10. The Secretariat highlighted the achievements of Major Programme 2.3 Fisheries during the 2000-2002 period on the basis of documents COFI/2003/2, COFI/2003/Inf. 4, 5, and 6. These achievements included work reported upon in the Programme Implementation Report 2000–2001 concerning Major Programme 2.3 Fisheries, as well as work undertaken by the Fisheries Department as follow-up to the recommendations of the Twenty-fourth Session of the Committee on Fisheries.
11. The Committee commended FAO for the progress achieved in the implementation of the work under the Major Programme 2.3 Fisheries, in general, and with special reference to its efforts to develop fisheries and aquaculture on a long term sustainable basis within the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, related International Plans of Action, and other international instruments. The Committee emphasized the importance of new challenges to sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development and the key role required from the part of FAO under the guidance of the Committee. In this regard, the Committee noted with concern the relative stagnation of funding for fisheries and requested that the Organization consider the feasibility of increasing its budgetary allocation to this important Major Programme from FAO Regular Programme resources.
12. Several Members commended FAO for improved reporting on achievements although a greater emphasis on transparency, setting priorities and reporting of impacts of FAO programmes was also suggested. FAO’s efforts to disseminate related information on fisheries and aquaculture, such as SOFIA, ASFA or FIGIS, were noted.
13. Some Members sought clarification on specific aspects of the programme outcome, with some concern being expressed in relation to unplanned activities, their funding and their potential impact on the agreed Programme of Work. The Secretariat advised the Committee that most unplanned activities were funded from extra-budgetary sources and that the rate of delivery was over 100 percent for five of the seven main elements of the Major Programme. It stressed that the ratio of unplanned to approved activities remained at a very low level, despite the fact that unexpected developments in fisheries and aquaculture required that some adjustments be made to the programme, remaining in any case within the generally agreed areas of priority.
14. Many Members, especially developing countries, called for increased technical and financial assistance as well as training in support of the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries – in particular with reference to fisheries management, sustainable aquaculture, and improvements in the quality, safety and trade of fisheries products. A strong call was also made for increased attention to be paid to small scale fisheries and their contribution to food security and poverty alleviation. In this regard, several Members commended the work of the DFID-funded Sustainable Fisheries Livelihood Programme implemented by FAO in 25 West African countries.
15. The Committee noted with satisfaction that FAO has strengthened its collaboration with other specialized international institutions or arrangements, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).