanisms agreed at the Rio+20 Conference last year. Throughout the course of this year, the G77 and China has emphasised that the roadmap towards a post-2015 development agenda needs to address the implementation gaps of the MDGs, with poverty eradication remaining an overarching goal. The new development agenda must be universal, applicable and relevant to all Member States. Let me also stress that the new development agenda should be centred on economic development which supports both social inclusion and environmental sustainability.

Our common desire for a transformative global development agenda beyond 2015 can best be achieved through collective efforts and an enhanced global partnership. These efforts must place the development and wellbeing of people at its core. If the international community and national governments seriously commit to an agenda for meaningful transformation on structural, institutional and normative levels, the post-2015 development agenda has the potential of achieving a paradigm shift in global conditions.

Mr. President,
Fiji’s commitment to being a good global citizen is manifested through our ongoing engagement with the United Nations and its associated agencies and secretariats.

Our decision to take on the mantle of chairing the Group of 77 & China for the year 2013 was informed by the fact that Fiji embraces its rights as an equal member of the United Nations, and that we must therefore also carry all the due responsibilities expected of us amongst this great family of nations.

Fiji’s commitment to UN peacekeeping remains unwavering. It is a source of great pride that for a nation of our size, we are able to make a meaningful and significant contribution. For the last three decades, we have always responded to the call of the UN to serve, including in the most difficult circumstances around the world. While fully recognising the risks involved, Fiji’s confidence in its peacekeepers prompted us to provide troops to the Golan Heights this year to assist the UN in a time of need. The many years of service of Fijian troops in the Middle East region, particularly in Lebanon, Iraq and Sinai, is an asset that our troops take with them to that mission. Fiji also sees police peacekeeping and contributions in the corrections and justice sector, as important in building local state institutions that can be run by local authorities once the peacekeeping missions end, and we are building on our many existing commitments in that regard in Liberia, Darfur and South Sudan.

It is up to us in the General Assembly to ensure that all support possible is given to troop-contributing countries and police-contributing countries serving on the ground, including through clear and appropriate policy guidance. For the good of the countries concerned, we must not abdicate that responsibility, and I urge us all to work together in the UN to provide such concrete policy guidance, particularly as we see peacekeeping missions evolve into multi-dimensional and complex missions that differ greatly from early UN peacekeeping missions.

Mr. President,
As a Pacific island nation, Fiji reaffirms its support for the efforts of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to achieve sustainable development. Not only are SIDS acutely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as sea-level rise, ocean acidification and the increased frequency of extreme weather events, but for some of us, the threat is to our very existence. Our response to the plight of those most at risk must therefore be characterised by the requisite sense of urgency.

The convening of the Third International Conference for Sustainable Development of SIDS in 2014 is critical to addressing, in a very specific and concrete manner, the many challenges faced by SIDS. It is an opportunity for the international community to renew its commitment to the implementation of the decisions and agreements pertaining to SIDS. As the international community discusses the post-2015 development landscape, including a successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action, we must ensure that a new model accounts for, and addresses, the risks we face. This is particularly relevant for SIDS, where hundreds of millions of dollars in economic losses occur as a result of so-called ‘natural’ disasters every year. Protecting development gains and investing in disaster resilience is vital to sustainable development.

Mr. President,
The United Nation’s efforts to eradicate colonialism must forge ahead within the context of the Special Political and Decolonisation Committee, where Fiji is a member. Through the Pacific regional body known as the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Fiji works together with other members of the C24 to accelerate the process of decolonisation.

In reforming and developing its information and communication technology infrastructure, Fiji has adopted a comprehensive approach by combining a national framework for ICT development with effective and pragmatic policies and initiatives to deliver results directly to the Fijian people. That approach is bearing fruit. Fiji has achieved 95% mobile coverage, including 3G, concluded one of the region’s first open auctions for 4G spectrum, and is implementing a number of innovative initiatives to increase affordable access and improve services, including in the most remote parts of our country.

The International Telecommunication Union in its annual review of more than 150 countries’ delivery of ICT infrastructure and services to their populations, gave special recognition to Fiji as a developing country. Fiji tied for the third largest improvement of any country and is ranked 4th globally in percentage terms, improving by 14 per cent.

Mr. President,

As the first country to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Fiji has kept its oceanic obligations at the core of its foreign policy. While some disconnect exists between what is contained in international instruments and what is or is not implemented, we need a commitment for clear steps to turn words into actions in order to facilitate the sustainable management of ocean resources and make equitable the share of benefits from their utilisation.

Fiji hosted the inaugural Pacific Islands Development Forum last month. Its formation makes the PIDF the only south-south organisation in the Pacific region that provides for a multi-stakeholder platform where governments, the private sector and civil society can discuss what we, Pacific Islanders need to do, to achieve sustainable development.

We look forward to a productive 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Let me reiterate our full support and cooperation towards you and all members, with a view to advancing the objectives of the United Nations and the aspirations of the global community.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.


New York
September 23rd, 2013

Your Excellency, the President of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Ambassador John Ashe.

Your Excellency the President of the International Organisation for South-South Cooperation, Ambassador Francis Lorenzo.

The Secretary General of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union, Doctor Hamadoun Toure.

Your Excellencies, cabinet ministers of UN member states, Permanent Representatives and other ambassadors.

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

It’s a great pleasure for me to address you at this important gathering in my capacity as Chair of the Group of 77 and Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji.

Let me begin by thanking Ambassador Ashe for his warm introduction and congratulate him on assuming the Presidency of the General Assembly.

He has become a familiar and very welcome presence in Fiji, having attended the G77 High Level Panel there in May and the Pacific Small Island Developing States Preparatory Conference in July.

I extend to him our sincere thanks for the interest that he has shown in the Pacific generally and, Fiji in particular. I also extend to him our best wishes as he presides over the General Assembly in its forthcoming session.

I would like to thank Ambassador Lorenzo and Doctor Toure – along with their respective staff – for their efforts to organise this meeting, that brings together representatives from more than 60 countries.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

We all recognise the immense importance of securing international and South South cooperation to finance the introduction of Broadband technology throughout the developing world.

I’m pleased and proud to be here to recount the Fijian experience since our performance as a nation in this area has been specifically commended by the International Telecommunication Union.

In its last annual review of the delivery of ICT infrastructure and services to the populations of more than 150 countries, Fiji tied for the third largest improvement of any country, moving up five places to 88th.

The ITU attributed Fiji’s high ranking to strong growth in mobile broadband penetration; extension of 3G coverage to 95 per cent of the country; the development of the Pacific’s first national broadband plan; a commitment to making Internet access affordable; and the expansion of of e-Government services – putting the functions of the State online.

About 3 years ago we liberalised the telecommunications market and introduced actual competition for the first time. This has driven up access to mobile services and made mobile connectivity more affordable.

So in the middle of the Pacific, we have harnessed broadband technology to open up the world to our people.

We are ending their isolation, broadening their horizons and empowering them in a way that previous generations could never have imagined.

It has been an extraordinary revolution and a story I never get tired of telling. Because whatever the marvels of the technology involved, it is the positive effect on the lives of our people that makes Fiji an illuminating case study.

Two weeks ago, I was in northern Fiji opening five more of the Telecentres my Government has introduced to provide ordinary Fijians with free access to the Internet and other telecommunications services.

We now have fifteen of these Telecentres housed in predominantly rural schools around the country, providing free Internet access to almost 40-thousand people thus far – students during school hours and the wider community in the evenings and on weekends. And by the end of this year, we plan to have another five up and running.

I get a huge thrill from opening these facilities because of the delighted looks on the faces of ordinary Fijians as a door is suddenly opened to them.

It is the door to a world of opportunity: For the child who suddenly realises the boundless opportunity to acquire knowledge. For the mother who, for the first time, has the opportunity to talk via Skype and webcam to a son serving as a UN peacekeeper. For the father who has the opportunity to scan and email a job application instead of relying on “snail mail” or a lengthy and costly journey to an urban center.

There are millions of such people across the world who require our assistance to bring them affordable access to Broadband – to increase their opportunities, improve their lives and make them a global citizen.

They need not be living only in remote and inaccessible areas but can be in our midst, in the urban slums and informal settlements of most developing countries.

We must connect them, empower them, bring them the digital revolution as a fundamental cornerstone of our collective and holistic effort to help achieve our Millennium Development Goals.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Aside from the overriding imperative of empowerment, the Fijian experience establishes the fundamental importance of a number of key factors in the provision of Broadband.

*A partnership between Government and the private sector;
*A fair, efficient and transparent regulatory framework; and,
*Zero tolerance for corruption

For a small island developing state like our own, strung out over vast distances of ocean, high speed cable access was neither affordable nor practical so mobile broadband has been the only and immediate viable option.

