Fiji joins USAID initiative

 
US Ambassador to Fiji Marie Damour delivered a speech during the 248th American Independence Day celebration at the US Embassy, Suva. Picture: SAMUEL ROHIT

 

By SAMUEL ROHIT

Fiji has taken a significant step forward by joining the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Democracy Delivers Initiative, a program that promises to bring substantial benefits to the country, this follows after Fiji peacefully had transition of power after 2020 democratic election.

This initiative, launched by the United States, aims to support Fiji across various critical areas by mobilising new resources.

During the 248th Anniversary of US Independence Day celebrations at the US Embassy in Suva recently, a video message of Samantha Power, the Administrator of the USAID, emphasised the shared values of freedom, human rights, and democracy that form the foundation of the strong partnership between the USA and Fiji.

Ms Power recalled her visit to Fiji last year when opening the USA Pacific Islands Mission in Suva, where she witnessed Fiji’s dedication to democratic principles and their positive impact on the lives of Fijians.

She praised Fiji for its significant democratic progress and highlighted by the recent peaceful transition of power.

“As part of this effort, USAID will work with the government of Fiji to reinforce its recent democratic achievements and help citizens understand how democracy addresses their most pressing needs,” Ms Power stated.

The USAID initiative will focus on several key areas, including:

  • Supporting municipal elections;
  • Increasing women’s political participation as voters and candidates;
  • Extending access to the electoral process for people living with disabilities; and
  • Assisting Fijian farmers in improving the cultivation of root crops, fruits, and rice to ensure access to locally grown, nutritious food.

Additionally, the initiative aims to promote environmental sustainability by building more waste collection points in communities, encouraging recycling, and reducing ocean plastics to protect marine ecosystems vital to Fiji and the planet’s future.

“These resources have been mobilised to meet citizens’ priorities and help the Fijian people seize and expand on this moment of democratic opportunity,” Ms Power said.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Fiji Marie Damour, in her address at the event, reaffirmed the US commitment to tackling climate change impacts in Fiji. She stressed the importance of supporting sustainable agriculture to boost resilience against climate change.

“We’re identifying local crops that are both nutritious and climate-resistant, and we’re helping to improve those plant strains to make them more productive also developing healthier soils so these plants can thrive, and we’re doing that right here in Fiji,” Ms Damour stated.

This initiative is part of the US President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, aimed at enhancing food safety and security worldwide.

Ms Damour also highlighted the launch of the USAID Pacific Islands Mission, reinforcing the US commitment to the people of Pacific Island countries.

The US Embassy celebrated the Independence Day with a vibrant with theme “County fair”, the early celebration, ahead of July 4th, catered to those planning to travel during the summer break.

Notable attendees at the celebrations included Acting President and Acting Chief Justice Salesi Temo, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Viliame Gavoka, Minister for Rural and Maritime Development Sakiasi Ditoka, members of the cabinet, civil societies, foreign dignitaries, and business leaders.

The celebrations highlighted the deepening ties between the United States and Fiji, promising a future of strengthened cooperation and shared democratic values.

 

  • Samuel Rohit is a third year Journalism student at The University of the South Pacific, Suva.

 

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