Distinguished delegates from the Fisheries Administrations of Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam,
Distinguished representative of the Kingdom of Spain,
Dear Colleagues from FAO, and other Regional Organizations and Programs,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
FAO RAP is delighted to have you here to participate in the First Regional Steering Committee Meeting hosted by the Regional Fisheries Livelihood Programme. I would like to take the opportunity to welcome you all. That many of you have travelled long distances, serves to remind us all, just how important this shared work is.
The Regional Fisheries Livelihood Programme is committed to actively assist governments to improve the livelihoods, and to reduce the vulnerability of small-scale fishing communities in the participating countries, and in the South and Southeast Asian region.
To achieve this important goal the RFLP has six outputs. These are:
1) Co-management mechanisms for sustainable utilization of fishery resources;
2) Mechanisms to improve safety and reduce vulnerability for fishery communities;
3) Improved quality of fishery products and market chains;
4) Diversified income opportunities for fisher families;
5) Access to micro-finance services; and,
6) Sharing and communication of lessons learned, region-wide.
These outputs and related activities have been appraised and elaborated during the Inception Phase of the Programme, which began on September 01, 2009 and is concluding today.
To complete this task, the Programme has recruited a regional staff team, based in the FAO RAP Office in Bangkok, as well as six national teams. The six National Implementing agencies have been identified and the National Senior Government Officers, acting as National Counterparts, appointed. RFLP has concluded the recruitment of national consultants for the preparation of the Regional Policy Workshop, held in December 2009, and additional national consultants for the preparation of national inception workshops in most countries. Three international consultants were engaged to update the RFLP logical framework and to conduct a preliminary survey of RFLP indicators, while another international consultant worked on communication and reporting concerns during the Inception Phase.
Six cars and 30 motorbikes and appropriate equipment for the establishment of six national RFLP Project Coordination Offices are in the process of being purchased and delivered.
To end the Inception Phase in each country, National Inception Workshops, and National Coordinating Committee Meetings were conducted during January and February 2010. The objectives of these workshops were to facilitate an understanding of the programme’s goal, of the anticipated outcomes, and ownership of work plan activities among the primary stakeholders; to provide an opportunity for all parties to understand their roles, functions, and responsibilities within the programme's decision-making structures, including reporting and communication lines, and conflict resolution mechanisms, during both the inception phase and the programme's implementation phase, which starts tomorrow.
All these actions have culminated with a revised programme Logframe, at both regional and national levels, and agreement on a framework for the development of baseline surveys and measurable performance indicators for all six countries, consistent with the expected programme outcomes.
In order to facilitate a broad understanding of the programme, key organizations and other related agencies and programmes, were invited to take part in the different national and regional inception workshops.
On the basis of the above exercise the 2010 activity Work Plan and budget was finalized and officially approved at each of the six National Coordinating Meetings conducted immediately after the different national Inception Workshops. The regional component of the 2010 Activity Work Plan and budget was discussed and agreed yesterday, during the Regional Inception Workshop.
Moreover key government and contract staff implementing RFLP have received regional training during the RFLP inception phase. During the last week officials from three participating countries, namely the Cambodia, Timor-Leste, and Viet Nam were sponsored to attend a training workshop on “Safety at sea for small-scale fishing boats” conducted by SEAFDEC. Additionally the six RLFP national teams have attended a regional training, April 20-25 on sustainable livelihoods approaches, baseline survey design, and monitoring.
Concluding the Regional Inception Workshop held yesterday, today we are assembled here today for the first RFLP Regional Steering Committee Meeting. It is our purpose to facilitate the active participation by the six national Governments in providing oversight and monitoring of RFLP. To achieve this objective today we will review RFLP progress and performance, provide guidance on RFLP implementation, examine the annual RFLP national and regional activity work plans and budget, and advise on desirable adjustments, facilitate the sharing of knowledge among the participating countries and the wider use of relevant programme findings and recommendations in the RFLP countries and in the region as a whole.
In the name of FAO I would like to wish all of you a fruitful working day and indeed success for this the First RFLP Regional Steering Committee Meeting.