Fiji Ministries and partners commit to ‘WASH for Quality Life’

Report
from UN Children's Fund
Published on 25 May 2018 View Original

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Summit 2018

NADI, 25 May 2018 – Today, the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Summit will conclude, where eighteen Government agencies and non-government partner organizations undertook exhaustive consultations to determine key activities and strategies in order to strengthen Government systems to provide access to water and sanitation for all Fijians.

The Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Hon. Mr. Praveen Bala, said “The Fijian Government has made relentless efforts in the last decade to ensure that all Fijians have access to both safe water and adequate sanitation services. It has also embedded the right to have access to clean and safe water and also efficient sanitation services into the constitution. The Government’s commitment is also reflected in the National Development Plan targeting 100% access to safe, drinking water by 2030 and 70% access to improved sanitation systems by 2021.”

The summit has begun the development of a sector-wide implementation plan that would support and identify roles and responsibilities, coupled with key actions needed to achieve the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) target of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 6) which aims to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’. The National Water and Sanitation Policy, which is currently being finalised, will provide a framework to support Government efforts in ensuring water and sanitation for all.

In Fiji, about one in ten people lack access to basic water supply and sanitation. “Recognizing the many challenges to provide safe water and adequate sanitation to all children, UNICEF is committed to support the Government of Fiji in achieving its goals. Every child has the right to grow up in a safe and clean environment and reach their full potential,” said UNICEF WASH Specialist, Marc Overmars.

Poor sanitation facilities and hygiene practices as well as a lack of access to clean drinking water contributes to water-borne diseases, which are in turn a significant cause of death among children under five years of age. Functioning water and sanitation facilities at home and in schools reduces illnesses and improves school attendance and learning outcomes for girls and boys. 

The implementation plan developed in the summit, shows the Fijian Government’s commitment to the basic human right of access to clean water and sanitation for all Fijians.

About the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (MOIT)

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport is directly responsible for policy formulation, planning and design, regulatory implementation and enforcement, coordination and implementation of programs, projects and services relating to public works infrastructure, land and maritime transportation and public utilities which encompasses electricity and water. 

The Ministry’s responsibilities cover critical infrastructure areas such as renewable energy systems like hydro power, solar and wind, structural and architectural design, aids to navigation, buildings, joinery, mechanical, electrical, the plant pool, vehicles, solar systems, roads and diesel generators. Likewise the transport sector covers land and maritime transportation.

The Ministry is also responsible for overseeing policy, legislative, administrative and regulatory functions of various Government Commercial Statutory Authorities (GCSA) including the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Water Authority of Fiji (WAF), Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF), Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) and Energy Fiji Limited (EFL) as the Government Commercial Company (GCC). This Ministry is one that has undergone major reforms leading to the establishment of the above GCSA and GCC internally to streamline operational effectiveness in all aspects of the Ministry’s deliverables as expected by Government and the citizens of this country.