1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of Dr the Hon N. Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, Prime Minister, to France and the United Kingdom.
On an invitation of Mr Nicholas Sarkozy, President of the Republic of France, the Prime Minister attended the 25th Session of the Africa-France Summit which was held in Nice, France on 31 May and 1 June 2010. The main objective of the Summit was to further consolidate the partnership between France and the African States at a time when the world has witnessed the worst financial crisis and has to cope with the continuing uncertainties, especially in the Euro Zone. The Summit was structured around three topics:-
(a) Africa’s place in the global governance;
(b) Reinforcing Peace and Security; and
(c) Climate and Development.
In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister had meetings with -
(a) Baroness Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the European Commission and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy;
(b) Mr William Hague, British Foreign Secretary;
(c) Lord Richard Napier Luce, Lead Member of the UK-All Party Parliamentary Group on Chagos and Member of the House of Lords; and
(d) Hon Geoffrey Cox, Q.C., of Thomas More Chambers.
The Prime Minister also met Mr Philippe Sands, Q.C., International Lawyer from Matrix Chambers whose services would be retained by Government as legal Consultant on sovereignty and the Chagos matters.
2. In line with Government Programme 2010-2015 and with a view to completing the range of Speaking Unions, Cabinet has agreed to the Arabic-Speaking Union Bill, the Bhojpuri-Speaking Union Bill, the Creole-Speaking Union Bill, the Mandarin-Speaking Union Bill and the Sanskrit-Speaking Union Bill being introduced into the National Assembly. Some of the Bills were introduced into the National Assembly on 23 March 2010 but were not passed as the National Assembly was dissolved. The Bills, respectively, provide for -
(a) the promotion of Arabic, Bhojpuri, Creole, Mandarin and Sanskrit languages in their spoken and written forms;
(b) the fostering of friendship and understanding between Arabic, Bhojpuri, Creole, Mandarin and Sanskrit-Speaking peoples of the world and the engagement in any educational, academic, cultural and artistic works to further the objectives;
(c) the promotion and encouragement of the publication, exhibition and sale of books, magazines, newspapers and other literary works in the respective languages; and
(d) the promotion of inter-cultural and inter-linguistic understanding and harmony through participation in joint projects.
3. Cabinet has agreed to Government signing the "Copenhagen Accord", agreed upon by the Heads of State and Government at the High Level Segment of the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009. The "Accord" provides for measures to mitigate the effect of climate change and contains a pledge by developed countries to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions with a view to holding the increase in global temperature to below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial level. The "Accord" includes a pledge of USD 30 billion over the period 2010-2012 for balanced action between mitigation and adaptation by developing countries. The amount will be scaled up to USD 100 billion a year by 2020.
4. Cabinet has taken note of measures taken by the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology to increase access to tertiary education in Mauritius and to increase the Gross Tertiary Enrolment Rate to 72% by 2015, viz. -
(a) increasing access of students from vulnerable families through the grant of scholarships and government-guaranteed loans;
(b) provision of a wide range of programmes and greater use of open and distance learning; and
(c) establishment of brand name overseas tertiary education institutions or their affiliates/centres/ branches in Mauritius.
Cabinet has further taken note that –
(a) tertiary education institutions, with awarding powers, would be called upon to offer Foundation Programmes as part of their curriculum to enable students who do not meet the entry requirements to progress to a degree programme.
(b) Tertiary education institutions would also be encouraged to admit to their programmes, disabled persons, working class school leavers, housewives and ‘mature students’, i.e., somebody who has attained a certain age and who is returning to higher education after a break.
(c) The University of Mauritius would implement a pilot project to extend opening hours.
5. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with Government Programme 2010-2015 to create a culture of higher learning, the University of Mauritius, in collaboration with the Imperial College, London, would set up a School of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Mauritius to run a Masters’ in Public Health Programme. The Imperial College would also deliver short courses on, inter alia, -
(a) Health Care Quality, including Clinical Audit;
(b) Public Health Research Method;
(c) Primary Care Data Management;
(d) Clinical Governance; and
(e) Research in Clinical Practice and Health Care Management Systems.
6. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with Government Programme 2010-2015 to further consolidate the education system, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources proposes to introduce the Diplôme d'Etudes en Langue Française (DELF) Scolaire in secondary schools and, in that context, the Ministry would shortly sign a Convention with the French Embassy. The Diploma is awarded to candidates who have successfully acquired the required oral and written competencies in French as a foreign language. The Alliance Française de l'Ile Maurice has, for some years, been offering courses leading to the Diploma. The DELF Scolaire has been designed to suit the needs of students of Lower VI. Examinations, which are currently held in 164 countries, would be organised by the Centre International d'Etudes Pédagogiques of France.
7. Cabinet has taken note that a National Steering Committee on Gender Mainstreaming would be set up under the chairmanship of the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare to step up and provide guidance in the implementation of the National Gender Policy Framework launched in 2008. The vision of the Gender Policy Framework is to build a society in which girls and boys, women and men live together in dignity, safety, mutual respect, harmony and social justice.
