The workshop was opened by He Changchui, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific (Annex 1). This follow-up workshop to the initial meeting in March/April 2005, where various approaches to the rehabilitation of affected agricultural lands were discussed and proposed and a Regional Strategic Framework was formulated, had as its focus: a review of progress to date with the objective of identifying gaps that may have arisen; an assessment of long-term strategic plans for each of the countries, moving from an initial emergency response phase to structured long-term plans for the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector; and development of coordination strategies and linkages for current and future interventions. Immediately after the tsunami, FAO, along with a wide range of humanitarian aid agencies, initiated a programme of emergency aid to agricultural communities. Whilst this has had its desired affect, there is a need to now focus on the long-term rehabilitation and realigning of the agricultural sectors in each of the affected countries. Valuable input and experiences from those persons on the ground will assist in the development of sustainable strategies for the long-term development of the agricultural sector. As this process moves forward there is a need to identify suitable interventions that have the elements for improving livelihoods and securing ecological integrity and that are developed in a participatory framework.
Gamini Keerthisingh, Senior Plant Production Officer, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific provided a comprehensive overview of the objectives and background to the workshop. He highlighted the immediate response of FAO to the crisis that focused on facilitating the resumption of agricultural activities as a means of restoring the shattered livelihoods of thousands of communities that are dependent on agriculture. The main challenges for the workshop were to identify interventions and strategies for the long-term reconstruction of the agricultural sector. In order to achieve this will require an integrated and participatory approach. He reiterated the goals and objectives of the workshop along with the expected outputs.
The remainder of the day was comprised of formal presentations on the agricultural recovery programmes from each of the affected countries by representatives of governments and non-government organizations (Annex 2). At the end of the day working groups were established to review the following topics:
Present status and lessons learnt.
Priorities for long-term rehabilitation and development.
Mechanisms for coordination and exchange of information.
The working groups met on the following day. This report contains an overview of the country reports along with comprehensive reports (Annex 2) and detailed outcomes of each of the working groups.