14:46, July 17, 2013
SUVA, July 17 (Xinhua) -- China on Wednesday donated a sea wall to Fiji, which became an example of the Fijian government's commitment to addressing sea level rise and protecting villages along coastal areas.
Fiji' minister for rural and maritime development, Inia Seruiratu made the remarks at the commissioning of the Kiuva village sea wall project which was funded through the Chinese government's Gratuitous Aid Programme.
"The rise in sea level is leading to coastal erosion. With the majority of villages and settlements in Viti Levu (Fiji's main island) located along the coast, there is noticeable infiltration of the sea into the village compound during high tide," Seruiratu said, "the Kiuva sea wall project is one such example to address the sea level rise and to protect the village surroundings."
Successive development plans by the Fijian government have recognized the critical importance of managing the environment and natural resources, to ensure social and economic prosperity, he added.
"As a developing nation with scarce resources and competing priorities and obligations, the government has preferred to seek foreign aid and assistance from development partners to finance environmental related projects like this one in Kiuva," Seruiratu said.
Commending the Chinese government, the minister said the Fijian government had submitted its request through the Chinese Embassy seeking assistance for the construction of the sea wall in 2009.
The project is "a symbol of the strong cordial and lasting technical and bilateral cooperation between the government of the People's Republic of China and the government of Fiji," said Seruiratu.
Reiterating the Chinese government's commitment to enhancing bilateral cooperation and assisting Fiji's economic and social development, Huang Yong, Chinese ambassador to Fiji, said he was pleased that the sea wall was now protecting villagers of Kiuva from high tides and heavy downfalls.
"The sea wall has withstood the test of many high tides and hurricanes and I would like to thank the local villagers for the facilitation and support provided during the implementation of the project," said Huang.
The Kiuva sea wall project, which is located in Kiuva village, Tailevu province and includes the construction of boulder groynes and stone pitching of village drains, was constructed by a Chinese company and was completed earlier this year.
Fiji established diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China in 1975, becoming the first South Pacific island country to do so.