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MEDIA RELEASE January 16, 2002


Government departments and NGOs have come together in Suva today to discuss such pressing issues as poverty alleviation, the protection of our natural environment and sound macroeconomic policies in preparation for this year’s World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD).

The national multi-stakeholder consultation, running today and tomorrow at the University of the South Pacific’s Marine Studies Lecture Theatre, has been organized by the National WSSD Steering Committee, which is made up of both government department and NGO representatives.

The WSSD, to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August will bring together governments worldwide to review progress made since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and re-chart the path for sustainable development into the new millennium.

Current analyses show that not enough has been done in response to environmental crises facing the world and that collaborative steps must be urgently taken.

"Sustainable development" strategies must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, as well as improving the well being by integrating social, economic and environmental goals.

Participants at the Fiji consultation are reviewing achievements made and constraints faced in relation to national sustainable development objectives since the 1992 summit, as well as identifying national priority issues for the next decade.

Outcomes of the workshop will be integrated into Fiji’s National Assessment Report to form Fiji’s submission to the WSSD.

"The significance of the workshop is that it will bring together individuals and organisations from both government and civil society that have played a key role in contributing to the sustainable development of Fiji," said National WSSD Steering Committee spokesman and Principal Environment Officer Manasa Sovaki.

"Most importantly, participants will engage in discussing and identifying national priority issues that will require attention and resources from the international community if we are to continue development without compromising our natural environment and social needs of our citizens."

The national consultation is being funded by the Manila-based Earth Council, through the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC).

PCRC has been coordinating national multi-stakeholder consultations throughout the Pacific region, in partnership with national NGOs and government WSSD focal points.

The Federated States of Micronesia, Cook Islands, Palau, Niue and Tonga have already conducted their consultations.

For further information, please contact Patrina Dumaru at the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre: TEL: (679) 304 649; Email: 

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