Definition of Youth

The national youth policy of Fiji defines youth as between 15-35 years.

FJI

Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 18
  • --

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

10
Minimum Age
From 10-14 years old, the state must prove criminal capacity. A child below 10 cannot be held legally responsible for their actions. Source:  Crimes Decree of Fiji
(2009)

Majority Age

18

Source: Fiji Constitution (2013)

Voting Age

18

Compulsory voting.
Source:  Fiji Elections Office

Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

--
Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
82.99%
Both sexes %
  • 78.74%Male %
  • 87.51% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

0.1%
Male (15-24) %
0.1%
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
13.00%
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 17.50% Male (13-15) %
  • 10.10% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Yes
The national youth policy of Fiji was adopted in 2011. A 2012 youth participation mapping is available.

The national youth policy:

 ...recognizes the current status of young people and the potentials they possess for the future. This Policy strives to enhance their holistic development to become resourceful and effective members of society.

It focuses on eight key areas:
  1. Youth empowerment and livelihood opportunities;
  2. Leadership, good governance & human rights;
  3. Sports & recreation;
  4. Youth health;
  5. Life skills training;
  6. Vulnerable youths;
  7. Cultural and religious values & virtues;
  8. Environmental sustainability.
The national youth policy works “in tandem” with the Roadmap for Democracy and Sustainable Socio-Economic Development 2009 – 14, which has a specific children and youth section. A range of partners will be mobilised for funding, implementation and coordination, with youth data and statistics “strengthened.”

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
Yes
In 2012, the Ministry of Youth & Sports (MYS) was created and given cabinet level ministerial responsibility. “Youth & Sport” had previously been a department under the Ministry of Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sports. According to the Australian National University’s youth participation mapping, the MYS is “mandated to enhance and promote the development of young people in Fiji through policies and programmes.” This includes the national youth policy, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, youth club support, national youth band, training centres and the Seeds of Success programme.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
Yes
According to the Ministry of Youth & Sports, the original national youth council, established in 1975 was replaced in 2004 by a National Youth Advisory Board (NYAB). The national youth policy (2011) details its reformation to, "advise the Minister directly on issues of concern to young people." In 2013, the Fiji Times reported that a new National Youth Council of Fiji had been constituted with UNDP providing $150,000 to the council to support their five priorities as part of a three-year strategic plan.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
Unclear
According to the Fiji Budget Estimates (2013), the Ministry of Youth & Sports estimated expenditure was FJD 5.7 million (USD 3.0 million). However, the specific amount spent on youth is unclear. According to the World Bank, Fiji spent 14.40% of its government expenditure and 4.13% of its GDP on education provision in 2011.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank

Additional Background

According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the political situation in Fiji remains unresolved:
Following a proclamation issued by acting President Mr. Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi on 2 March 2006, parliament was dissolved on 27 March ahead of elections scheduled for 6 - 13 May. The extended voting period was due to the increase in the number of polling stations (1,096 compared to 796 in the previous elections). Observers from the European Union (EU), the Commonwealth and the Pacific Island countries monitored the poll. The EU praised the Electoral Commission for its efforts to ensure transparency throughout the long election period and for providing the necessary information to parties and voters. It however noted a high percentage of invalid votes, as many as 10 per cent of the total. The Commonwealth underlined that the armed forces should not intervene in the political process in Fiji. It also recommended a shorter voting period and an increase in the number of seats open to all communities. The final results gave a narrow majority to the ruling SDL, which won 36 of the 71 seats in the House of Representatives. Its rival, the FLP, took 31. The United Peoples Party (UPP) and independents took two seats each. The newly-elected House of Representatives held its first session on 6 June 2006 and elected Mr. Pita Kewa Nacuva as its new Speaker. The introduction of the Qoliqoli (native fishing grounds) Bill and the Indigenous Claims Tribunal Bill on 23 August 2006 triggered a political crisis in the country. The Commander of the Fijian Military Forces, Mr. Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, criticized the bills for unfairly favoring indigenous Fijians. On 30 November, Mr. Bainimarama issued an ultimatum to Prime Minister Qarase to abolish the contested bills and the Racial Tolerance and Unity Bill, and to remove ministers who were allegedly involved in events linked to the 2000 coup. Prime Minister Qarase agreed to suspend and review the bills, but refused to dismiss his cabinet members. On 5 December 2006, Mr. Bainimarama announced that he had assumed executive powers in a military coup, the fourth since 1987. He dismissed Prime Minister Qarase, appointed Dr. Jona Baravilala Senilagakali as caretaker Prime Minister and dissolved parliament.
According to BBC News, Fiji was subsequently suspended as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations in 2009 for failing to commit to holding “credible elections by October 2010.” The official government website, Fiji Elections Office, announces elections as scheduled for September 2014. According to the youth participation mapping (2012), the political situation of Fiji means young people have become politically isolated:
Since independence in 1970, Fiji has held nine general elections. But many young people today have not had the chance to vote in an election. It is assumed that youth voter turnout in the 2006 elections would have been high as the Elections Office made every attempt at registering all eligible voters especially young people. In 1996, the total population of children in Fiji under the age of 15 years was recorded at 35.4 per cent. The number of young people over the age of 21 years in ‘2006 would have been considerable’ (Nicholl 2007:63). In Fiji, voting in many instances is tokenistic. A young person who has had the opportunity to vote had this to say, ‘most young people vote for the same political party as do their parents, or, if they have a relative running for Parliament, are compelled to vote for them’ (Jayaweera and Morioka 2008:19). In addition, young people exist as a ‘social group’ vulnerable to political manipulation. The involvement of young people in the riots that followed the civilian coup of 2000 is a testimony to this.
Structures for young people’s participation are also limited:
Young people are often heard saying that they are the best people to consult when discussing issues and solutions that concern them. But very few opportunities exist that allow them to do this.
The newly constituted national youth council is highly anticipated but many previous youth democracy structures have failed:
Two such initiatives include the national Youth Parliament (NYP) and the National Youth Advisory Board (NYAB). Fiji has hosted three national youth parliaments in the past, but the absence of parliamentary democracy and the subsequent withdrawal of donors have brought this activity to a halt [...] [T]he NYAB voted to reconstitute itself and revive the National Youth Council (NYC), first established in 1960, in its place. At present, the MYS is facilitating this process, acting as secretariat to the interim NYC committee. The structure and direction of this new council is being eagerly awaited by young people, excited about the prospects of national youth-led organisation.