Fiji & International Organisations
Some of Fiji’s key areas of interest are social welfare, international trade, climate change and disaster risk reduction, gender equality, rights of detainees, children rights, education, intellectual property law and practice, and telecommunications. Located at the heart of the international organisations’ hub – Geneva - the Mission accordingly liaises with the respective institutions based to help pursue Fiji’s national interests on the international floors.
Click the images below to view some of the Mission’s work with international agencies.
The ILO is devoted to promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights, pursuing its founding mission that labour peace is essential to prosperity. Today, the ILO helps advance the creation of decent work and the economic and working conditions that give employees and employers a stake in lasting peace, prosperity and progress. Its main aims are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.
In 2012, the Fiji Trades Union Congress made a complaint to the ILO Standards Committee claiming that Fiji was in breach of its obligations under ILO Conventions, and, specifically, in breach of its international obligations in relation to freedom of association of workers. Under the facilitation of the Fiji Mission in Geneva, parties involved in the industrial dispute where able to negotiate an agreement and focus on fostering continued social and economic progress. The agreement was signed in March 2015 by Fiji’s tripartite constituents to use the Employment Relations Promulgation (ERP) as the primary basis for labour management relations in the country.
The UNHRC is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. The Council is made up of 47 United Nations Member States. On a yearly basis, the United Nations General Assembly (GA) elects a third of the members for a period of 3 years. To date, no Pacific Island State has been a Member of the Human Rights Council. Fiji hopes to be the first one and will stand as a candidate in the Human Rights Council elections for a period of 2018 – 2020.
In 2007, UNHRC enhanced its work by introducing a mechanism called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). UPR is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. It provides an opportunity for all States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situation in their countries and to overcome obstacles to human rights. As such, the mechanism encourages a sense of accountability of UN Member States in relation to compliance with all human rights instruments and helps the states to seek technical assistance from the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) in order to implement specific recommendations.
The UPR process is an important mechanism for Fiji striving to achieve sustained, inclusive and sustainable development at a local and a national level. Fiji was under consideration in 2009 and 2014 and has since gradually addressed the issues of concern raised by the State representatives and other stakeholders.
WHO is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations’ system. It provides leadership on matters critical to health, engages in partnerships where joint action is needed, shapes the research agenda and stimulates the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge; it sets norms and standards and promotes and monitors their implementation; it further articulates ethical and evidence-based policy options, provides technical support, monitors the health situation and assesses health trends.
Among other initiatives, Fiji is currently involved in Piloting Climate Change Adaptation to Protect Human Health, a global project that aims to integrate climate change and health. Funded by the Global Environment Facility, the project is a joint WHO/UNDP effort to implement a range of strategies, policies and measures that will decrease health vulnerability to current climate variability and future climate change in a range of countries, including in Fiji, with different health risks. Besides climate change related health issues, Fiji Mission’s further focuses on nutrition and non-communicable diseases. Together with some 3500 delegates from WHO’s 194 Member States, Fiji attends the yearly World Health Assembly. In 2016, Fijian delegation led by Mr Jone Usamate, Minister for Health and Medical Services, took part at decision-making relating to WHO’s response to health emergencies and the International Health Regulations, non-communicable diseases and factors that can put people at risk, to childhood obesity and maternal, child and young child nutrition, as well as air pollution.
WTO is an intergovernmental organisation that regulates the multilateral trading system. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible. It oversees the implementation, administration and operation of the covered trade agreements, provides a forum for negotiations and for settling disputes, reviews and propagates the national trade policies, and seeks to ensure the coherence and transparency of trade policies through surveillance in global economic policy-making. The WTO also provides assistance to countries in transition to adjust to WTO rules and disciplines through technical cooperation and training.
Fiji Mission delegates participate in trade talks at the WTO seeking to implement trade facilitation agreements that go in line with the endeavors of the less and/or least economically developed countries. It further works with the UN and other agencies to ensure Fiji’s voice at the multilateral trading system, promote broad-based economic growth and contribute to development of trade strategies that help alleviate poverty and enhance green growth. As intermediary between the national government and the WTO, the Mission further makes policy recommendations to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Fiji’s international obligations and on the suggested ratification of new treaties and conventions.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is a global humanitarian organization that coordinates and directs international assistance following natural and man-made disasters in non-conflict situations. Its mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity.
The IFRC works with National Societies in responding to catastrophes around the world. Its relief operations are combined with development work, including disaster preparedness programmes, health and care activities, and the promotion of humanitarian values. In particular, it supports programmes on risk reduction and fighting the spread of diseases, such as HIV, tuberculosis, avian influenza and malaria.
The Fiji Red Cross Society provides a wide variety of services, ranging from disaster relief to first aid training in Fiji. In the humanitarian field, it supports the Fijian authorities as an independent auxiliary to the government. At the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Power of Humanity in 2015, the Fiji Mission hosted several delegations from the Pacific Red Cross Societies and moderated a side event on importance of strengthening legal preparedness for disasters and disaster risk reduction. It further chaired a two day commission on gender based violence in armed conflicts and disasters and negotiated resolutions on “Sexual and gender-based violence: joint action on prevention and response,” and “Strengthening legal frameworks for disaster response, risk reduction and first aid.”