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Institute of Human Rights Research
Island Resilience Initiative
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Latest News

Suva Fiji, 25 November 2020: The PIDF Secretariat was represented by its Secretary General, Ambassador Solo Mara, in the Third Asia-Pacific Forum for South-South & Triangular Cooperation which was virtually on Wednesday and focussed on the Role of South-South Cooperation in Building Back Better from the COVID-19 Pandemic in Asia and the Pacific. The forum was organised jointly by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and their Partners.

Ambassador Mara in the panel discussion titled ‘Regional and Subregional responses promoting South-South cooperation in addressing COVID-19 in the Asia-Pacific,’ highlighted that the global COVID-19 pandemic has caused unimaginable devastation to people’s lives, livelihoods and national economies. It has also offered an opportunity to reflect on our collective actions as a human race and their consequences on the one planet we live in.
“The challenge is in ensuring that the manner in which we build back better is founded on an inclusive sustainable “green growth” platform. That is, to identify how we can improve on the current economic model to protect our environment whilst delivering equitable sustainable growth for strong and resilient communities, “ said Ambassador Mara.
Moreover, Ambassador Mara re-emphasized that the pandemic has reinforced the importance of the supportive role that South-South and Triangular cooperation plays in creating resilient communities in the Asia Pacific region. PIDF would like to see this cooperation ramped up to assist PIC to address the socioeconomic and health challenges of COVID-19.
“Debt relief for the Pacific Islands is another area that must be considered by the international community as part of the COVID-19 response. The PIDF has made it a priority to highlight debt relief in our discussions with donor partners and with other international organizations. Such actions, will have a positive impact on PIC, enabling them to divert their resources to COVID-19 response and recovery to build back better. The Global South must continue to advocate strongly for this,” said Ambassador Mara.
Full Speech here: shorturl.at/ekoEZ
Suva Fiji, 19 November 2020: The PIDF Secretariat welcomed Mr Gerard Gomez, Head of United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in the Pacific and its Information Management Officer, Ms Rashmi Rita, based in Suva. The PIDF provided a brief on its sustainable development program, particularly in supporting member countries in building resilient communities through its green growth and blue economy platforms. PIDF Secretary General, Ambassador Solo Mara highlighted the synergies between UNOCHA and PIDF in its multi-stakeholder approach to development and recognise this as a complementarity in their respective goals in supporting zero emission and climate resilient communities in the region. The discussion was focused on common areas of interest in relation to humanitarian needs in the Pacific on disaster preparedness and recovery to build-back better.
Mr Gomez shared similar sentiments and emphasized the importance of proper communication and coordination with relevant national Ministries in the Pacific. In order to realize this, it is significant to expand existing networks and be aware of the role and responsibilities of other regional and international organizations. The UNOCHA and PIDF looks forward to working closely towards sustainable development in the Pacific and the attainment of the 2030 agenda
Suva Fiji, 13 November 2020 : PIDF secretariat celebrated festival of lights today also known as Deepawali, it is the Hindu festival of lights which is celebrated all over the globe. The joyous festival of Diwali also brings along the celebration of victory of good over evil.
The PIDF Team wishes every happiness and fortune on this auspicious occasion. May the warmth and splendor fill your life with bright cheer and bring you joy and prosperity for the whole year.

Suva Fiji, 13 November 2020 – The Regional Validation Workshop for the KOICA funded “Capacity Building to Strengthen Sustainable Implementation of Renewable Energy Technologies for Rural Energy Access” Project is being held from Thursday 12th and Friday 13th November 2020, at Holiday Inn, Suva.

PIDF Secretary General Ambassador Solo Mara, in delivering his Keynote Address stated, that the community receptiveness of the four project implementation countries of Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Vanuatu, captured through the training feedback sections of the Pilot Community Training Reports, illustrate just how high renewables are on the Pacific’s agenda. Readmore..

Launch of Fiji Youth Solar Challenge

Suva Fiji, 03 November 2020 – The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) and its partners launched the first ever Fiji Youth Solar Challenge (FYSC) – a national competition for youth from across the country to showcase the benefits of renewable energy. The FYSC aims to encourage the youth of Fiji to focus on the benefits of solar energy. Read More..

Suva Fiji, 23 October 2020 – Congratulations to our PIDF Staff : Mr. Viliame Kasanawaqa, Dr. Leba Ulita Salusalu, Ms. Afsrin Ali and Mr. Spencer Robinson for completing the Joint Online Training on “Making Cities Resilient: Developing and implementing local disaster risk reduction strategy to respond to COVID-19 and to better prepare for the future” organized by UNDRR GETI, UNOSSC & PAHO. Secretary General, Ambassador Solo Mara congratulated the team for successfully completing the workshop and appreciated their enthusiasm and engagement in this virtual course.

