Sunvoice

We’re back in the Commonwealth

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama is now in Malta after delivering the keynote address at the 102nd Session of the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) Council of Ministers in Brussels. This
26 Nov 2015 10:00
We’re back in the Commonwealth

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama is now in Malta after delivering the keynote address at the 102nd Session of the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) Council of Ministers in Brussels.

This is the first time Fiji is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) after the takeover in 2006.

Now after the successful democratic elections in 2014, we have regained full membership together with its benefits.

The benefits of Commonwealth membership are numerous and multi-faceted.

At the outset membership of an international organisation that is 50 years old and based on a historical colonial association has its own obvious advantages.

Because of the similarities of our common law system with other Commonwealth countries, it is easier for legal practitioners to practice in other Commonwealth jurisprudence and likewise use and exchange legal precedence set in other commonwealth courts. Fiji continues to benefit from legal practitioners from other commonwealth countries like Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Australia, New Zealand and India over the years.

Exchanges in law and order officials and training assistance obtained from other Commonwealth countries is another significant benefit of a shared legal source.

Currently there are thousands of Fijians employed in the Armed Forces of the UK, Canada, Australia and NZ. This has been helped by Fiji’s Commonwealth membership status.

The Commonwealth Secretariat had assisted Fiji extensively in the preparation of our Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) claim.

Fiji stands to gain an extra 70,000 nautical miles to our EEZ once this negotiation with NZ concludes.

The Commonwealth has also lifted its advocacy on climate change to focus on Climate Finance in Small States. Several bilateral and multilateral funds exist that provide both funding and technical assistance to developing countries, helping them to address the challenges faced by climate change.  Fiji will benefit from this.

The Commonwealth provides small states with a platform and an opportunity to discuss their issues and needs so that they are brought to the forefront of agendas at wider global meetings.

It has forums and meetings that bring different stakeholders from within the Commonwealth and beyond to brainstorm on key challenges that these countries are facing and identify practical policy options for addressing these challenges.

There are many other benefits. The Prime Minister is making sure we get our share.

 

maika bolatiki

Feedback:  maikab@fijisun.com.fj

 




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