With the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries as its backdrop, the “FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines),” had been developed with emphasis on securing sustainable resource use and access rights; securing post-harvest benefits; and securing social, economic and human rights, among others. Considering that the SSF Guidelines targets the global scenario, and since there is high concentration of small-scale fisheries in the Southeast Asian region with great importance in providing significant contribution to national and local economies of the countries, it has become necessary to design a regional application of the SSF Guidelines to meet the demands of the region as well as support the sustainability target of small-scale fisheries in Southeast Asia.
Recognizing the importance of the SSF Guidelines, the SEAFDEC Council during its 48th Meeting in Viet Nam in April 2016, asked SEAFDEC to develop the regional approach for the implementation of SSF Guidelines. In an effort to solicit views and recommendations from the Member Countries, SEAFDEC organized on 7-9 June 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand, the Regional Technical Consultation on Development of Regional Approach to the Implementation of the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication. With support from the SEAFDEC-Sweden Project and the Japanese Trust Fund, the Consultation was attended by at least 50 participants representing representatives from the ASEAN Member States and non-governmental organizations as well as international partners such as FAO, Too Big To Ignore Project, among others. With the active collaboration of this diverse agglomeration of experts, the Consultation drafted the Southeast Asian Regional Approach to the Implementation of SSF Guidelines which will be brought up for endorsement by high level authorities of SEAFDEC and the ASEAN, and subsequently for submission to the forthcoming 32nd Session of COFI in July 2016.