1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the visit of the Prime Minister who was invited as official guest of President Chirac, along with the Prime Minister of Luxembourg for the French National Day Celebrations. He, equally, attended a reception hosted by the French President at the Elysée.
During his visit in Paris, he discussed the modernisation of SSR International Airport with Mr Jacques Follin, Director General of “Aéroports de Paris”. He also met Professor Nicolas Mulfessis of the Faculty of Law, Paris-Sorbonne, to encourage cooperation between this prestigious institution and the University of Mauritius.
In London, the Prime Minister met with eminent personalities and discussed with :
(a) Baroness Usha Prashar, CBE, on Civil Service reforms and technical assistance on training of Public Officers;
(b) Lord Grenfell on EU Accompanying Measures for ACP Countries;
(c) Lord Diljeet Rana on Investment Prospects in Mauritius;
(d) Lord David Steel of Aikwood; and
(e) Lord Megan Desai of the London School of Economics.
He also held discussions on the reform of the judicial system with Lord Mackay in the presence of Sir Hamid Moollan, and on Equal Opportunities Bill with Lord Lester of Herne Hill, QC.
2. In the relentless fight against Chikungunya, Cabinet has taken note of –
(i) a series of aggressive measures taken by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life along with all stakeholders, including the private sector, to combat the Chikungunya disease and to prevent a resurgence in summer time;
(ii) the preparation of a Multi-Sectoral Plan of Action for the eradiation of Chikungunya by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in consultation with all stakeholders; and
(iii) the constant monitoring of the preventive campaign against mosquito-borne diseases by a Committee chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping.
The Action Plan provides for –
(i) the promotion of public education and community mobilization by enlisting the support of the community for the elimination of mosquito breeding grounds;
(ii) the reinforcement of the surveillance activities both at the Port and Airport;
(iii) the expansion of the responsibilities of the Vector Biology and Control Division with focus on specific research and development activities, and on auditing field work; and
(iv) the cleaning and embellishment of river banks, including dredging works, sentisization and clean-up campaign, and for an intensive education campaign to maintain a clean environment.
Consultants from Singapore and “the Institut Pasteur” of Lyons recently visited Mauritius with a view to making proposals to better control vector-borne disease.
3. Cabinet has taken note that Government strongly condemns the use of military force by Israel in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, the continued indiscriminate bombing and killing of large number of civilians, including women and children and the destruction of vital infrastructure. Mauritius calls for an immediate ceasefire and urges all sides to accept mediation to resolve the crisis. Mauritius supports all UN initiatives, including the establishment of keeping force on the Lebanon/Israel frontier to bring about lasting peace and stability in the region.
Cabinet also took note of arrangements made and facilities put in place for the evacuation and repatriation of Mauritians nationals affected by the crisis.
4. In line with the Government programme 2005-2010, Cabinet has taken note of arrangements being made for the setting up of a Chambre de Métiers under the aegis of the Ministry Education & Human Resources.
The main functions of the Chambre de Métiers will be to –
(a) maintain a database for the industry and a “repertoire des métiers” for the trade;
(b) establish a code of practice for each trade and monitor such code;
(c) effect quality control and provide technical support for modernization of the sector;
(d) publish the annual list of métiers and of those properly qualified;
(e) collaborate with other national bodies, like the Chamber of Agriculture, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other public or private organisations in order to promote the trade; and
(f) provide guidance for pre-employment, training and continuous training to members of the public.
5. Cabinet has agreed to Gabriel Island, a nature reserve, being developed for eco-tourism purposes with a view to diversifying the tourism leisure portfolio, as well, as for rendering it more accessible to Mauritians as another place of recreation. The island is of historic and cultural importance and has the highest percentage of indigenous plant cover among the northern islets. It has a general population of shearwater and a number of white-tailed tropic birds, as well as native reptiles. A Management Plan is being prepared to increase protection of the Island’s indigineous/endemic plants, the nature reserve or any of its features.
In line with this policy, Cabinet has also agreed to the lease of Flat Island to the Ministry of Tourism and Leisure, for eco-tourism and recreational purposes.
6. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Agro Industry & Fisheries, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications, would organise a “Quinzaine Canine” from 2 to 16 August 2006 with a view to sensitizing the public on the welfare of animals and the need to protect animals from ill-treatment and cruelty. The campaign also aims at arousing the population of the need to control stray dogs which –
(i) represent health hazards;
(ii) cause serious security problems; and
(iii) have a negative impact on our tourist industry.
During the “Quinzaine Canine”, the MSPCA Animal Hospital at Calodyne, which would be named after “Sir Gaetan Duval, GCSK, would be inaugurated. Other activities include -
• drawing, essay and quiz competitions, film shows, talks;
• dog shows and dog training demonstrations;
• opening of the MSPCA mini zoo at Rose Hill; and
• sterilization and registration of dogs.
An awareness campaign through posters and stickers, banners, pamphlets, leaflets, newspaper articles, billboards, MBCTV clips/spots, radio programmes would also be organised.
7. In line with measures announced in the Budget Speech 2006-2007 namely that the labour laws would be revisited “to remove the rigidities that create imperfections in the labour market and frustrate both investors and jobseekers”, Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of a Ministerial Committee to review the proposals made and provide policy directions with regard to further changes that would need to be brought to the new legal framework which is to replace the Industrial Relations Act, to make it more attuned and responsive to the new economic environment. The Committee would comprise inter alia the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development, the Minister of Local Government, the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity, Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions, the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment, the Attorney General, Minister of Justice & Human Rights and the Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications.
8. Cabinet has taken note of measures taken by the Ministry of Women's Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection to ensure better living conditions for women and children in distress. A new shelter would shortly be put up at Bambous to cater for the growing number of inmates.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the setting up of a Quality Control Laboratory for the testing of pharmaceutical products in Mauritius.
The laboratory would -
(a) ensure that drugs procured are of the required quality;
(b) serve as a technical backup to the licensing of new drugs and generics in particular;
(c) foster confidence in generic drugs amongst prescribers and enable the eventual implementation of generic substitution in private pharmacies;
(d) prevent and combat the scourge of counterfeit drugs;
(e) assist in the setting up and development of pharmaceutical manufacturing industries in Mauritius; and
(f) assist in the setting up of Contract Research Outsourcing companies in the field of pharmaceutical products in Mauritius.
10. Cabinet has taken note that Ganesh Chaturthi, would be celebrated on 28 August instead of 29 August 2006, and agreed to 28th August being proclaimed a Public Holiday.
11. Cabinet has taken note that the First Stakeholders’ Assembly of the SADC Implementation and Coordination of Agricultural Research and Training (ICART) Project would be held in Mauritius in September 2006.
The overall objective of the ICART project is to contribute to poverty alleviation and sustainable growth in the region through research and training. The specific purpose of the project is to implement a regional programme of action for research, which would enable the national agricultural research systems of SADC countries to enhance their capacity to improve incomes of small-scale farmers, processors, traders and other beneficiaries while maintaining the natural resource base. The first stakeholder’s Assembly would provide an opportunity for consultations in agricultural research, training and information/communication privileges for the region. About 115 delegates, including 80 foreign participants will attend the meeting.
12. Cabinet has taken note that the Annual General Meeting of the Southern African Forum Against Corruption (SAFAC) would be held from 7 to 10 August 2006, at Villas Caroline, Flic-en-Flac. SAFAC is a forum launched in Lesotho in 2001 for the purposes of mutual cooperation in combating corruption, economic crime and related offences.
About 20 heads of anti-corruption institutions, and representatives of the Ministry of Justice of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi and Swaziland would attend the meeting.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the holding of a workshop on the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) peer review exercise on 31 July 2006 at Domaine Les Pailles. The peer review exercise which has been structured in five major phases focuses on whether -
(a) policy reforms have been appropriately designed;
(b) initiatives proposed are pertinent compared to actual needs;
(c) the implementation strategies are adequate;
(d) the resources raised and mobilised are appropriate compared to the goals (human, financial, material, institutional, etc.); and
(e) the performance of the education system has lived up to the expectations, compared to the reform goals.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the holding of the All Africa IVETA 2007 Conference in Mauritius from 06 to 09 May 2007. The theme of the Conference is ‘The Integration of Education and Training to achieve Occupational Competence for Sustainable Development in Africa’.
