Mr Derek Staples (Senior Fishery Officer, FAO) introduced the workshop, referring to the background paper and draft framework paper that had been provided to the participants prior to the workshop. He described the impetus for the formation of the CONSRN and the role of the different partners in developing their programmes to assist the rehabilitation.
Mr Staples outlined the procedure and process for the meeting and stressed the importance of consultations with the tsunami affected countries. He also outlined how the objectives of the meeting were to build an agreed regional strategic framework and draft programme for CONSRN based on country inputs and advice from NGOs and donors. This was to be achieved during four sessions. The first session was organised to present the priority needs of the affected countries, the second and third sessions were to involve review and development of the regional strategic framework, and with the last session to focus on alignment of donors, agencies and countries. The framework was to consist of a vision (a high level goal which could guide decision making), guiding principles and strategies. He emphasized that it was important for all partners to share this vision and described the different approaches to implementing strategies. These would depend on the context of the countries, communities and extent of damage and, although the framework was based on a livelihood approach, other approaches could be used for implementing the strategies. He outlined some of the key points of the strategies which included (i) detailed needs assessments, (ii) improvement in policy and (iii) rebuilding and rehabilitating the physical, social and human components of affected livelihoods.
Mr Staples described the concept of a flagship programme for the CONSRN consortium, which would be an area of common interest for all the partners. In summing up, he outlined the workshop modality and the importance of listening to the opinions of others and in reaching consensus.
A point was raised by the participants as to why no farmers were involved in the workshop. Mr Staples explained that the rehabilitation would, by necessity, require full consultation on all aspects of the livelihoods of affected communities in due course. He explained how this workshop was a regional initiative for fisheries and aquaculture to be followed by similar initiatives in forestry and agriculture.