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46. In conclusion, the Ad hoc Legal and Financial Working Group agreed to submit the following recommendations for further consideration by the Member States and the Commission:

Recommendation 1: The Membership, Area of Competence and Functions of the Commission should remain as stipulated in the Agreement.

Recommendation 2: In order to reduce financial burden of the Member States in attending the sessions of the Commission, the technical standing committees on aquaculture and inland fisheries and on marine fisheries should be abolished. In order to assist the Member States in discussing emerging issues concerning fisheries and aquaculture in the region, the Commission could establish ad hoc Working Groups of Experts to address these issues as and when required.

Recommendation 3: To strengthen effective implementation of national programmes to ensure the continued contribution from fisheries and aquaculture to food security and sustainable and responsible management of fisheries, the APFIC Secretariat should facilitate for Member States in the harmonization of fishery policies, taking into account international instruments and arrangements.

Recommendation 4: APFIC should initiate activities to serve as the regional consultative forum on fisheries and aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region in order to discuss emerging issues and to avoid duplication of efforts among international and intergovernmental fishery bodies in the region.

Recommendation 5: Reflecting the objective of Recommendation 4, the Secretariat shall conduct a detailed review of APFIC’s future functions and programme of activities in light of the conclusions of the Working Group in order to identify those activities which could in future be performed by the Commission in an effective manner, taking into account what is already performed in the region by other organizations, as well as any other pertinent considerations. The conclusions of this review should be examined by the Commission and discussed subsequently with all concerned Members and other organizations and partners. This would allow the APFIC Members and FAO to make a determination of what further changes would be required to the status of the Commission in the future, how the Commission could improve its role, what would be its priorities of actions, and the future financial commitment of the Members towards APFIC.

Recommendation 6: As the urgent need for accurate and timely fishery data and information is well recognized, APFIC should focus its efforts in the development and standardization of fishery statistical systems and the promotion of data and information exchanges in the region.

Recommendation 7: In order to facilitate effective implementations of provisions given in the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, the FAO Compliance Agreement and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, APFIC should focus its attention to the strengthening of national capacities as well as legal and institutional framework, in cooperation with other relevant international organizations when and where appropriate.

Recommendation 8: As the role of aquaculture in providing food security for rural population is well recognized, APFIC should focus on providing assistance towards this goal, in cooperation with FAO and other relevant organizations.

47. In his closing remarks, the Chairman of APFIC expressed his appreciation to the members of the Working Group for their frank and constructive interventions. The recommendations as adopted would be forwarded to all Member States and be submitted to the APFIC Executive Committee for further consideration. He also thanked the Secretariat for the preparation of all useful documents and excellent arrangements made for the session.

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