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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 16 March 2007

Cabinet Decisions taken on 16 March 2007

1. Cabinet has taken note that, in the context of the National Day Celebrations 2007, the Prime Minister would visit Rodrigues from 18 to 20 March 2007. He would be accompanied, inter alia, by the Hon J.B. David, Minister of Local Government.

2. Cabinet has taken note that the World Heritage Centre has, on 9 March 2007, informed the Ministry of Arts & Culture that the Nomination Dossier of Le Morne Cultural Landscape has been determined to be technically complete as per requirements outlined in the Operational Guidelines of the World Heritage Convention. Copies of the Dossier have been referred to the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the World Conservation Union for evaluation.

3. Cabinet has taken note of the growing interest in the cooperative movement following the launching of the Cooperative Entrepreneurship Development Programme by the National Institute for Cooperative Entrepreneurship. The primary aim of the Programme is to provide participants with new insights, help them crystallize concepts and stimulate creativity and innovation so that they may create their own small enterprises by using cooperatives as a model.
As at date, some 741 women have followed training under the Cooperative Entrepreneurship Development Programme and eight women cooperative societies have been registered. About 191 women have subsequently been exposed to the world of business; they have thus been given the opportunity to contribute to the national economy.
The main objectives of the new women cooperative societies are, inter alia, to:
(a) create a source of credit for provident and productive purposes at a reasonable rate of interest;
(b) import raw materials and readymade garments for the purpose of selling in fairs and markets;
(c) set up and manage day-care centres, kindergarten and crèches;
(d) produce handicraft products and encourage creative arts;
(e) provide savings facilities for members by encouraging thrift and savings;
(f) raise funds by issuing shares, contracting loans receiving deposits from members and non-members and accept donations from different sources and also to grant loans to members;
(g) undertake and provide catering services for social events; and
(h) indulge in the manufacture of processed foods, such as pickles, crystallised fruits, etc.

4. Cabinet has taken note that the Mauritius Meteorological Services and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC) based in Bangkok, Thailand, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2006, which provides, inter alia, for the following areas of cooperation –
(i) Early Warning arrangement, preparedness and mitigation of natural hazards; and
(ii) establishment of cooperative linkages between the Mauritius Meteorological Services and the ADPC.
As a first step of the collaborative effort, a Regional Workshop on Multi-Hazard End-to-End Early Warning would be held in Mauritius from 3 to 6 April 2007 for the benefit of neighbouring countries, viz. – Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Somalia, Seychelles and Tanzania.
The Workshop which would focus on the importance of enhancing disaster preparedness and response through sound risk communication practices, aims at -
(i) standardizing Early Warning information products and services in the region;
(ii) addressing gaps in Disaster Management systems;
(iii) sharing tools and experiences available within the region to improve the provision of and responses to Early Warning information; and
(iv) establishing a multi-year programme for disaster risk management organizations in the region.

5. With a view to further strengthening bilateral cooperation between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of Mauritius, Cabinet has taken note that the following Agreements would be signed during the forthcoming official visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation to the Arab Republic of Egypt from 20 to 24 March 2007:
(a) Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement between Mauritius and Egypt;
(b) Executive Programme on Cultural Cooperation for the years 2007-2010;
(c) Memorandum of Understanding on Fisheries between Egypt and Mauritius; and
(d) Memorandum of Understanding on Technical Cooperation between the Arab Fund for Technical Assistance to African Countries and the Government of Mauritius.

6. Cabinet has taken note that, following the setting up of the Gamede Rehabilitation Loan Scheme by the Development Bank of Mauritius, about 1500 planters, livestock breeders and fishermen have called at the Bank for information on the loan scheme; 1200 applications for an amount of Rs53m have been received; loans to the tune of Rs17m have been sanctioned and a total amount of Rs1m has so far been disbursed.
Cabinet has further taken note that 2800 planters have applied for seeds and distribution has started at different sub-stations of AREU.

7. Cabinet has taken note that the Council of Ministers’ Meeting of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) would be held on 3 April 2007 in Mauritius. The Meeting would be preceded by the “Comité des Officiers Permanents de Liaison” on 30 and 31 March 2007. The Meeting would examine progress in the implementation of the various projects/programmes undertaken at the level of the IOC, review the status on the utilisation of the 9th EDF resources and also consider the state of preparation for the Regional Strategy Paper and Regional Indicative Programme under the 10th EDF.