The International Vocational Educational and Training Association (IVETA) which is dedicated to the advancement and improvement of high quality vocational education and training, has the following objectives -
(a) to foster and promote professional linkages among international vocational educators and training;
(b) to serve as a forum for sharing vocational education and training problems and solutions worldwide;
(c) to assist in the further development of vocational education and training as an international enterprise; and
(d) to facilitate the worldwide dissemination of vocational education and training information.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Attorney General, Minister of Justice & Human Rights and the Minister of Arts and Culture to Lithuania where they attended the 30th Session of the World Heritage Committee which culminated to the inscription of the Aapravasi Ghat as a World Heritage site. Cabinet has also taken note that the Ministry of Arts and Culture is liaising with the World Heritage Centre for the handing over of the certificate of inscription on 2 November 2006 in Mauritius on the occasion of the annual commemoration of the arrival of Indentured Labourers in Mauritius.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the High Level Consultative meeting on the Financing of Economic and Trade Reform in the context of the liberalization held in Mauritius on 17-18 July 2006 with a view to conceptualizing and accessing Aid for Trade. There was a broad agreement among the participants that Aid for Trade could be the instrument that responds to the needs of developing countries in financing adjustment reforms and addressing capacity constraints, particularly those countries exposed to trade shocks. It was also agreed that the debate on Aid for Trade at the level of the WTO and the Aid for Trade initiatives at bilateral and regional levels should be kept on two parallel tracks.
Cabinet has also taken note of the latest development in the Doha Development Agenda Negotiations at the level of the WTO leading to suspension of all negotiations as from 24 July 2006. Despite intensive consultations undertaken by the WTO Director-General, Mr Pascal Lamy to bridge the gap among the major WTO members, the G-6 countries continue to hold diverging positions on some key areas of negotiations, namely the market access for agricultural products, domestic support in agriculture and market access in industrial products. This collapse evokes a strong feeling of loss among WTO members as it indicates that the Doha Development Round will not be concluded by December 2006. As a way forward, developing countries have indicated that a greater focus be given to certain issues of development, including Aid for Trade in the interim period until the negotiations would be put back on track.
Cabinet has also taken note on the latest development with regard to the recommendations of the WTO Aid for Trade Task Force which concluded its work on 25 July 2006. After protracted negotiations over several months, the Task Force has come up with recommendations on which there seems to be a general consensus among WTO members. Many ideas from the recent Mauritius meeting on Aid for Trade are reflected in the recommendations of the WTO Aid for Trade Task Force. Mauritius re-iterates that Aid for Trade should proceed independently of the conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda and that it be implemented as soon as possible despite the suspension of WTO negotiations. Mauritius will pursue the regional and bilateral routes to mobilize support to its economic and trade reforms programme in the light of the Budget Speech, the Mauritius Aid for Trade Meeting and the WTO Task Force Recommendations.
17. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Meeting of Ministers of Finance/National Authorising Officer, Ministers of Trade/Regional Authorising Officers on the ESA-EC EPA Negotiations and the Regional Programming which was held on 19 July 2006 at Le Meridien Hotel, Pointe aux Piments. The Ministerial consultation was preceded by the following:
(i) the second meeting of the Task Force (TF) of the Inter-Regional Co- ordinating Committee (IRCC) on 13 July 2006 at Le Labourdonnais Hotel;
(ii) the ninth meeting of the IRCC, 14-15 July at Le Labourdonnais Hotel; and
(iii) a meeting on Financing Economic and Trade Reform in the context of Liberalisation (Aid for Trade Initiative), 17-18 July, Le Meridien hotel.
The objectives of the meetings were inter alia to:
(i) take stock of issues on project implementation of the 9th EDF and the outlook until the end of 2007 in each of the focal sectors, namely, Trade and Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Communications, Management of Natural resources, including Food Security and Environment, and a non-focal area which will include Peace and Security; and
(ii) develop a road map for the programming of the 10th EDF Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) for the ESA region.