FAO Fisheries Department

‘Colombo Declaration’ strengthens regional cooperation in aquaculture development



Asian Ministerial Meeting on Aquaculture held in Sri Lanka in July 2011.

Fisheries and aquaculture is a major source of food and livelihoods in Asia. Not only does the region have the highest average food fish consumption rate - estimated at 29 kg per person per year – but it has the highest contribution to global aquaculture, over 80%. In order to maintain at least the current level of consumption, and taking into consideration the growing world population, Asia will require an additional 20 million tonnes of fish per year by 2030, which will have to come from aquaculture. This is a major task for the region and there will be hurdles on the road to success.

The Asia Regional Ministerial Meeting on Aquaculture for Food Security, Nutrition and Economic Development was convened in Colombo on 28-29 July, organized jointly by FAO and NACA and hosted by the Government of Sri Lanka to discuss issues pertaining to aquaculture and regional cooperation in improving the contribution of aquaculture to food security and economic development.

This important international and high-level ministerial event was attended by delegations from seventeen countries in the region, namely, Bangladesh Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, DPR Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste and Viet Nam.

The keynote address was delivered by His Excellency, the Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka. Opening remarks were delivered by Mr. Árni M. Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General of FAO; Prof. Sena De Silva, Director General of NACA; and Dr Rajitha Senaratne, Hon. Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, Sri Lanka. The opening ceremony was followed by ministerial statements concerning aquaculture, food security, nutrition and economic development.

The two-day meeting concluded with the "Colombo Declaration", a political commitment to regional cooperation in aquaculture development for food security, nutrition and economic development. The declaration provides a policy framework for Asian governments to collaborate in pursuing these common goals, to share experience and build on each other’s strengths for the benefit of all.

FAO was proud to be a partner in the meeting and hopes it will facilitate the region to reinforce its role and meet the global demand for aquatic food in the coming years.

Photos of the Asia Regional Ministerial Meeting on Aquaculture