8. Cabinet has taken note that, with a view to further improving computer security readiness and raising awareness, the National Computer Board and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team-India (CERT-In) would sign a Memorandum of Understanding which provides for -
(i) collaboration on best practices in the field of Information Security Risk profiling; and
(ii) sharing of information related to computer security threats and counter-measures.
Cabinet has also taken note that an India-Mauritius Working Group would be set up to work out and facilitate programmes for, inter alia,:
(i) the setting up of communication channels for exchange of information;
(ii) developing an action plan and implementing the Mauritius Computer Emergency Response Team
(iii) capacity building for the staff who will be involved in the CERT-MU with respect to security incident handling and reporting, analysis of threats, vulnerability assessment, security advisories and helpdesk support; and
(iv) developing skills through exchange and training programmes in the field of IT Security.

9. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Mauritius acceded to the Montreal Protocol in November 1992 and has since then implemented several projects to phase-out substances that deplete the Ozone Layer, viz. -
(i) elaboration of a Country Programme for phasing out of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS);
(ii) implementation of an Institutional Strengthening project resulting in a 69% reduction of local consumption of ODS;
(iii) technology transfer in the manufacturing sector, namely domestic refrigerators and aerosols;
(iv) training of technicians and Customs Officers for a strict control on importation equipment and products containing ODS;
(v) training of trainers in the refrigeration and air conditioning sectors for recovery and recycling Chlorofluorocarbons;
(vi) elaboration of Refrigerant Management Plan; and
(vii) implementation of the terminal Phase out plan for Chlorofluorocarbons and Methyl Bromide.

10. In line with Government policy to provide ICT training to students, employees and the public, Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications launched the Universal ICT Education Programme (UIEP) in Rodrigues on 3 March 2007. Under the Programme –
(i) a target of 9960 Rodriguans has been identified to benefit from the IC3 training course over the next four years comprising primary and secondary school teachers, secondary school students, including school leavers, employed persons and the general public.
(ii) Training courses would be run at multiple locations and 21 trainers have already been trained to conduct the IC3 course.
(iii) The Commission for Education, Training, Arts and Culture would have responsibility for the running and management of the UIEP in Rodrigues.
With a view to promoting development of ICT in Rodrigues, the following avenues of collaboration have also been explored –
(i) the NCB would consider opening an office in Rodrigues to actively participate in the development of ICT on the island and introduce specific online e-services for Rodrigues in the medium term.
(ii) The Rodriguan Authorities have been invited to submit proposals for inclusion in the National ICT Strategic Plan currently under preparation.
(iii) Consideration would be given to the possibility of connecting Rodrigues to the optical fibre cable.

11. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the following meetings held in Brussels from 27 February to 1 March 2007, and which was attended by a delegation led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation -
(i) The ACP Ministers Meeting in Charge of EPA Negotiations, which, discussed, inter-alia, -
(a) Development aspects of EPAs: identification and mobilization of resources for the preparation and implementation of the EPAs.
(b) Status of the formal and comprehensive review of the EPA negotiations of the Cotonou Agreement.
(ii) The Third Eastern and Southern Africa European Commission Ministerial Meeting which took stock of the negotiations with a view to giving political impetus and directives to negotiators for concluding the EPA.
(iii) The Twelfth Meeting of the ACP Ministerial Trade Committee which focussed on the status of the EPA Negotiations in all the different clusters, including market access, trade-related issues and EPA Negotiations in all the different clusters, as well as, the review of the Negotiations in accordance with the provisions of the Cotonou Agreement.
(iv) The Seventh Meeting of the Joint ACP-EC Ministerial Trade Committee which focussed on the imperative need to adhere to deadlines.
Cabinet has also taken note of the outcome of the bilateral meetings that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation had in the margins of his mission with the following personalities –
(i) Dr Mohan Kaul, Director of the Commonwealth Business Council;
(ii) Dr Tidu Maini, Pro Rector, Development and Corporate Affairs, and Divisional Administrator of the Imperial College; and
(iii) Mr Robert Prys-Jones, Head of Bird Group, Natural History Museum.

12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the participation of the Minister of Women's Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection in the 51st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York from 26 February to 5 March 2007.
The Commission on the Status of Women is a functional Commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. It is also the global policy making body which meets annually to evaluate progress on gender quality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women.
The 51st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women focussed on "The Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination and Violence Against the Girl Child" and emphasized national and regional level implementation made at the Fourth World Conference in Beijing and on the outcome of the 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly.
In the margins of the meeting, the Minister of Women's Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection met Dr Iftekar Ahmed Chowdary, Advisor on Foreign Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh with whom she discussed micro-credit financing and the development of the entrepreneurial culture among women and Ms Raima Salah, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF with whom she evoked the possibility of assistance on the establishment of day care centres for children.

13. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Environment & National Development Unit has made arrangements for the cleaning of drains, rivulets following the passage of Cyclone Gamede and the recent heavy rainfall.