FAO Fisheries Department - Committee on Fisheries
December 1996 COFI/97/Inf.11

FAO

COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES
Twenty-second Session
Rome, Italy 17-20 March 1997
REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FAO PROGRAMME OF FISHERIES ASSISTANCE FOR SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES

I.    INTRODUCTION

1.    The Twenty-first Session of COFI recognized, inter alia, that small island developing States (SIDS) are economically disadvantaged and physically vulnerable, that they have particular fisheries needs and that the sustainable use of fisheries resources was essential to ensure continuing supplies of food for island populations and to support economic development. In so doing COFI strongly endorsed the establishment of a tightly focused FAO programme of fisheries assistance for SIDS concentrating on six high priority areas. The Committee requested FAO to elaborate a programme for presentation to the international donor community. COFI also urged FAO to utilize funding from internal sources in support of the SIDS fisheries programme1.

II.    PROGRESS ACHIEVED IN THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROGRAMME

2.    Following the Twenty-first Session of COFI, a Fisheries Department-led Task Force was established to implement the directions of the Committee. In addition to representatives from the Fisheries Department, the Task Force also involved representatives from the Development Law Service , and the Sustainable Development and Technical Cooperation Departments. In elaborating the programme, representatives from lead technical units within the Fisheries Department worked on the six sub-programme areas, viz.: (i) institutional strengthening and national capacity building; (ii) enhanced conservation and management of Exclusive Economic Zone fisheries; (iii) improved post-harvest fish management andmarketing; (iv) safety at sea; (v) strengthening the economic role of national fisheries industries and the privatisation of fisheries investments, and (vi) aquaculture development and inland fisheries conservation, management and development.

3.    As part of the elaboration process, the six sub-programme areas were developed in accordance with trust fund requirements, including the provision of tentative costings for each sub-programme. While the programme has been carefully integrated, the sub-programme areas can be viewed as having 'stand-alone' components. By adopting this approach it was envisaged that this structure would provide greater flexibility for donors and be more attractive to them since not all donors have the same fisheries and regional interests and priorities in their respective development assistance programmes. The fully elaborated programme will be available at this Session of COFI.    

4.    Significantly, while the programme will be geared to meeting the specific fisheries needs of SIDS within the six agreed areas, the programme will not operate in isolation. Indeed, it is expected that the programme will be an important implementation vehicle for the 1995 Rome Consensus on World Fisheries, the 1995 Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the 1995 Kyoto Declaration and Plan of Action on the Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security and the 1996 Rome Declaration on World Food Security and World Food Summit Plan of Action.

III.    NEXT STEPS

5.    FAO is liaising with the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) concerning the programme elaborated. Such liaison was also undertaken, albeit informally, in 1995 prior to the submission of the paper entitled Fisheries Needs of Small Island Developing States to the Twenty-first Session of COFI. FAO maintains that such liaison is necessary in order to ensure that the programme is attuned to the fisheries needs of all SIDS and that it is fully taken into account in other international initiatives concerning SIDS.

6.    Following the Twenty-second Session of COFI the programme will be presented to the international donor community by FAO for expressions of interest and funding support. As appropriate, trust funds will be established to facilitate the implementation of the programme.

7.    A further report concerning the status of the implementation of the programme will be made to the Twenty-third Session of COFI.    


1 It should be noted that while the programme is not yet operational, FAO through its Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) has continued to support, on a request basis, fisheries activities in Member SIDS.