The competition we’ve created in Fiji has driven down the cost of connectivity and has increased the quality of the services available to ordinary Fijians. And we’ve worked hard to remove systemic corruption and inefficiency, in telecommunications just as we have in the country as a whole.

Spectrum hogging, unplanned spectrum allocation and anti-competitive behavior before my Government took office has been replaced by a focused, well-planned and transparent system, positioning us for digitalization.

We recently concluded Fiji’s first ever spectrum auction that has opened the door for the introduction of 4G LTE technology.

We’ve been commended by many international stakeholders for the manner in which we conducted this open “ascending bid” auction and we have been invited to speak about our methodology at a number of international forums.

This auction means, that for the first time, we are getting a return for ordinary Fijians on their collective ownership of the airwaves while at the same time, providing them with the means to harness high speed Broadband. We have also zero rated duty on smart phones to give them even greater access.

We are not resting on our laurels. Our goal is 100 per cent coverage through a Universal Service Access initiative that will offer subsidies to telecommunications companies to put infrastructure in very remote areas.

The hope is to reach every Fijian. Because we all know the risk of not doing so. If we do not spread the advantages of the digital age to all, then technology will actually create even greater disparities.

We’re also establishing, with input from ITU, an Internet Exchange Point in Fiji to bypass the current need to have Internet traffic processed offshore.

All this done to world’s best practice.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to briefly share Fiji’s recent Broadband journey. I would be happy to share this experience and any relevant knowledge in greater detail through our Ministry of Communications for the benefit of our fellow members.

And as always, I reaffirm Fiji’s commitment to South-South cooperation as a means of improving the lives of all our peoples.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.


24 September 2013, New York: Prime Minister Josaia V. Bainimarama delivered a major statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China today during the inaugural meeting of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) UN Conference.

The Prime Minister was the first to speak on a Leaders Dialogue Panel also comprising of the President of the European Commission, the President of Turkey, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and the Vice President of the Swiss Federal Council.

The idea of establishing the HLPF originated from the Rio+20 Conference last year when UN Member States decided to give more political visibility to sustainable development. The HLPF replaces the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD), which for the last 20 years provided the international community’s home for sustainable development

“While we reflected on the lessons learned from twenty years of the work of the CSD, we also look forward to the rise of the High-level Political Forum, which we firmly believe should be a more vibrant and robust platform, with high-level political visibility, for sustainable development,” said Prime Minister Bainimarama to a fully packed Trusteeship Chamber graced by the presence of the UN Secretary-General and Heads of States and Governments from the 193 UN Member States.

Also in attendance were heads of international organisations such as the President of the World Bank and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.

Prime Minister Bainimarama further stated that the HLPF should provide political leadership to further enhance international cooperation on sustainable development.

He underscored the need to address sustainable development challenges from the prism of poverty eradication as its overarching objective. Outlining the functions of the HLPF, Prime Minister Bainimarama said it should “comprehensively implement the Rio+20 mandates and follow-up on the fulfillment of commitments, especially those related to the means of implementation: finance, technology and capacity building”.

While speaking on the importance of having effective multi-stakeholder dialogues within the HLPF, Prime Minister Bainimarama said the Forum should include think-tanks and research institutions from the South, such as the South Centre and the Third World Network, or newly established regional organizations from the developing world such as the Pacific Islands Development Forum.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said the HLPF should serve as a conduit for all those voices who wish to be heard, whose perspectives and contributions matter as much as those of policy makers.




23 September 2013, New York: The Prime Minister of Fiji, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama met in New York today with the Prime Minister of Vanuatu Moana Carcasses Kalosil to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on development cooperation.

The MOU essentially articulates the desire of both countries to strengthen their relations through cooperation on a number of key areas.

“Fiji and Vanuatu share development aspirations and challenges, and agreements such as the one we have signed today allow for collective and innovative solutions to be developed, drawing on best practices from each of our countries,” said Prime Minister Bainimarama.

The memorandum of understanding on cooperation which was signed today encompasses a broad range of issues including: bilateral trade and investment; education, youth and human resource development; labour mobility; immigration; commerce, retail and taxation; Fisheries Cooperation; air and sea transportation; health and pharmaceutical; climate change, environment, security and energy; and livestock development.

The MOU is envisaged to also further strengthen collaboration by the two countries within the framework of the MSG Agreement.

Prime Minister Bainimarama also expressed the Fijian Government’s commitment to work collaboratively with Vanuatu on issues of mutual interest to both countries.