Suva Fiji, 22 October 2020 – The Pacific Islands Development Forum, welcomed Mr Daniel Muñoz-Smith, the Global Green Growth( GGGI) Country Representative for Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga and Vanuatu, together with his Team, to the Secretariat this morning.

Mr Smith paid a courtesy call to the PIDF Secretary General, Ambassador Solo Mara and met with the Team Leader, Program Management , Ms. Marilyn Tagicakibau and Coordinator Programme Management, Ms. Afsrin Ali for discussions on further synergies and avenues of collaboration between the Secretariat and the Global Green Growth Institute.

GGGI and PIDF are currently in the 2nd project year, of jointly implementing the Capacity Building to Strengthen Sustainable Implementation of Renewable Energy Technologies for Rural Energy Access project.

With the end goal to contribute to increased energy access and reduction of CO2 emissions through sustainable use of natural resources and renewable energy technologies in rural areas in Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and PNG and with the objective to strengthen informed and inclusive decision-making by resource owners and local government officials for integration of Green Economy (GE) and Renewable Energy (RE) into Local Level Planning and to Strengthen Implementation of Renewable Energy (RE) infrastructure for Rural Electrification.

The direct beneficiaries of this Capacity Building project, are Local Government officials (Sub-national, provincial, district, towns), and Traditional/Community Leaders from Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and PNG, including, with the conclusive result of 32 fully trained local Trainers/Facilitators (based in-country) and 3000 local government officials, traditional/community leaders and local technicians trained in green economy principles and renewable energy principles, operation and maintenance. The institutions (Provincial Councils, District Councils, Town Councils, Island Councils, Traditional/Community institutions/committees/etc.) that these people work for will also be direct beneficiaries of increased institutional knowledge in green economy and renewable energy.

Suva Fiji, 22 October 2020 – The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) was presented with a cheque by the Embassy of The People’s Republic of China in Fiji this morning. The funding provided is for a Food and Nutrition Project themed: ‘Strengthening Human Resilience in the Post-COVID 19 World through Healthy Food and Nutrition in the Ra Province’.

Agriculture is the backbone of Fiji’s rural economy and is crucial to the provision of food security, economic livelihood and the reduction in imported food and vegetables. The selected site, the Ra province, has the majority of the population directly dependent on the agricultural sector. Due to the impact of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the farmers have been trying to have alternative sources of income to sustain their livelihoods. Addressing food and nutrition security will not only provide this alternative source of income but will also boost immune systems that would fight against these outbreaks in the absence of proper vaccines or medicine.

The food and nutrition project in the Ra Province will focus on building resilience by up skilling and exchanging knowledge with communities on better nutrition intake and greater use of local produce through training programmes and assessments.

The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China has a long-term relationship with the PIDF Secretariat and the Secretariat is grateful for their generosity and will continue to work together in providing assistance in building climate resilient communities.

Wednesday, 14 October, 2020, Suva

The PIDF Secretariat team celebrated a great achievement by its Secretary General, Ambassador Solo Mara, who received from the President of Fiji, His Excellency Major-General [Ret] Jioji Konrote, the Fiji 50 Independence Commemorative medal at the State House with 25 other recipients.

Ambassador Mara’s investiture was in recognition of his 20 years contribution in the Diplomatic Service of the Republic of Fiji. Having rose through the diplomatic ranks to serve as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [2009-2011], High Commissioner to the UK [2011-15] and Ambassador to the USA [2015-2019].

Ambassador Mara in his remarks at a lunch organised by the Secretariat staff, dedicated the State’s recognition to his supportive family, and all the staff who worked under his command at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Fijian High Commission in the UK, the Fiji Embassy in the USA and the PIDF Secretariat. Ambassador Mara also acknowledged all those who have mentored and nurtured him during his service in the Fijian government.

9 October 2020, Suva Fiji
PIDF secretariat celebrated Fiji’s 50th Independence Day today. With the blue spirit flowing all over the country it was a joyous occasion for everyone at the secretariat. Remarking the experiences this day commemorates special historical events in Fiji’s history. 10th October 1970 Fiji became an Independent nation and its colonial status was abrogated. The PIDF Secretariat expresses its best wishes to the fellow Fijians.
May God Bless Fiji and its people today and forevermore.

