1. Cabinet has taken cognizance of the revised Nomination Dossier for the inscription of Le Morne on the World Heritage List, prepared by Dr F. Odendaal, in consultation with all stakeholders and socio-cultural organizations, and has agreed to its submission to UNESCO.
2. In line with Government's policy to reduce bottlenecks and speed up the issue of licences and permits, Cabinet has taken note of the promulgation of regulations under the Environment Protection Act 2002 with a view to amending the list of undertakings requiring a Preliminary Environmental Report approval and an EIA licence specified under the First Schedule to the Act. Cabinet has, further, taken note that, as regards undertakings that have been deleted from the First Schedule, appropriate checklists and guidelines would be prepared to support the protection of the environment and enable enforcement.
3. Cabinet has taken note of the report prepared by the Traffic Management and Road Safety Unit of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping on "Road Accidents in Mauritius" using the Micro Computer Accident Analysis Package software. This software has been developed by the Transport Research Laboratory of the United Kingdom and is widely used in countries, such as India, Malaysia, Turkey, Colombia, etc. It enables a more scientific and reliable compilation of information in respect of road accidents and includes a digital map of the road network of Mauritius, thus providing data on factors, such as location, time, gender, age, environment, road status, etc. The software has enabled making correlation between the usage and the size of different categories of vehicles and the risk of their getting involved in a Killed and Seriously Injured accident.
The salient features of the Report are, inter alia, –
(i) the number of vehicles registered at the National Transport Authority has increased from 305,496 in December 2005 to 312,227 in June 2006, i.e., by 6,731 vehicles;
(ii) from January to June 2006, a total of 10,030 road accidents was reported, of which 899 were casualty accidents and 9,131 were non-injury accidents. A breakdown of casualty accidents by severity showed that 5% were fatal, 15% were serious injury accidents and 80% were slight injury accidents. Compared to statistics for the same period in 2005, there has been a decrease of 8.9% in the number of road accidents; fatal accidents have decreased by 15.4% while serious injury accidents have increased by 0.7%;
(iii) buses, representing only 1% of the fleet of vehicles in Mauritius, have been involved in as much as 7% to 10% of road accidents;
(iv) the ratio of Killed and Seriously Injured accidents involving buses per 1000 buses was the highest (17.5) as compared to motor/auto cycles which was only 1.42;
(v) motor/auto cycles represent 43% of the fleet and were involved in 27% of the road accidents, whereas 34% of vehicles involved in injury accidents were cars. The number of car accidents increased by 35% between 2004 and 2005;
(vi) motor cycle and auto cycle crashes occur during all time of the day, but they are higher between 14 00 hours and 20 00 hours, whereas 58% of cars accidents occurred between 16 00 hours and 24 00 hours. For buses, it has been noted that the highest number of accidents occur on Mondays and drivers are more prone to accidents between 06 00 hours and 10 00 hours;
(vii) the percentage of female drivers involved in motor cycle and car accidents is negligible;
(viii) motorway M1 has the highest rate of fatal accidents and the locations are spread over the whole stretch of the motorway; and
(ix) the report reveals that the major causes of road accidents are, inter alia, excessive speeding, unprotected road users, alcohol, fatigue, poor understanding of traffic codes, psychological condition and vehicle characteristics.
The analysis would enable targeted enforcement for achieving better results and would be used to further promote the road safety campaign and road safety education.
4. Subsequent to the visit of the Minister of Women's Rights Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection to China in August 2005 and in furtherance of technical cooperation between the two countries, Cabinet has taken note that the All China Women's Federation has donated equipment worth Rs 1.1 million for the new multi- purpose complex for women under construction at Phoenix. The All China Women's Federation which is a multi-tiered organization regrouping local Chinese Women's Associations, is dedicated to the advancement of women's rights and interests while promoting gender equality.
The equipment which would be used for programs geared towards women empowerment, comprise computers, laser printers, LCD projectors, projection screens, keep fit equipment, body building tread wheel, blood pressure monitors, electrical appliances such as stirring machine, oven, refrigerators, ovenware; stainless steel work table, sewing, overlock, cutting, split jointing machine, embroidery machine, and steam irons (industrial).
