MEDIA RELEASE: CABINET MEETS WITH DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS TO STRENGTHEN PARTNERSHIPS

Attorney-General and Minister for Finance Hon. Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum durin...Fiji’s development partners were given a clear picture of Government’s priority areas during a meeting with Cabinet in Suva today.

The meeting was the first of its kind in Fiji’s history and gave representatives from development partners the chance to meet with Ministers face-to-face and begin to consider opportunities for future partnership.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, made a presentation at the meeting highlighting the Government’s top priorities and pointing out areas where assistance would be most useful.

He spoke about Government’s plans for infrastructure, education, healthcare, national security, social welfare, gender policies, protection of children, enforcement of services to disabled persons, urban and rural development, trade, employment, industrial relations and agriculture.

Representatives from the United Nations’ agencies, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank were present at the meeting and all expressed keen interest to partner with Government to help Fiji achieve its development goals.

Speaking after the meeting, the Attorney-General said that the FijiFirst Government is committed to working closely with foreign development partners to ensure that their programs and projects are coordinated with Government’s priorities and initiatives.

The Attorney-General explained that close coordination and cooperation between Government and development partners will ensure both the maximum benefit for the Fijian people as well as the most efficient use of resources.

“In order to have the greatest effect, programs – whether by individual agencies or NGOs – should be developed in consultation with Government and therefore meetings like this allow us to adopt a coordinated and holistic approach to national development,” he said.

The United Nations Development Programme’s resident representative, Ms Osnat Lubrani, said development agencies can be critical in providing not just funding but also technical expertise.

“Next year will be very important for the United Nations as we take stock of the UN’s sustainable development goals in terms of what has been achieved. So this meeting has been important for us to understand the issues Fiji will be dealing with,” she said.

Envoys of foreign missions also spoke about strengthening their development commitment in a number of key sectors.

The Attorney-General said the feedback from the first meeting has been very positive and a second meeting has already been scheduled in two weeks’ time when development partners are expected to make specific proposals for programs that can complement Government’s work.

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