8. Cabinet has taken note of activities organised by the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare in the context of the 16 Days 16 Rights Campaign 2010. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child lays down the fundamental rights of children, particularly participation in decision-making process and freedom of expression. Activities would include :-
(a) a forum where children can openly express their views on themes, such as Social Participation of Children, Education and Development, Protection, Leisure and Play;
(b) an interactive session “A l’écoute des jeunes” on the occasion of the International Day of the African Child, which would be celebrated on 16 June 2010 on the theme “Right to participate: Let Children be seen and heard”;
(c) seminars on rights and problems faced by children at home and in school for the benefit of Supervisors and Educators in the Pre-primary Sector;
(d) vulgarisation of the rights, roles and responsibilities of the child by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, the National Children’s Council and the Brigade pour la Protection des Mineurs; and
(e) sensitization campaigns on the responsibilities of parents and on the rights and responsibilities of children.
The theme chosen by the UN to mark the event is “Planning and budgeting for children: our collective responsibility”.
9. In line with the commitment of Government to achieve the Millennium Development Goals regarding health standards, Cabinet has taken note of the launching of new cardiology services at J. Nehru Hospital and Souillac Hospital with a view to bringing health services closer to the population of the southern part of the country.
10. Cabinet has taken note of reports of criminal burning of sugar cane plantations in the north of the country and of arrangements made with sugar factories, which have already started operations, to receive the burnt sugar canes. Cabinet reiterates that severe penalties would be inflicted upon persons caught for such offences.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the Report of the Commission for Conciliation and Mediation on the dispute reported to it by the Union of Artisans of the Sugar Industry, the Sugar Industry Labourers’ Union, the Artisans and General Workers’ Union, and the Organisation of Artisans Unity on behalf of the agricultural and non-agricultural workers of the Sugar Industry against the Mauritius Sugar Producers’ Association.
12. Cabinet has taken note that the National Computer Board would hold Infotech 2010 from 26 to 29 August 2010 at Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre. The theme for this year’s event is “IntelligentMauritius”, which is in line with Government’s vision to position Mauritius as a strategic ICT hub. The objectives of Infotech 2010 are, among others, to –
(a) provide information on developments and achievements in the ICT sector in Mauritius and the region;
(b) create awareness on emerging technologies;
(c) demonstrate and promote talents, expertise, and know-how;
(d) sensitize on the applications of ICT and the choice of technology for effective business and individual solutions; and
(e) offer a platform for local ICT operators to develop collaboration and deal with potential technology partners and customers.
13. Cabinet has taken note that the Divorce and Judicial Separation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill is open for public consultation before finalization. The objects of the Bill are to –
(a) provide for divorce or judicial separation, by acceptance in principle, of the breakdown of a marriage or by mutual consent;
(b) reduce from 5 to 2 years the period of separation required for a divorce or judicial separation on the ground of “rupture de la vie commune”;
(c) simplify the process following the lodging of a petition; and
(d) do away with the need for a provisional decree to be followed by permanent decree.
14. Cabinet has taken note that the Annual Meeting of the Heads of Legislative Drafting Offices in Commonwealth African Member States would be held in Mauritius in November 2010. The Meeting, which targets legislative drafters from Commonwealth Member States, provides an opportunity for reviewing the conduct of the training course on legislative drafting and discussing matters of a technical nature.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the participation of Mauritius in the Seventh Edition of the Commission de la Jeunesse et des Sports de l’Océan Indien (CJSOI) Games to be held in Reunion Island from 30 July to 6 August 2010. The main objective of the Games is to promote exchange and collaboration in the fields of youth and sports amongst the member islands/countries of the Indian Ocean. A total of 1,200 young persons, aged between 14 and 17 years, would participate in the Games. Mauritius would participate in the five sports disciplines, i.e., Athletics, Handisports, Football, Tennis and Volleyball and in four disciplines in the youth component, i.e., Music, Journalism, Spectacle Vivant and Assemblée des Jeunes.
16. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with the Government Programme 2010-2015 to promote national solidarity by ensuring capacity building of NGOs, the Non-State Actors Unit of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, in collaboration with the UNDP, would organize a one-day Workshop for NGO volunteers with a view to setting up a National Volunteer Programme. The Workshop would provide an opportunity for the exchange of views on a number of issues relating to, inter alia, a code of conduct for volunteers, financing of NGOs and Corporate Social Responsibility.
17. Cabinet has taken note that promotion teams from the Republic of South Africa and the Arab Republic of Egypt, which are, respectively, the Champion and Co-Champion of the All Africa Public Sector Innovations Awards (AAPSIA), would visit Mauritius to share and exchange information on the Awards. The theme for AAPSIA 2010 is “Promoting Good Governance through Innovative Service Delivery”. Awards are allocated in the following three categories:-
(a) Innovative Service Delivery Improvements;
(b) Innovative Partnerships between Government, Private Sector and Civil Service Organisations; and
(c) Innovations in the Systems and Processes of Governance.