The assistant minister from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Fiji, Lenora Qereqeretabua, met with the High Commissioner of Canada to Fiji, Joanne Lemay. They also discussed some Indo-Pacific Strategies to support Fiji.
Reportedly, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Fiji is working closely with its Canadian counterparts to establish a new Canadian High Commission in Fiji and implement Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, which marks a new era in strengthening our diplomatic relations with one of the world’s largest economies.
The expanded diplomatic ties will bolster opportunities for cooperation in economic development, trade and tourism, climate change resilience, people-to-people links, and diaspora engagements.
This was conveyed during a meeting between the Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lenora Qereqeretabua and the High Commissioner of Canada to Fiji, Joanne Lemay.
The discussions highlighted Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy to support Fiji by establishing its first international assistance program for the Pacific Islands region.
The new program will build on Canada’s current regional development initiatives, including projects such as The Kiwa Initiative – Nature-based Solutions for Climate Resilience, Pacific Islands Markets for Change, Support to the Climate Finance Access Network and Strengthening Small-scale Fisheries.
Since 2012, the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives has supported 39 development projects in Fiji.
High Commissioner Lemay will be visiting one such project on Beqa Island, which is positively impacting the communities by helping women improve their business management skills, expand their businesses and enhance traditional and cultural activities and practices.
Qereqeretabua thanked Canada for its ongoing support of Fiji and the work undertaken to open Canada’s resident High Commission in Fiji to increase its engagement in the Pacific Islands.
The Assistant Minister acknowledged Canada’s commitment to align their partnership with Fiji’s national development priorities and needs.
The discussions also focused on increasing trade and tourism through strengthened air connectivity via Fiji and Canada direct flights and visa accessibility.
Enhancing Fijian diaspora engagements in Canada to enable them to contribute to Fiji’s development is an essential area of cooperation.
The discussions coincided with Qereqeretabua’s meeting with the Fijian diaspora in Ottawa via a Zoom session, highlighting potential collaboration opportunities to further deepen relations between Fiji and Canada.
Fiji notes the launching of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy in November 2022 and its growing diplomatic presence in the region, starting with Canada’s first resident diplomat in Fiji.
In conclusion, the Assistant Minister assured High Commissioner Lemay of Fiji’s continued support as both nations aspire to build enduring partnerships in the regional and global arena.
High Commissioner Lemay reaffirmed Canada’s determination to expand cooperation by opening the new Canadian High Commission in Fiji.
The meeting, which took place at the Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters on Wednesday, 4/10/23, signifies the cordial relations and cooperation between the two nations.