Key Messages for the Voluntary National Review - Republic of Fiji
Fiji recognises the transformative and the development ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and considers that the 2030 Agenda, taken together with the Paris Agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, provides a framework for achieving a sustainable, prosperous and peaceful future for the world and its peoples. While the SDGs represent a global response to global challenges, Fiji considers them to be nationally relevant and capable of having a transformative impact on the quality of life of all Fijians.
Fiji’s Approach to Sustainable Development
The sustainable development principles underpinning the SDGs have long been the underlying principles for Fiji’s national development. In implementing the SDGs, Fiji has adopted a ‘whole-of-Government’ approach and has utilized national development planning as the primary instrument to drive forward SDGs implementation. In 2017, The Fijian Government launched its 5-Year & 20-Year National Development Plan (NDP) with the vision of transforming Fiji. The NDP is the outcome of a nationwide consultation process that involved the private sector, civil society, community groups, government and the general public reflecting the aspirations of the Fijian people and their Government’s commitment for a transformed Fiji. Mainstreamed and integrated within the various thematic areas of the NDP are the 17 SDGs—15 SDGs explicitly integrated into the corresponding 29 strategic priorities of the NDP while SDG 10 (reduce inequalities), SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) and SDG 13 (climate action) are treated as cross-cutting issues across the NDP. Consequently, the SDG implementation and its monitoring hinge on the NDP processes.
At the sector level, SDGs have already been integrated into sectoral strategic plans and policies in many sectors including but not limited to education, health and agriculture. Fiji also recognises that, while Government holds the important responsibility for achieving the SDGs, it is in everyone’s interest and everyone’s responsibility including private individuals, private enterprises, NGOs and CSOs to advance the sustainable development agenda. Working with these multiple stakeholders, the Fijian Government is helping advance socio-economic development and empowerment of all Fijians.
In the quest for creating a transformative Fiji, unprecedented investment has been undertaken in the education sector through introduction of free education, free textbooks and subsidised transportation to school. This is the single most important vehicle to empower young Fijians including the empowerment of the disadvantaged. Maternal and child mortality rates have been reduced, density of health workers has increased, and universal health coverage is the highest among Pacific Island Countries. Non-communicable diseases have become a health pandemic.
The strong and sustained growth momentum experienced over the years, places Fiji in a very opportune space to embrace a new wave of development with shared prosperity and inclusiveness at its heart. The Fijian economy has achieved nine years of consecutive growth –an extraordinary achievement in the country’s post-independence history. This unprecedented economic growth is resulting in declining poverty and inequality and has enabled massive investment in infrastructure allowing access to markets and opportunities.
Fiji is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and has been vocal about this in the international arena. Fiji’s global leadership on two important SDGs on climate change and oceans has been demonstrated through the co-hosting of the 2017 United Nations Ocean Conference and the Fijian Presidency of COP23. Fiji’s political leadership in these areas will be critical for building momentum on climate and ocean action and for the mobilisation of resources to climate vulnerable countries. Fiji is a signatory to a number of climate change related international agreements, and has integrated climate change into the National Development Plan to bolster climate and ocean action at the local level.
On a per capita basis, Fiji’s financial commitment towards the expansion of legal aid services ranks Fiji as a world leader in funding access to justice. This gives more low-income earners in Fiji greater opportunity to seek legal advice and enjoy the security, assurance and full protection of the law, creating an equal society.
Successful partnership with private individuals, private enterprises, NGOs and CSOs has been fundamental in delivering critical services in Fiji. These range from large scale infrastructure projects to community-based development initiatives.