2 December 2013, Suva Fiji - The Fiji Government has expressed its “absolute commitment” to help tackle the challenges of protecting the environment. Environment Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji accepted its role today as chair of the 9th Pacific Island Conference on Nature and Conservation Protected Areas with humility and pride. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Bainimarama Government’s overriding principle was to serve the people.
He added that it was the government’s obligation was first to serve its own people, to empower them through a host of policies such as our “clever country” initiative of free education for primary and secondary school students, and through tertiary loan schemes and indeed improved environment management.
“We also intend to serve our neighbours by developing Fiji as a more effective transport and telecommunications hub and increasing the opportunities for trade and economic growth,” he said.
“That service extends to our commitment to work with all of you to tackle and resolve the great environmental challenges we all face as we struggle to protect our surroundings.” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also thanked PNG for its role as the conference’s previous chair. He said Fiji and PNG held many common ideals.
“We regard Papua New Guinea as an important development partner, not only bilaterally but within the Melanesian Spearhead Group as we work to improve the lives of all Melanesians and the Pacific peoples as a whole,” he said.
Priya Chand is a member of the Media Team providing coverage of the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas from 2 to 6 December in Suva, Fiji. This is a partnership between the Fiji National University (FNU), University of the South Pacific (USP), SPREP and Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) whereby a team of 10 journalism students are mentored by senior reporters as they cover the conference. This activity is funded by the Pacific Assistance Media Scheme (PACMAS).