The multi-purpose complex would comprise inter alia the following facilities-
(a) a Cottage Industry, a Market Centre with sales outlets for women entrepreneurs;
(b) a Home Economics Resource Centre;
(c) a Keep Fit Centre;
(d) a Training Centre for the organization of workshops, seminars and lectures;
(e) a Cyber Café;
(f) a Children's Corner; and
(g) a Family Support Bureau.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the call by the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia on the Minister of Local Government, in his capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation. The Ambassador had informed him that Indonesian businessmen were very interested to invest in Mauritius, especially in the sector of sea-food hub, tourism, aquaculture and property development and had proposed that an investigation mission proceeds to Indonesia.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the first meeting of the Working Group set up under the Bilateral Labour Service Cooperation Agreement between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Mauritius on 7 and 8 September 2006 in Mauritius where the recruitment and the working and living conditions of Chinese workers were discussed.
The Chinese side was informed of the measures put in place to ensure that the rights and interests of Chinese workers were duly protected in line with the Bilateral Labour Service Cooperation Agreement, as well as, the ILO Convention 97 on Migration for Employment which has been ratified by Mauritius. Both sides have agreed to look into the possibility of extending the coverage of the Agreement to sectors other than textile.
7. Cabinet has taken note of activities being organized, on 28 and 29 September 2006, by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping on the occasion of the World Maritime Day. The Council of the International Maritime Organization has adopted the theme “Technical Cooperation: IMO’s response to the 2005 World Summit” for this year’s celebration. On that Day, the focus would be on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and maritime environment. In that context, a two-day exhibition would be organized at the Sea Training School and a health test of seafarers would, also, be carried out by the Non-Communicable Diseases Division of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the 3rd Global Environment Facility Assembly held in Cape Town, Republic of South Africa from 29 to 31 August 2006. The GEF is a financial mechanism that promotes international cooperation and fosters action to protect the global environment. Discussions in the Assembly were centred around the following main themes:
(a) Urgency of global environment protection;
(b) Integration of environment and development;
(c) United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification;
(d) Private sector investment in environmental activities;
(e) Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS); and
(f) GEF Small Grants Programme.
Cabinet has further taken note that three high level roundtables were held during the meeting, viz. -
(a) Market-based Mechanism for Financing Global Environmental Conventions;
(b) Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaptation; and
(c) Identifying National Priorities and Allocating Resources to Enhance Results at the Country Level.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the 56th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 28 August to 1 September 2006.
Technical documents that were adopted, along with their resolutions, were inter alia:
(i) Regional Strategic Plan for the Expanded Programme on Immunization, 2006-2009;
(ii) Child Survival: a Strategy for the African Region;
(iii) HIV Prevention in the African Region; a Strategy for Renewal and Acceleration;
(iv) Poverty, Trade and Health: an Emerging Health Development Issue; and
(v) Avian Influenza: Preparedness and Response to the Threat of a Pandemic.
Information Documents presented during the meeting include -
(i) Polio Eradication in the African Region: Progress Report; and
(ii) Implementation of the International Health Regulations.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications to London where he –
(a) attended the Second Commonwealth International Telecommunication Union Group Preparatory Meeting for the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference; and
(b) participated in the Government Roundtable organised by the GSM Association.
The purposes of the Commonwealth International Telecommunication Union Group Meeting were to, inter alia:
(a) consider reports emanating from the regional and topic co-ordinators appointed at the last meeting held in December 2005;
(b) further consider the 13 agreed Common Commonwealth Objectives defined in the first meeting;
(c) review the candidates for elected posts at Council and the Regional Radiocommunication Bureau;
(d) hold discussions on proxy arrangements; and
(e) decide on the Commonwealth brief for the Plenipotentiary Conference.
The Government Roundtable discussed issues that are critical for the economic growth and social inclusion in the Commonwealth. In the margin of the meeting, the Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications discussed investment opportunities with various personalities in the IT Sector in Mauritius.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the Board of the "Commission Nationale du Sport Feminin" (CNSF) with Mrs T. H. Nicole Hack as Chairperson. The CNSF was set up in 1992 with a view to sensitizing women of all ages for greater participation and involvement in sports.