Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific
It is my pleasure to welcome all participants to this regional workshop on One year later - The Rehabilitation of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Coastal Communities of Tsunami Affected Countries in Asia.
As you know, the CONSRN consortium was rapidly formed after the 26 December 2004 tsunami to provide support for the tsunami rehabilitation process through specialized networks and the sharing of information among international and regional organizations. The organizations involved include the Bay of Bengal Programme Inter-Governmental Organization (BOBP-IGO); the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA); the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC); the WorldFish Center (WorldFish); and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through its Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and the Asia Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC). CONSRN has met regularly over the last year, principally to review progress, share information and coordinate actions, but also to develop joint policy guidelines and advice for governments.
The consortium partners have been closely involved in the emergency and rehabilitation work in the fisheries and aquaculture sector of all the tsunami-affected countries. Soon after the disaster, FAO quickly mobilized teams of national and international experts to assess the damage to the agriculture and fisheries sectors and identify the assistance needed. This resulted in its participation in the United Nations Flash Appeal (launched on 6 January 2005) and the commitment of over US$ 60 million for tsunami rehabilitation in the affected countries. FAO has also worked closely with a wide range of partners to support the rehabilitation efforts, such as UN agencies, NGOs and governments.
One year ago, the CONSRN consortium partners and governments from affected countries met here to discuss and agree a regional strategic framework in support of tsunami rehabilitation. This regional workshop on "Rehabilitation of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Coastal Communities of Tsunami Affected Countries in Asia" was held from 28 February to 1 March 2005. Six strategic elements in support of an agreed vision were developed. These included support for:
improving policy and institutions;
providing appropriate physical assets;
restoring the environment (whilst ensuring equitable access);
providing appropriate financial support; and
improving capacity in support of community livelihoods and responsible coastal resource management and the rebuilding of social assets.
The framework outlined the rationale for these strategic elements and described potential activities and outputs in support of them. In addition, a series of "guiding principles" were agreed which were intended to guide the rehabilitation and development activities described in the framework.
In order to support further action, a provisional implementation strategy for activities in its support was also developed. The key elements of this included: collaboration in conducting needs assessments; development of agreed rehabilitation plans; working together to mobilise resources for rehabilitation and implementation of these plans through projects and programmes either independently as members or jointly as a consortium.
One year on from this meeting we again come together here to review what progress we have made towards achieving the goals set out in the strategy, to re-assess needs and to determine how best to help coordinate the longer-term rehabilitation that is still needed in affected countries. The objectives of the second regional workshops are, therefore, (i) to review progress against regional strategy, (ii) to review and discuss national strategies and (iii) to plan how CONSRN can further assist countries in this task.
Despite the great progress made in the last year it is more important than ever before that we coordinate and plan for the longer-term rehabilitation and development that will be needed. FAO stresses this need for a continued shared vision of a sustainable approach to reconstruction. We must continue to ensure that in restoring the livelihoods of those affected we can ensure sustainable development of the fishery and aquaculture sectors and sound management of the natural resource base, such as coral reefs and mangrove forests and associated fisheries on which these sectors depend.
The primary output of this workshop will be a report which will include: a review of progress towards achieving the goals set out in the CONSRN Strategic Framework, a summary of country strategies and recommendations for future work for CONSRN partners. We hope to encourage widespread dissemination of the findings of this meeting.
I am confident that our collective wisdom, expertise and joint mission provide a firm footing to build on the results we have already achieved.
I wish you well in your endeavours and look forward to seeing the output of this workshop.
I hereby declare the workshop open.