A high-ranking Fijian official has stressed to the international community on the importance and value of education in addressing global challenges such as poverty, violence and climate change, the government said Saturday.
Jiko Luveni, Fiji's minister for women, represented Fiji amongst over 40 other nations at the Sixth Asian and Pacific Population Conference that concluded earlier this week in Bangkok, Thailand.
In her statement to the global forum, Luveni presented Fiji's statement on the way forward to population and development relative to the International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action, according to the Ministry of Information.
"As we continue to face the challenges of population demographics such as increased rural to urban drift and changes brought through globalization, we need to ensure that we have an education system that is flexible and responsive to better mitigate the impacts of such challenges," Luveni said, underscoring that effects of climate change and natural disasters has negative impact not only on the economy but also on the population.
"Affected families are reduced to poverty living, there is increase in domestic violence and sexual violence that leads to unintended pregnancies in displaced persons. The availability and accessibility of reproductive health services particularly contraceptives becomes a major issue. The special needs of the vulnerable population groups such as women, persons with disabilities, children and senior citizens is a major challenge and it should be embedded in the national development plans," she added.
Luveni told the conference that the Fijian government will ensure the integration of the International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action at community level through strengthened partnership through women's and young people's institutions.
"Fiji will also strengthen and mobilize community participation to promote reproductive health, through improving the accessibility of contraceptives. Communities will also be encouraged to take ownership of the campaigns to eliminate violence against women and girls. More focus will be directed towards the implementation and enforcement of existing legal frameworks to protect the vulnerable population groups in Fiji," said Luveni.
Organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund, the conference discussed topics such as population issues, successes, challenges and priorities in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, youth, aging, migration, and urbanization.