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1. At the Twenty-sixth Session of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) held in Beijing, People’s Republic of China, 24-30 September 1998, the Commission reviewed the activities and achievements of APFIC during its half century of existence (1948-1998). It was recognized that these activities had contributed significantly to accelerated development of fisheries of the Members.

2. The Commission concurred with the view of the Executive Committee that the outstanding success was due mainly to the sustained cooperation of the Members, donors support, technical and financial support from FAO and the untiring services and devotion of the Secretariat staff. It was unanimously agreed that APFIC should continue into the next millenium assisting its Members to move closer towards self-reliance in sustainable fisheries development and management.

3. In discussing its future direction, the Commission noted a number of constraints affecting the work of APFIC during its service to the region. It was agreed that the future programmes of action should be more specific and pragmatic with clear objectives, taking into consideration sub-regional needs. Close coordination between APFIC and other international and regional organizations between APFIC and other international and regional organizations or programmes concerned with fisheries and marine affairs is also emphasized, in order to avoid the duplication of effort and wastage of development assistance funds.

4. To facilitate further consideration on the future role of APFIC in the Asia-Pacific region, the Commission established an Ad hoc Legal and Financial Working Group to discuss its future programmes as well as related financial and institutional arrangements. It was agreed that the Working Group should recommend a possible scheme and scale of contributions and develop a self-sustaining financial mechanism under which APFIC would operate and manage its affairs more effectively. In this connection, the Commission was reminded that APFIC belong to the Members and that FAO’s role was that of a facilitator and coordinator. It was hoped that the Members would increase their efforts to support the work of APFIC and thus demonstrate their confidence in the Commission.

5. A Special Session of the Commission was convened at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy, on 17 February 1999, in conjunction with the Twenty-third Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI). The Commission discussed the Terms of Reference and Workplan of the Ad hoc Legal and Financial Working Group. Seventeen representatives from 12 Member States attended this Special Session.

6. The Commission considered and approved the Terms of Reference of the Working Group as follows:

a) to formulate programmes of actions to be implemented by APFIC for the short and medium terms;

b) to review the extent of financial contributions that could be provided by Member States, taking into account the methods of assessment adopted by other international and regional organizations;

c) to formulate the draft financial regulations of APFIC if it decides to move toward autonomy with support from its Members (either full or in part) for consideration by the Finance Committee of FAO; and

d) to review the current Agreement and Rules of Procedure and to propose amendments necessary to facilitate the effective functioning of APFIC.

7. The Commission further reviewed and approved the workplan of the Ad hoc Legal and Financial Working Group which appears as Appendix D.

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