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THE SOUTH CHINA SEA FISHERIES REFUGIA INITIATIVE

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The 7th Ad-hoc Meeting of the Project Steering Committee

DATE: 27 May 2022

TIME: 08:00 – 11:30AM, UTC+7

LOCATION: Virtual Meeting

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The 5th Regional Scientific and Technical Committee Meeting

DATE: 16-17 March 2022 

LOCATION: Virtual Meeting

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Highlights of the Sixth Ad-hoc Meeting of the Project Steering Committee

@ updated 13 December 2021

 The Sixth Ad-hoc Meeting of the Project Steering Committee, a regular regional meeting under the SEAFDEC/UNEP/GEF Project on Establishment and Operation of a Regional System of Fisheries Refugia in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, was organized via the Zoom platform on 30 November 2021. The main objectives of the meeting are to discuss the 3rd Budget Revision as of 30 September 2021 and finalize the costed work plans for 2022. In addition, the project steering committee will finalize the audit firms for the financial statement audit for 2021 and 2022. Twenty participants from 6 participating countries, including SEAFDEC senior officers, and the PCU staff, attended the meeting. Mr. Nguyen Thanh Binh, the national focal point of Viet Nam, concurrently a chairperson of the Project Steering Committee for 2021, led the discussion with support from the meeting secretariat, Dr. Somboon Siriraksophon.

It was considered that a total of expenditures as of 30 September 2021 was about 21 % of the total proposed budget, USD 705,000 for 2021. Furthermore, as adopted, the extension project period will be ended by 31 December 2022, while a total budget balance until the project end in 2022 is about 1.25 million USD which is approximately 41.68% of the total fund from GEF. To ensure that the unspent funds in the respective country and SEAFDEC/PCU partner are effectively utilized to achieve the target objectives and goals by the end of 2022. Six participating countries and the SEAFDEC/PCU proposed revising the balanced budget for 30 September 2021 and the costed work plan for 2022. After deliberation, the project steering committee adopted the proposed budget revisions and the costed work plans. The overall project budget revision was also calculated and drafted by the PCU; later, it was endorsed by the project steering committee for further submission to the UNEP task manager for adoption and support. The budget revision is counted as the third revision in which the first and second budget revisions were on 30 September 2019, and 30 June 2020, respectively. The committee also adopted the proposed 53% reduction of the budget allocation from GEF to Viet Nam due to the downsizing of the project activities to meet the one year left for the national work plan approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). The committee agreed in principle that the Regional Scientific and Technical Committee will further discuss the available budget from Viet Nam during the first quarter of 2022. 

Refers to the approval for a two-year project extension from 2021 and 2022, the PCU needs other contracts with external firms to conduct the financial statement audits in each participating country and consolidate audit reports for the SEAFDEC/PCU. In this connection, the proposed list of audit firms by five countries and SEAFDEC/PCU was adopted by the committee accepting for Viet Nam. An audit firm in Viet Nam will be updated later for the 2022 financial audit.

Considering the logical framework matrix of project component 1 on identifying and managing fisheries and critical habitat linkages at priority fisheries refugia proposed by country, the strengthened community participation in fisheries refugia management is needed. However, the baseline information showed low-level civil society, community organization, and the private sector in site-based fisheries and habitat management. Regarding this, the project design included an opportunity for those communities such as NGOs, local communities, and other grassroots organizations to apply for a Small Grants Programme (SGP). It complements the large and medium-sized GEF project funding. In addition, a partnership agreement between UNDP and UNEP to implement the regional strategic action program for the south china sea (SAP/SCS) was entered in September 2008 to support the implementation of the regional Strategic Action Program in the South China Sea (SAP-SCS). Considering that the Fisheries Refugia project is a part of the SAP/SCS, the partnership is still valid. As earlier mentioned, it is an opportunity given to the project partnerships from civil society, community organizations, and the private sector to seek funds from SGP in supporting the project implementation. The maximum grant amount per project is US$50,000 but averages around US$25,000. The PCU raised this Small Grant Programme to encourage all participating countries to work with communities to apply the SGP to support the project implementation before or after the project's end in 2022.

For more information, please visit the regional meeting page: https://fisheries-refugia.org/refugia-events 

 

Cambodia

 

Indonesia

 

Malaysia

 

Philippines

 

Thailand

 

Vietnam

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