30 September 2020, Rakiraki Fiji: The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) organised a talanoa session with stakeholders from the aquaculture and fisheries sector in the province of Ra to discuss opportunities and challenges in this sector and a way forward. This session was the second in the series of talanoas’ for blue economy development in Fiji.
The COVID-19 crisis has had a major negative impact on the livelihoods of these people in terms of sales and access to markets, prices and incomes from the aquaculture and fisheries industry. The PIDF Secretariat noted the common challenges raised and has committed to work towards providing support and building the capacities of the stakeholders, especially women, in the Ra province as requested.
The Secretariat will continue to organise talanoa sessions in Fiji to progress its mandate on the blue economy.

11 September 2020, Suva
A Letter of Intent was signed between the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) and the Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS), University of the South Pacific (USP) at the PIDF Secretariat. This engagement foresees a collaboration in promoting the sustainable development agenda through empowering resource owners and communities in the Pacific.

8 September 2020, Suva: The PIDF Secretariat welcomed Dr. Jay D. Lincoln, Charge d’ Affairs of the Embassy of the Republic of Palau based in Suva. The Republic of Palau became the latest member of PIDF at COP23 in 2017 making it the organisation’s 14th member and 12th member state. The PIDF Secretary General, Ambassador Solo Mara, congratulated the opening of the Embassy in Fiji and looks forward to working closely with the Embassy in helping our Pacific Island transition towards a sustainable Green-Blue Economy. The Charge d’ Affairs echoed similar sentiments and noted the importance of nurturing and expanding small sustainable projects through genuine partnerships for the benefit of our Pacific people.

Suva Fiji, 12 August 2020The first Annual Board Meeting of the Solarisation Head of State (SHOS) Residences in PIDF members project was held on Wednesday 12 August 2020 at the PIDF Secretariat. The Project Board meeting was attended by representatives from the Republic of Fiji, Republic of Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Government of India and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office. The Project board had unanimously appointed Tuvalu as the Chair. ReadMore..

Suva Fiji, 23 July 2020 – The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) organised a talanoa Session with the business owners and representatives from the aquaculture sector. This session was the first in the series of talanoas’ for the blue economy development in Fiji and provided a platform for these stakeholders to discuss challenges and a way forward for developing the aquaculture industry. The Talanoa session encouraged participants to discuss their concerns and possible solutions that would contribute to the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector. The PIDF Secretariat noted the common challenges raised by the private sector and has committed to work towards developing a sustainable aquaculture industry in Fiji as part of its mandate on blue economy.

Suva Fiji, 15 July 2020- The Pacific Islands Development Forum, welcomed the Permanent Secretary (PS) of Agriculture, Mr Ritesh Dass, to the Secretariat this morning.

PS Dass paid a courtesy call to the PIDF Secretary General, Ambassador Solo Mara and then met with the Team Leader, Member Capacity, Ms. Arpana Pratap and Coordinator Programme Management, Ms. Afsrin Ali for discussions on synergies and avenues of collaboration between the Secretariat and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Suva Fiji, 24 June 2020 – The head of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) pacific sub-regional office, Mr Solomone Momoivalu, and its Research Specialist, Dr Leba Salusalu, paid a courtesy visit to the Secretary General of PIDF, Ambassador Solo Mara. With PIDF’s designation as the regional platform for promoting south-south cooperation, the discussion centred around the opportunities for the two organisations to work together to create visibility and highlight the presence of the newly established sub-regional office in the Pacific Island region.

Also acknowledged during the discussion was the commitment of PIDF and the Fiji government in establishing the sub-regional office. The sub-regional office will spearhead south-south work in the region, engage partners, and ensure that the UNOSSC is responsive to the needs of the Pacific.

PIDF looks forward to working with the sub-regional office of the UNOSSC to promote green and sustainable development at the community level.

New Regional Solarisation Project to Improve Resilience in the Pacific
Suva, Fiji, 8 June 2020 – A regional initiative signed in Suva this week will see Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems installed on buildings of national significance. The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji and the United Nations Resident Coordinator, MCO Office based in Fiji have endorsed the multi-country project for the Solarisation of Head of State Residences in PIDF member countries through the India-UN Development Partnership Fund. Read More

12 March 2020 – The PIDF Secretariat hosted a preliminary discussion and way forward on the Pacific Region’s Organisations Partnership (PROP) concept with IUCN’s Regional Programmes Director, Mr Andrew Foran. IUCN indicated its support for the PROP concept, however, stressed the importance of re-looking at the initiative to capture clear directions, purpose, collaborative frame-work and the return on investment for interested organisations.

