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186. The Committee was informed that, in the course of discussions regarding the objectives and desirable outcomes of the World Conference on Fisheries Management and Development at the FAO Regional Conferences of 1982, at recent FAO Council sessions and in consultations held with individual member countries, there was consensus that the major results of the Conference should include the formulation of a Strategy for fisheries management and development at the national, sub-regional, regional and global levels. During these discussions, approval was also expressed for a proposal that the World Fisheries Conference should seek agreement upon specific programmes for action, to support the Strategy, in such areas as technical assistance, training, investment, trade. Subsequently, the Norwegian authorities proposed that there should also be an action programme to promote the role of fisheries in alleviating under-nutrition.

Strategy for fisheries management and development

187. As background to its discussion of the proposed Strategy for fisheries management and development, the Committee reviewed document COFI/83/11 which presented a tentative framework for the Strategy and contained suggestions for its further elaboration, prior to the submission of more detailed proposals to the policy phase of the World Fisheries Conference in 1984.

188. The Committee noted that in the course of its deliberations on agenda item 4, the need had been emphasized for governments to review their individual and collaborative strategies and policies concerning fisheries planning management and development. In this period of change, the challenge was to promote the self reliance of developing countries in the rational planning and management and the optimum utilization of their fish resources. The fisheries regime, moreover, widened the opportunities for fish to play a greater role in world food supplies, thereby helping to alleviate under-nutrition and strengthen world food security. In this respect, the Committee emphasized that the reorientation of strategies and policies for fisheries planning management and development should take due account of the present and potential contributions from marine and inland fisheries and aquaculture.

189. The Committee therefore welcomed the proposal that the World Fisheries Conference should elaborate a Strategy for fisheries planning management and development, comprising guidelines and principles for the reference of governments and international organizations as they consider the individual and joint actions needed to achieve the objectives of greater self-sufficiency and self-reliance. It believed such a Strategy would represent a valuable contribution to the steps being taken to achieve a New International Economic Order.

190. The Committee re-emphasized that, in discussing such a Strategy, issues already settled at the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea should not be re-opened. Equally, the guidelines and principles to be incorporated in the Strategy should take full account of national sovereignty and provide the flexibility required to reflect the unique circumstances of individual countries.

191. The Committee noted the suggestion made by the FAO Council at its 83rd session in June 1983 for a basic framework for the Strategy when it endorsed proposals for a draft provisional agenda for the 1984 policy phase of the World Fisheries Conference. The Committee welcomed the recommendation that, in addition to a Plenary session, two separate, concurrently active Commissions, should be established. One would deal exclusively with the elaboration of the Strategy for Fisheries Management and Development, the other with the Action Programme proposals.

192. In reviewing the provisional agenda of the Commission to be established to examine the detailed proposals for the Strategy, the Committee supported the inclusion of the following elements:

193. The Committee welcomed the assurance by the Secretariat that, when preparing documentation concerning the guidelines and principles to be incorporated in the fuller elaboration of the Strategy, the views and recommendations of the Committee during its discussions of agenda item 4 (Key issues for fisheries management and development) would be fully taken into account.

194. The Committee recommended the final draft should be as concise and as short as the need to be comprehensive permitted. To this end, consideration might be given to the preparation of a brief introduction, perhaps in the form of a Declaration or Resolution, summarizing the essential nature and contents of the Strategy.

Action Programmes

195. With regard to specific programmes of action to be associated with the Strategy, the Committee had before it document COFI/83/12 (basic elements for action programmes) and documents COFI/83/12, Add.1 and Add.2.

196. The delegation of Norway, in introducing its proposal, contained in document COFI/83/12 Add.1 (Proposal for an action programme to promote the role of fisheries in alleviation of undernutrition), noted that it was the major recommendation of an international expert consultation organized in July 1983 by the Government of Norway in collaboration with FAO. It stressed that the expert consultation was an inter-disciplinary effort, including experts in public health, socio-economics and nutrition as well as fisheries. The approach suggested in their proposal called for similar inter-disciplinary action to integrate nutritional considerations in the planning and implementation of fisheries management and development for the benefit of the poorest and weakest section of the community.

197. The second addendum outlined a proposal by Canada, contained in document COFI/83/12 Add.2 (Proposal for an action programme for management and development of fisheries in exclusive economic zones), for the revision of the suggestions made in COFI/83/12 by providing for an action programme to deal specifically with the management of fisheries.

198. A number of delegations proposed that the development of small-scale fisheries deserved a separate Action Programme.

199. Taking the various suggestions into account, the Committee agreed that the proposal for the following five Action Programmes should be submitted to the policy phase of the World Fisheries Conference:

  1. Action programme on fisheries management and development (covering both marine and inland fisheries);;

  2. Action Programme for the development of small-scale fisheries;

  3. Action programme on aquaculture;

  4. Action programme on trade in fish and fish products;

  5. Action programme to promote the role of fisheries in alleviating undernutrition.

200. It was suggested that fisheries training, being an essential component of all aspects of fisheries management and development, would be incorporated in each of the above Action Programmes. Similarly, technical cooperation, transfer of technology and investment were related to the whole range of fisheries activities and should also be incorporated in each of the Action Programmes proposed.

201. The Committee made a number of general and specific observations on the fuller elaboration of the Action Programmes, which should be designed primarily to assist countries in achieving their specific national objectives for fisheries and in attaining greater self-reliance in fisheries management and development. The need to make use of experts from the region to provide advice on sensitive issues such as planning and management of fisheries resources was also pointed out.

202. It was suggested that the Action Programme to promote the role of fisheries in alleviating under-nutrition might include work to prepare a manual to assist in the integration of nutritional considerations into fisheries projects.

203. With regard to the Action Programme on trade in fish and fish products, the Committee suggested that the improvement of product quality and trading conditions should be included so as to contribute to the elimination of barriers, which hamper the development of this trade. The Committee also emphasized the need for close collaboration by FAO with other agencies and organizations concerned with trade matters, such as ITC, UNCTAD and GATT, and that care should be taken to avoid duplication of efforts. It also requested that further study be made of the possibility of establishing an inter-governmental group on fishery commodities; some delegations mentioned that the establishment of such a body, because of statutory requirements, might take a long time.

204. The Committee noted that, whilst FAO is prepared to play the fullest possible role in the design and implementation of the Action Programmes, active participation and concrete support from governments, international and regional organizations and, above all, donor agencies and financial institutions, will be necessary if intentions were to be converted into practical reality.

205. In this regard, it noted that the estimates provided in document COFI/83/12 regarding the possible financial implications of the proposals were tentative approximations which would require refinement in the light of the fuller elaboration of the five proposed Action Programmes. The Committee was informed that the additional financial resources required would have to be found from extra-budgetary sources. The Committee therefore invited FAO to have further discussions with donor agencies and financial institutions to mobilize such support.

206. The Committee welcomed the recommendation made by the FAO Council in June 1983 that further consultations with governments, and with concerned international organizations, regarding the Strategy and the Action Programmes should be undertaken so that detailed proposals could be prepared for submission to the policy phase of the World Fisheries Conference in 1984.

207. The Committee agreed that fuller, revised drafts for the Strategy and the five Action Programmes would be prepared by the Secretariat, in the light of the Committee's views and recommendations, and would be circulated to all governments, agencies and concerned organizations preferably before the end of December 1983. Written comments would be requested before the end of February 1984. FAO would then convene in March 1984 an ad hoc consultation of government experts to review the drafts and the comments received. For practical purposes, the number of such participating experts would have to be limited but, in order to ensure proper regional representation, invitations would be extended by the Director-General after seeking the advice of the Chairmen of the regional groupings. Following the consultation, the Director General would finalize the draft proposals for the Strategy and Action Programmes for circulation to all governments, agencies and organizations which would be invited to participate in the policy phase of the World Fisheries Conference to be held from 27 June to 6 July 1984.

208. Some delegations already indicated that they would be prepared to contribute to the implemenation of the Action Programmes particularly in the fields of technical assistance and training.

209. The IUCN representative strongly supported the proposed action programme for management and development.

210. The representative of the World Bank indicated that the Bank would be willing to participate in consultations with other financing institutions to look into the problem of investment financing in the fisheries sector in coordination with FAO.

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