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112. The Committee reviewed this item on the basis of document COFI/2001/10 and a table indicating the Medium-Term Plan Resources for the Fisheries Programme provided for its consideration by the Secretariat. It welcomed the Medium-Term Plan for Fisheries and identified the expected results of the programme. Furthermore, the Plan provided a good summary of the activities to be undertaken in relation to the strategic objectives of FAO. Many Members recommended that biennial data on budget proposals be made available in conjunction with the Medium-Term Plan so as to assist the Committee in its provision of constructive advice on programme priorities.

113. The Committee reviewed a number of areas where changes or improvements in the orientation of work planned could enhance the utility of the Medium-Term Plan. Several Members expressed serious concerns about the lack of balance among regions in resource allocation and stressed the need for increased allocations to developing countries for policy and technical assistance. The Committee therefore recommended that in future the programme should ensure a correct balance among regions, among programme activities and between normative and operational work, taking into account the above stated concerns of developing countries, as well as the many demands for normative work. It also recommended that the use of various instruments such as guidelines and plans of action be assessed and harmonized to ensure that the most appropriate tool was used in future initiatives. Finally, decisions to establish long-term activities should not be based only on commitments for the short-term development phases of the work proposed.

114. In its review of the Plan, the Committee pointed to several areas which it felt should continue to receive priority attention, in particular, work on the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the International Plans of Action. The Committee noted with satisfaction the emphasis placed on activities of the Fisheries Department contributing to the Organization's strategies B, C and E and encouraged their continuation. Many Members underlined its support for activities in the area of institutional capacity building in developing countries and many Members called for increased support to be given to such activities. The Committee recalled its approval to establish a sub-committee on aquaculture, noting that this formed part of its larger commitment to ensure continued, balanced work in support of aquaculture and highlighted the need for additional resources in this connection.

115. The Committee underscored FAO's comparative advantage in fisheries and, in this respect, reiterated its strong demand that a higher share of FAO budget be allocated to the Fisheries Programme. It also discussed a number of areas where it felt additional resources could be productively employed. In addition to an increased emphasis on work which the Committee considered a long-term commitment such as the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the IPOAs, it concluded that more resources should be set aside for several specific areas in relation to the general aim of promoting improvements in global fisheries management. The areas referred to by many Members include the management of small-scale fisheries; the development of ecosystem approaches to fisheries management; trade aspects including fish quality and safety considerations; fishing gear selectivity and waste reduction; resources assessment and monitoring; fish disease control and management and harvest and post-harvest of under-exploited resources such as mesopelagic stocks; as well as the special requirements of the small island developing States (SIDS).

116. Some Members commented that often a number of agencies within their Government were involved in FAO matters. Effective coordination among these national agencies to ensure that each Member delegation to FAO bodies support its resource allocation approach in all relevant FAO bodies may help achieve a reallocation of FAO programme resources. Several Members suggested that a reasonable portion of arrears paid should be allocated to the FAO Fisheries Programme.

117. Some Members supported the allocation of increased resources to strengthen the work of the regional fishery bodies. The Committee pointed to opportunities that greater collaboration between FAO and regional fishery bodies could contribute to more cost effective implementation of some activities such as resource monitoring and assessment.

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