The Pacific Region is fortunate to have a number of organisations (Regional/Sub-Regional Organisations, International CSOs, UN Agencies, Academic Institutions and Interest Groups) performing important work related to Green/Blue Economy and Sustainable Development in order to improve the lives of Pacific people and their environment. For this reason these organisations have felt it necessary to form a lose partnership (called Pacific Region’s Organisations Partnership) to optimise the work of these organisations.
The Pacific Region’s Organisations Partnership (PROP) aims to build a network of organisations active in the Pacific islands region to introduce and share information related to their Green/Blue Economy and Sustainable Development work and initiatives of the various organisations and promote collaboration between them.”

6 March 2020 – Ambassador Solo Mara moderated session 7 of the The Melanesian Spearhead Group’s Ministerial and Senior Officials Conference on Eliminating Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Sub-region.
This session was for Ministers to discuss the topic and highlight whether enough has been done in implementing ESGBV strategies. Moreover, the discussion was centred around the advances and progresses if any and gaps and challenges and how individual Governments are addressing these gaps and challenges.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group’s Ministerial and Senior Officials Conference on Eliminating Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the MSG Sub-region had begun yesterday. The Inaugural Meeting is expected to Map out strategies on the way forward for addressing domestic violence and gender-based violence in the MSG Sub region.
To produce an Outcome Statement that may be a tool for Ministers as they engage in international spaces and Create a sub-regional forum to address gender and domestic violence with the goal of having this issue on the MSG Governance Agenda as well as part of its core activities.Supporting this initiative are the MSG Partners : Australian Aid, UNWomen, SPC RRRT, PIFs and PIDF. Meeting will conclude on 5th March.

20 February 2020 – PIDF Team Leader Programme Management Mark Borg and Programme  Management Coordinator Nikhil Lal participated in the inaugural meeting of the Plastic Waste Free Islands Project, implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with financial support of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). The PIDF team emphasised the need to address the matter with urgency and ensure we have alternative and safe products in place before plastic bans are introduced, to find economically viable solutions and to involve the private sector at every step of the way as they will be the ones driving the transition.

18 February 2020 – PIDF Secretary General Ambassador Solo Mara and Team Leader Programme Management Mark Borg met with Ms Susana Waqainabete-Tuisese, Country Director of the Fiji Programme of Conservation International to discuss collaboration in initiatives that support community income generation with Private Sector involvement that would also have positive conservation outcomes.

13 February 2020 – The PIDF Secretariat hosted a preliminary discussion and way forward on the Pacific Region’s Organisations Partnership (PROP) concept with representatives from MSG Secretariat, Mr Stanley Wapot (Programme Manager for Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management) and Mr Christopher Waiwori (Senior Executive Officer). The Pacific Region is fortunate to have a number of organisations (Regional/Sub-Regional Organisations, International CSOs, UN Agencies, Academic Institutions and Interest Groups) performing important work related to Green/Blue Economy and Sustainable Development in order to improve the lives of Pacific people and their environment. For this reason these organisations have felt it necessary to form a lose partnership (called Pacific Region’s Organisations Partnership) to optimise the work of these organisations.

13 February 2020 – PIDF Secretariat hosted a Talanoa session on the Pacific Decade for Sustainable Transport. Ship owners and shipping agencies were encouraged to contribute their perspectives and suggestions for the common goal of reducing both costs and emissions by reducing the use of fossil fuel in the shipping sector. During the discussions ship owners recommended that Government needs to step in and play an important proactive role to support sustainable transport. Consultation with the private sector would be very vital to find solutions suitable for all. Sustainable transport systems make a positive contribution to the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the communities they serve. Transition to sustainable transport is important and the sector would benefit from the right regulations and incentives.

Leaders’ resolutions

Nadi Bay Declaration on the Climate Change Crisis in the Pacific.

We, the People of the Pacific Islands Development Forum, Striving to advance the sustainable and inclusive development of Pacific Island nations,
Dedicated to the goals of poverty eradication, environmental preservation and to addressing the challenges of the current anthropogenic climate change crisis;
Advocating for a paradigm shift to foster coherence between Climate Change mitigation and adaptation actions, environmental protection and resilience development;

Read more.

Pacific Decade for Sustainable Transport

At the PIDF Leaders’ Summit and Conference held in Nadi, Fiji on 29 and 30 July 2019, the PIDF Leaders endorsed a resolution that declared 2020-2030 as the Pacific Decade for Sustainable Transport.

Read more.