EU Pumped $9.6 Million Into Fiji’s Civil Society Organizations

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Latest focus is promoting human rights, development projects

By Salaseini Moceiwa

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 27, 2015) – The EU has financially supported civil society organisations in Fiji with about $20 million [US$9.6 million] since 2010.

This was revealed by the EU's charge' d'affaires Johnny Engell- Hansen during the launch of the Fiji Women's Rights Movement publication titled, Reaching Out, Reaching Women: Assessing the impact and effectiveness of FWRM's citizenship rights awareness training in Suva last week.

"Civil society is an important partner for the EU not only in Fiji but in all other countries including Europe itself," he said.

"In fact, our strong engagement with such societies is nothing new neither domestically nor internationally. Civil society including the private sector plays an important role in the consultative process and dialogues within EU institutions before new EU legislation is adopted.

"It is our firm belief that civil society has a pivotal role to play in democratic societies. It offers not only expertise and community-level engagement but also a constant public input and an important consultative mechanism between the state and its citizens."

Mr Engell-Hansen added in acknowledging this, the EU invested more than $7m [US$3.3 million] in the past five years alone through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and the civil society and local authorities' budget lines.

"These contributions are in excess of other regional funding or thematic budget lines such as the rural livelihoods program under the sugar support measures where the NGOs have been implementing successful mitigation programs such as helping farmers to earn a living and making micro loans available for small business to name a few.

"The EU invested $12.5m [US$6 million] into these programs in Fiji. It certainly has a successful component of our support to the sugar sector so far.

"Our latest call for proposals titled, Strengthening the Civil Society in Promoting Human Rights and Development in Fiji is still at the proposal stage and it is expected to be concluded in the next couple of months."

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