The 26 December 2004 earthquake and tsunami devastated the lives of millions in the coastal communities of 12 countries around the Indian Ocean. We are still grappling with the magnitude of the losses and the enormity of issues underlying the reconstruction needs. With considerable determination, local communities have joined national and international organizations and governments to bring relief and start the recovery work. We are now gradually shifting from immediate relief efforts to focus on sustainable reconstruction.
FAO has been involved in assisting these affected countries in numerous ways so that agricultural activities may be resumed. While short-term assistance is indispensable to support the farming communities who lost their production assets and means of livelihood support, strategic planning for medium- and long-term rehabilitation programmes in collaboration with development partners and government ministries is required for appropriate intervention in support of assessing the damage to agricultural lands and identification of measures to enhance rural development and food security. To strengthen regional collaboration and coordination, FAO organized a workshop on Salt-affected soils from sea water intrusion: strategies for rehabilitation and management.
The overall goal of the workshop was to strengthen and enhance rehabilitation efforts for the reclamation of salt-affected soils in tsunami-affected areas and to identify suitable management practices for sustainable crop production. Efforts were made to develop a regional strategic framework for coordination and action to be taken at the regional level to support the affected countries in rehabilitation of tsunami-affected soils and to address other land and water management issues in the rehabilitation and reconstruction phases.
The workshop provided participants an opportunity to share information, collectively assess initial findings related to rehabilitation needs and opportunities, share plans and proposals for future rehabilitation work, and develop mechanisms for collaboration and joint activities. The major outcome of the workshop - A Regional Strategic Framework for the Reclamation of Salt-affected Soils and Agriculture Recovery in Tsunami-affected Areas - is given in annex 1 of the Report.
FAO, working together with other international agencies and affected countries, will continue to respond to the challenges of reconstruction that lie ahead. The Regional Strategic Framework for the Reclamation of Salt-affected Soil and Agriculture Recovery in Tsunami-affected Areas and the resulting report of the Regional Workshop which comprise this publication, provide an important foundation for working together effectively on these important tasks.
Assistant Director-General and
Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations